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  • Writer's pictureDan Koh

taipei story

Updated: Oct 16, 2023



in appreciation of 楊德昌 Edward Yang who, over seven and a quarter films i experienced during a solitary and angry youth, taught me that: everyday life can be the stuff of high art, even sensational subjects should be quietly observed, epic tales must be told through the smallest details, women are strong and men weak (but both foolish), ‘80s to ‘90s Taiwan fashion was the bomb, you can make primarily Western influences all your own, beauty and transcendence can derive from work limitations and commercial/national rejection, human relations (especially within the family and between lovers, of adolescence) are at the heart of what we do, and that you can be a bespectacled, polymathic, rake thin utter nerd and still land 蔡琴 Tsai Chin as your partner.



thank you to fellow filmmaker Steve Chen, from whose photos i was first alerted to this retrospective exhibition at 臺北市立美術館 Taipei Fine Arts Museum (and for letting me crash at his!). it’s a privilege to peek behind the scenes at Yang’s obsessive archive to appreciate how much anal-retentive work and collaboration goes into living, then making art of life, somehow making a living off art, and hopefully producing eternal life and light. pure joy and inspiration!



- 𝐿𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑚𝑖𝑥𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑎𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠. 𝑀𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒, 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡'𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑦 𝑤𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚.

- 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑠 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑠? 𝐽𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 ℎ𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒!


- 𝑀𝑦 𝑢𝑛𝑐𝑙𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑦𝑠, "𝑊𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑠."


- 𝐻𝑜𝑤 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑏𝑒?


- 𝐼𝑡 𝑚𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑠 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑢𝑠 𝑡𝑤𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑑𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒.


— 楊德昌 Edward Yang, 一一 (Yi Yi: A One and A Two), 2000



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