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NTU ArtFest 2022: Cleaning in Progress – The World Under the Pandemic

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The art piece Inside-out, a large transparent plastic sphere, displayed in front of the school library.

Titled “Cleaning in Progress,” the 27th NTU ArtFest was held from April 29 to May 21, exhibiting seven art pieces in different locations on campus. The festival was organized by a team of 80 students, three of which served as cochairs: Rou-An Chen of the Department of Anthropology and Yun-Zhi Li of the Department of Drama and Theatre, NTU, and I-Hao Liao of the Graduate Program of the Department of Design, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

The ArtFest featured the topic of “Release.” as opposed to the sense of oppression, anxiety, and tension arising from the pandemic. I-Hao Liao also went through some anxious moments before finally deciding on the site for his art exhibit. He used his experience to encourage every participant to explore many possibilities while creating art.

Rou-An Chen chose a front-loading washing machine as the medium for her artwork. She explained that the spin cycle represents an underlying life pattern that we might not be aware of. The front-loading washing machine continues to play the sound “Beware – Spinning to the right.” Chen explained that the sound conveys the message that we are living in a society affected by extreme capitalism, and it is almost impossible for us to escape.

Yun-Zhi Li directed the physical theater show named Cleaning in Progress. She created space and depicted emotions through the performers’ bodies to show that the university students seem to be facing a doomsday with no end in sight during the pandemic. There are many doomsday moments in daily life, and the process of dealing with them is a way of self-cleaning.

The event allowed students to participate in creating art innovatively. Jun-Ting Luo, Tzu-Ling Wang, and Huei-Cen Li volunteered to walk around the campus in protective suits asking other students to write down their positive and negative emotions on post-its and pasted them on their suits which symbolize the “petri dish” of emotions.

Fang-Cheng Zhang, a freshman the in Department of Mechanical Engineering, was the first to write down his emotions in the emotion collection activity. He stated that ArtFest not only brought a new artistic atmosphere to the campus, but also inspired people to reflect on themselves in the pandemic era.

Cochairs I-Hao Liao (left) and Rou-An Chen (right).

Society as a Front-loading Washing Machine.

The performers acting out the struggles we faced during the pandemic in the physical theater show Cleaning in Progress.