Kaohsiung's Captivating Cultural Environment/游於藝 高雄的文化環境


Kaohsiung's Captivating Cultural Environment

◎English translation: Lin Fu-ju

◎Photos by Lin Yu-hung

◎Photos courtesy of Cultural Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government


高雄市圖總館迷人的閱讀環境 Kaohsiung Main Public Library's charming reading environment  Kaohsiung is Taiwan's most important maritime city. The Port of Kaohsiung is an international container port that accommodates vessels from around the globe. Kaohsiung is connected to every part of the world through its shipping routes. The city's development began alongside the port, then spread inland as railway links to other parts of Taiwan were established. Throughout its history, Kaohsiung's urban culture has always been closely connected to the harbor.

  Just as Kaohsiung's original growth stemmed from the success of its harbor, the port area's recent transformation has created some fascinating results. One is Pier-2 Art Center; another is the city's ongoing urban development program, Asia's New Bay Area.

  Kaohsiung's cultural assets have expanded in recent years. Reading and art are becoming more accessible in all corners of the city thanks to book-reading and art-outreach activities, as well as the Cloud Gate 2 in Kaohsiung program. A multifunctional theater, the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts, due to be completed by the end of 2016, is already catching the world's attention.

  Pier-2 Art Center is the most popular hotspot of culture and creativity in Kaohsiung.  In 2001, a group of artists lobbied for this abandoned warehouse complex beside the harbor to be turned into a cultural facility. The city government's involvement since 2006 has given Pier-2 a new life through a series of exhibitions and events. The old and the new have been perfectly integrated; mottled warehouse buildings bring out the city's artistic and cultural side, and the power of creativity shines strong.

高雄庄頭藝穗節 Kaohsiung Jhuangtou Fringe Festival  Asia's New Bay Area is an ambitious construction plan designed to maintain Kaohsiung's prosperity through the next century. This harborside complex has four core buildings: Kaohsiung Main Public Library; Kaohsiung Exhibition Center; Kaohsiung Port Terminal; and the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Center. The first two have already been completed. Kaohsiung Main Public Library is certainly a new cultural landmark in the city. Incorporating architectural concepts such as "green canopy," the building's design integrates plants and grass. The library's charm makes reading an enjoyable activity. The fact it was built so near the harbor is also significant. Just as the harbor stimulated Kaohsiung's growth throughout the 20th century, the library is expected to cultivate the kind of soft power which will enhance Kaohsiung's prosperity during the next century.

  Based on that perspective, the city government has built or renovated libraries in various areas, aiming to better balance reading resources between urban and rural districts, and to develop the public's reading habits.

  The annual Jhuangtou Fringe Festival is also enlivening Kaohsiung's countryside. Since 2010, this festival has brought top theater performers and teams to rural areas of the city. The goal of the festival is to provide in-person cultural experiences for children and adults in the countryside, in mountain villages and in fishing communities.

  This year's Jhuangtou Fringe Festival runs from August 8 to December 13, and features Taiwanese opera, Henan opera, children's plays and concerts. Wu Cheng-ting, director of the Performing Arts Development Center, Kaohsiung City Government Bureau of Cultural Affairs, describes the Jhuangtou Fringe Festival as a government-run effort to bring artistic performances to various communities. Performances that usually require large stages are turned into small outdoor events; typical venues include temples and schools. Bigger stages are assembled for Taiwanese opera shows; these include screens for broadcasting images and subtitles. (The latter serve audience members who do not understand Taiwanese well.) The bureau even goes so far as to prepare chairs with backrests for audiences. For children, there are interactive activities associated with plays and orchestral concerts. After shows, children and adults gather around and thank the staff and performers for bringing wonderful events to them; the staff find these expressions of gratitude heartwarming. The effort put into these events is well worth it.

  Cloud Gate 2 in Kaohsiung is another program which children in rural areas look forward to every year. The event is co-sponsored by Cloud Gate 2 and the city government. Special shuttle buses take children into the city to attend Cloud Gate 2 performances, and the troupe has designed special choreography for those youngsters. Salina Chia-Hui Yeh, Cloud Gate 2's performance manager, explains that the choreography allows children and dancers to dance together, hand in hand. Dancers who have participated in previous programs say that dancing right in front of children reminds them of when they felt their very first enthusiasm for dancing. It is also a great way to promote Cloud Gate 2's concept of learning with your body. Last year, Chen Pang-yu, a teacher at Jianshan Elementary School in Taoyuan Distict, one of the most remote and mountainous parts of Kaohsiung, took more than 70 students to a Cloud Gate 2 show in Kaohsiung. He speaks highly of the dancers' efforts to encourage students to dance. The students' impromptu dance moves made everyone burst out laughing, and shortened the distance between the professional dancers and the young kids.

衛武營藝術文化中心 Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts

  Kaohsiung's citizens are embracing a wide range of cultural activities, and architecture can be regarded as one of the city's most astonishing achievements. Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts, designed by Netherlands-based architect Francine Houben, looks like a white stingray swimming above the ground. The site's old banyan trees inspired Houben and contributed to the design of the outdoor Fifth Theater's abstract and modern banyan tree hall. The exterior of the main building is covered with 2,260 steel sheets, each of which differs in terms of angle or arching. This multifunctional theater incorporates maritime materials and technology. Symbolizing a sea creature's smooth movements, it is a superb way to highlight Kaohsiung's role and history as a harbor city.

  Covering 3.3 hectares, Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts includes a theater, a concert hall, a Chinese opera theater, and an orchestra hall as well as an outdoor theater. Its outstanding hardware will definitely provide the audience with incredible experiences.


游於藝 高雄的文化環境

駁二藝術特區 Pier-2 Art Center◎文/侯雅婷





雲門2舞者和孩子手牽手一起跳舞 Cloud Gate 2 performers dancing hand-in-hand with children  高雄從港口崛起,也從港口獲得蛻變、轉型的靈感,從最受矚目的文創據點「駁二藝術特區」、乃至於城市發展最具前瞻性的「亞洲新灣區」計畫,無獨有偶都在港邊發光發亮。近年來,高雄的文化環境引人入勝,推廣閱讀和藝術巡迴社區的方式以及「雲門2高雄藝術駐市」計劃,閱讀和藝術有如星火燎原般吹進了全市各個角落。而預訂於2016年底完工的「衛武營藝術文化中心 」這處超級綜合劇院未演先轟動,備受全球劇場院表演者關注。





  而一年一度的「雲門2高雄藝術駐市」是另一個非都會區小朋友引頸企盼的一段舞蹈教育時光 ,「雲門2」和市政府攜手合作,將專車開進非都會各區載送學童前來市區欣賞「雲門2」。考量廳院表演都在晚上,使得居住非都會區學童少有機會進劇院欣賞表演,「雲門2」舞團特別為這群不同一般售票群的學生量身編排舞碼,雲門2的演出經理葉家卉談起,透過動作串連,舞者與學生互動,很自然地牽起手就一起跳舞了。葉家卉說,曾參與「高雄藝術駐市」不同期的舞者表示,近距離跳舞給小朋友看,提醒舞者跳舞的初衷和對舞蹈的熱情,也實踐「雲門2」推廣舞蹈教育的理念。去(2014)年桃源區建山國小的陳邦宇老師帶著建山國小全校70幾位小朋友前來觀賞「雲門2高雄藝術駐市」,陳邦宇老師特別讚許舞者靠近觀眾表演,與小朋友互動,透過舞者舞台上的表演,學生看到自己扭捏的樣子,學生樂得哈哈大笑,打破學生和舞者的藩籬。

  高雄擁有越來越豐富的文化生活環境,建築物也讓人讚嘆不已,俯視荷蘭籍建築師Francine Houben設計的「衛武營藝術文化中心」,宛如一尾白色的大魟魚造形,流暢地滑入地面,當時Francine Houben置身衛武營區的老榕樹群給了她設計戶外第五劇場的靈感,抽象的榕樹樹廊設計無比前衛而摩登,值得一提的是,建物的外觀安裝2260片白色鋼版,每個角度、每個弧度都不同,沒有一片鋼板是一樣的,換言之,這棟位於陸上劃時代的綜合劇院場館採用海上建材和技術,展現出海底浮游生物起伏的流暢感,衛武營藝術文化中心以其獨特的海洋意象致意海洋城市高雄。