Desired Outcomes: Two Shows To See in Taipei

Wu Chi-Yu delves into the military-industrial world of scenario planning; and how contemporary art can transcend the harsher realities of the present

Wu Chi-Yu, Atlas of the Closed Worlds, 2021, modeling diagram of Tapung Castle in Jianshih. Courtesy the artist

Wu Chi-Yu’s exhibition at The Cube Project Space in Taipei (through 11 July) is founded on scenario planning, a method originally developed by military intelligence and now used to structure the long-term planning of corporations that explores the complex ways in which quantifiable information (demographic, geographic, industrial and resource-based, for example) will interact in a given future scenario. And then looks at how they might be manipulated in order to manufacture a desired outcome. Wu’s Atlas of the Closed Worlds draws on evolutionary biology and Foster’s rule, which measures how members of a species change in average size according to the resources available in their environment (particularly in closed environments such as islands). Deploying everything from historical facts to science fiction, isolationist policies, first-contact scenarios and, of course, quarantine measures, Wu sets up a scenario in which an alien visitor measures the future fate of our divided world, presumably as a means of highlighting how we might avoid it. The resultant installation maps out the research in a giant wall chart that reexamines the relationship between humanity, the environment and history.

Adam Parker Smith, Rock Hard in a Funky Place, 2021, resin, steel, urethane, jute, 43 × 21 × 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Asia Art Center, Taipei

Breaking boundaries is the central theme of the group exhibition Transgression throughout the Volatile World (through 18 July), which launches the Asia Art Center’s new flagship space in Taipei. The show, divided into four chapters – Diaspora, Artists, Post-War Asia, The Spirit of the East, Global Contemporary Art – aims at locating contemporary art as an active rather than reactive shaper of the contemporary moment, highlighting its ability to shed light on the overlooked, propose alternative ways of being and transcend the harsher realities of the present. ‘About time!’ you shriek. Spanning almost a century of creativity, it includes work by Li Chen, Foujita Tsuguharu, Chu Teh-Chun, Zao Wou-ki and Walasse Ting, among many others. Part of the fun, of course, lies in seeing how the transgressions of the past have become the norms of the present. Talking of which, at the time of writing (literally), the exhibition’s opening has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions in Taipei. Hopefully that will have changed by the time you read this.

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