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9. to be or knot to be - that's here the answer !

"Mystery is not necessarily unapproachable. It is perhaps extremely
prosaic: a kind of nihilistic state encompassing manmade
functions, appearing to be and not to be, capable of being
and not being, and ultimately being not being." (17) (Ti-Nan Chi in
"unlimited reversal")

Human Environment Group
Urban F l a s h e s
1999 Anglo – Asian Taipei Workshop

With the aim of providing an opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and thoughts on art, architecture, and cultural development of the world, the Human Environment Group, an non-profit organization located in Taipei, Taiwan is organizing an international workshop reflecting the current interest on the urban design issues of Asian cities as an alternative approach. Expected to be an annual activity, we are willing to build a ground for the world urban development within media, image, and internet in the next century.

From April 4 to 10, the seven day workshop entitled " Urban Flashes—1999 Anglo-Asian Workshop, Taipei” will have 13 architects, 6 from London, 1 from Frankfurt, and 6 from major Asian cities (Taipei, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Melbourne), leading a group of participants from the world to work on a proposal of the renewal of Hwa-San special district where is the site of an abandoned winery in central Taipei.
Each group will also have 2 artists from Vienna and Berlin, a filmmaker from Vienna, and a net Sociologist from Delhi to assist the team. Joined with an international curator from Paris and an architect from Kuala Lumpur and other prominent architects and artists, a round table discussion will be held on the last day (April 10) of the workshop. Evening lectures presented by the invited architects, artists, and thinker with their recent works will be held from 5th to 9th at SOCA, a contemporary art and cultural space in Taipei. The design product generated from the workshop is being arranging a traveling exhibition among Taipei, London, New York, Berlin, Vienna, Seoul, and Tokyo etc.


Human Environment Group
#16, 4th Floor, Lane25, Lin-Yi Street, Taipei Taiwan
tel/886-2-23938060 ext 10 fax/886-2-23938555 e-mail/

URBAN FLASHES-1999 Taipei workshop

context :
The district of Hwa-shan includes the area where the Taipei Brewery and the former Hwa-shan train station was sited as well as a portion of the surrounding land of commercial district, residential district, road and railway. In March, 1992 this area, 7.2 acres in total, was designated to be the site of the Legislative Yuan.

When the local residents heard about the relocation, they revoked in flock feeling that this decision was made without a public hearing nor an impact evaluation. Under the aviation height control and the fact that this district is surrounded by one-way streets and entrapped by two elevated highways, the local residents are opposed to build a massive official building to further cram their living space and loosing their business opportunities.
On the other hand, the construction of the new Legislative Yuan is on pending due to budget disapproval caused by an internal disagreement within the Legislative Yuan.

Artists and activists allied to work on the transformation of the Hwa-San district and proposed to adapt the existing old buildings, industrial structures and vacant land into art and cultural facilities (i.e., library, administration center, artist workshop, artist housing, exhibition space, performance hall, theatre, computer art and studio, muti-media art studio), combining with information technology center, housing, office and commercial complex, community educational facility, service center, etc, in order to formulate a special district for international cultural /techological exchanges and communications.

What shall we do ?

the group "10 o'clock" consists of the architects Bernd Mey and
Christian Pantzer (the latter one was not present in Taipei) from
Frankfurt/M, the filmmaker Bernhard Schreiner from Vienna and the
artist Ralf Schmitt from Berlin (with his label "Foerderkoje")

titel of the work: "TRAVEL TALES"

"Everything begins with a trip of some sort. There's something familiar on each street corner. Trips are filled with dreams; travel fills us with hope. But these are not simply things that our trips give to us. We must seek out and achieve on our own. I would like to see landscape in the world with my eyes."(from the cover of a photo-album bought at SOGO in Taipei)

2."The Non-Royal Flush"

Based on ideas and investigation of streetlife, the "Psychogeographical Game of the Week" of the Situationists from 22
June 1954 and the local soundboard we tried together with students to knot ourselves with the participants and passers-by in the issue of Hwa- Shan-district; hiding and sharing (ourselves) in the area, taking one of the working-tables out of the hall, installing it near the main-gate, using it as an urban playground (ping-pong-table) or as an urban living-room, furnished with a small table and a teapot, chairs and a plant in order to allure people to play and work, talking with them about their city, living-conditions and about themselves, visiting the abandoned area by scooter-taxi, making proposals for a specific site and realizing a coffee-shop there, taking shots of specific views of the site and recording their sounds...

"The Hwa-Shan-Box"

To build a model inside the hall we just used the workshop-tables rebuilding the outside constellations, but now putting the ping-pong-table (playground) as a roof on the working-station (living-room) in the basement. In order to enter and sit down we opened one side of the cube,
furnished with our tools used outside and added a photo-album showing all our activities commented in Chinese and a ghetto-blaster - bought at Kuanghua Market - playing sounds recorded in the area; all that was surrounded by photos glued like stills on small desks.

3.We continue working with the students on a CD-ROM and a film.

4.We discussed the different ways of approaches; and the idea of continuing in Berlin/Frankfurt/Vienna flashed across our minds.

Sohn Joo Minn tries to continue the workshop in Korea next year.