Lin Jin-yao (林經堯), the director of Taiwan Sound Lab (聲響實驗室) at the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB), joined a Tokyo arts festival from his home in Taiwan via video conference on March 7, deftly circumventing coronavirus risks and adding to the conversation on virtuality.
The Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo invited Lin to participate in the "Arts and Virtuality" panel for the "Theater Commons Tokyo '20" art festival. Worldwide, many events are being postponed or canceled to limit the spread of COVID-19, but the Commons Forum programs were adapted and broadcasted online. Not wanting to miss out on this unique event, Lin joined the forum from Taiwan and participated in a real-time dialogue with the audience.
The Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo has co-organized the "Theater Commons" project since 2017, together with Minato City FY2019 Minato Cooperation Project, Goethe-Institut Tokyo, the Embassy of France in Japan, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Arts Commons Tokyo.
Theater Commons Tokyo is a project that creates a discussion space for society and harnesses the wisdom of theater by applying the art form's ideas to everyday life and urban planning. This fourth edition was planned to be an 11-day intensive cultural exchange of theatrical pieces involving old and new technology, performances, workshops, and discussions.
Besides Lin, the panelists on Commons Forum #3 "Arts and Virtuality" included curator Charles Carcopino (France), artist Meiro Koizumi (Japan), and moderator Kyoko Iwaki (Japan), a theater and performance lecturer at University of Antwerp. During the forum, Lin shared his experience working with the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) in France to hold the first C-LAB Sound Festival, titled "Diversonics," in 2019.
"Diversonics" aimed to explore the integration of new technology, art, and culture through a series of works combining sound, virtual reality, and immersive recording technology, such as "Re: A Morning of Taipei (重訪臺北之晨)," "The Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto (梁祝小提琴協奏曲)," and "A Song Within Us (Oli 邊境)." It showcased the creations and uses of technological media in performing arts with a different style, providing an alternative interactive and viewing experience.
The Director of the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo, Alice Wang Shu-fang (王淑芳), remarked on the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic that face the cultural and arts sector today. Using Taiwan's development and applications of VR technology, however, the forum used live digital broadcasts to reduce the impact of the virus and facilitate public participation, she added.
Moving forward, the Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo will continue to build more platforms for technology and art exchanges between Taiwan and Japan, opening up new vistas and possibilities for the 5G era.