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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Impressional Temperature: cyberspace and contemporary Taiwanese women's art

With Ms Ming-Hui Chen (University of Loughborough)

Series: Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective 

Date: Thursday 1 November 2007, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Seligman Library (Room A607), Old Building, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chairs: Professor Stephan Feuchtwang (Taiwan Culture Research Programme)


In 2002, Taiwan's authorities launched the six-year Challenge 2008 Development Plan, to foster the creativity and talent Taiwan will need to transform itself into a green silicon island. As a result, the development of high technology has been chosen by the Taiwanese government as their tactic by which to survive in the globalised world economy. At the same time, Taiwan's women artists used cyberfeminism as a strategy to debate the patriarchal systems which they have been challenging in a technology-led society. The First International Women's Art Festival in Taiwan in 2003, "From My Fingers: Living in the Technological Age", was curated on the basis of cyberfeminism and the exhibition expressed a new way of presenting contemporary visual art through technology. The exhibition also indicated that technology has become one of the most popular mediums for Taiwanese women artists to re-interpret their roles in the twenty-first century.

In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991), Donna Haraway addresses the fact that technology has diluted the distance between 'organic and non-organic', 'flesh and cyborgs' and 'sexuality'. In addition, being exposed to an age of technology, the clear division of each nation's territory has been shifting. The concept of a real-life minority disappears in cyberspace as the world of technology ignores biological and cultural differences, although some characteristics of the minority have been retained, such as, for example the fact that they contribute the main labour force for producing computers and the high-tech hardware.

In this paper, I will argue how technology has been involved in Taiwanese women's lives; how the discourses of race and gender identity can be addressed via visual art; how new perspectives of postcolonial feminism were generated in the age of cyberspace; how installations and high-tech works were created by women artists to respond to the concepts of cyberfeminism. Finally, I will specifically investigate some art works produced and exhibited by Liu Shih-Fen, Lin Tsai-Shuan and Wang Tze-Yun. (Note: 'Impressional Temperature' is adapted from the title of Lin Tsai-Shuan's work, which will be addressed in my paper.

About the speaker

Ms Ming-Hui Chen was awarded both her Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Taiwan in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Funded by both an Overseas Research Student Award from the British Government and a Loughborough University Scholarship, she is currently completing her PhD in Art History and Theory at Loughborough University. Her research interests centre on the rapidly developing women's arts scene in Taiwan during the past ten years. The central issues under investigation, as addressed by frequent exhibitions in Taiwan since 1996, deal with post-colonialism, nationalism and feminism.  She has selected three primary areas of investigation, including 'Mimicry/ Hybridity/ Representation', 'Women of the Developing World' and 'Nationalism and Sexuality'.

In 2005, she co-edited an art historians' careers guide published by the Association of Art Historians (AAH) in London, and her research has been published in the newsletter of The International Institute for Asian Studies and the forthcoming Inferno: Art History, published by the University of St Andrews. She has delivered a dozen of papers to international conferences regarding her research, including the College Art Association Annual Conference in the US in 2006 and the British Association for Chinese Studies Annual Conference in 2006 and 2007. In April 2007, she convened a session at the AAH Annual Conference in Belfast. In addition to her research, she also remains a committed practicing artist and has recently completed a solo exhibition project in Nottingham funded by the Arts Council England.