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September 27, 2017

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Exploring the digital era

In this digital age, we live a lifestyle where we embrace technology, then slowly take it for granted, and then become oblivious to its existence. Digital media and technology have stealthily gained absolute control over our lives. The exhibition "Crush on EMU" (心動EMU) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA, 台北當代藝術館) offers a rare opportunity to detach ourselves from technology and become the observers of the influences the digital age has brought upon us.

"Crush on EMU" is a curious collage of 28 artists using both digital and nondigital media, exhibiting artists' responses and reactions toward how we interact with technology and media in the digital age.

"Electronic," "Mobile" and "Ubiquitous" make up the abbreviation "EMU," presenting the world's transformation in the digital age. "EMU" also corresponds to the French word "ému," meaning to be emotionally touched, thereby explaining the name that was coined to represent this exceptional exhibition.

Digital Enigma

The two masterminds who put this exhibition together are curators Huang Chien-hung (黃建宏) and Chang Ching-wen (張晴文). "We hope to provoke the audience to explore the effect of the digital age in the recent one or two decades. What changes or developments did Taiwan contemporary art and artists go through?" said Chang during the opening of the exhibition last week.

Complementing Chang's remarks, Huang said that the exhibition intends to show "what mediums in this era have provoked artists to express themselves with," in the hope that "their works can echo viewers' experiences and emotions."

The exhibition is set up on two floors, with artists' works displayed in individual rooms or together in a grand space. Attached to the wall next to Room 105, the "Invisible Path" (看不見的航道) is a diagram rendering the development of digital art in Taiwan over the past 10 years. Names of artists are classified into Electronic, Mobile and Ubiquitous labels which draw an EMU curve on the diagram.

Works of familiar names in this circle such as Yuan Goang-ming (袁廣鳴), Wang Fujui (王福瑞), Wang Jun-jieh (王俊傑), Tseng Yu-chin (曾御欽), and Luxury Logico (豪華朗機工), among others, are all gathered in the exhibition.

Tseng created "Shivering Wall" (顫動之牆), a four-channel projection, to mimic what he calls "being submerged in a particular situation, where you feel like you don't exist or don't belong."

Entering Room 203 where Tseng's work is installed, you will suddenly feel like you have entered another space because of the strong vibrations caused by heavy bass.

"When you are somewhere loud and blaring, you might suddenly stop to observe the entire situation you are in, and suddenly feel like you're completely detached, and find yourself looking down on yourself in an out-of-body kind of experience," he explained.

The work is inspired by his personal experience, in which he received an emergency call from a friend, who he rushed to rescue. He arrived in a room filled with music and extremely heavy bass, and he suddenly felt detached from reality.

'Crush on EMU' (心動EMU) ► From now until Nov. 11 (Sun.) / Museum of Contemporary Art MOCA Taipei (台北當代藝術館) / No. 39 Chang-An West Road, Taipei (台北市長安西路39號) /

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