Arts Archive

  • End of an era: Cartier-Bresson and the cross-strait diaspora

    End of an era: Cartier-Bresson and the cross-strait diaspora

    The following essay appeared in the December issue of University of California Press’ Afterimage magazine. The pdf is embedded here as the piece is behind a paywall online. (Use the scroll bar on the right-hand side to flick through the pages). 

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  • Seeing past Taiwan’s identity politics: a review of ‘The Great Exodus’ for Global Asia

    Seeing past Taiwan’s identity politics: a review of ‘The Great Exodus’ for Global Asia

    The following article appeared in the December issue of Global Asia magazine: Many China watchers see it as only a matter of time before Xi Jinping makes his move against Taiwan. The Hong Kong crackdown, the coming Biden presidency and the distraction of the Covid-19 pandemic, not to mention Xi’s own statements on the matter: […]

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  • Anger with focus

    Anger with focus

    The following article appeared in today’s Taipei Times:  In language that belies her cherubic appearance, Julia Mariano calls for “revolutionary rage.” She is speaking at Taipei’s Vinyl Decision bar, alongside a portrait of Bob Dylan. This is the language of protest, for sure, but rather than channeling voices from a bygone era, Mariano is demanding […]

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  • The inside-outs of J.W. Henley’s ‘Migrante’

    The inside-outs of J.W. Henley’s ‘Migrante’

    The last time Joe Henley signed a book for me, he made it out to his “colleague in debasement.” Sounding like a possible song title for his next musical project, this was surely an accolade. We had worked – individually, together – on a series of textbooks, and the process had indeed been soul-destroying. Never […]

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  • Understanding remains key to changes in refugee situation

    Understanding remains key to changes in refugee situation

    A slightly edited version of the following feature appeared in today’s Taipei Times: A recent exhibition in Taipei highlights the lack of comprehensive refugee legislation — an issue politicians are unwilling to tackle In his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants, then United States Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kennedy wrote the following words: “Little […]

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  • The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    The throat singer of Zhuzihu

    Though the blooms will be around for some time yet, this weekend is the official end of the Calla Lily festival up in the Zhuzihu (竹子湖) area of Yangmingshan (陽明山). Although I’ve lived in Beitou District (北投區) for over a decade and ridden and hiked around Yangmingshan countless times, there are still quite a few […]

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  • Playing the name game is never a joke

    Playing the name game is never a joke

    A shortened version of the following piece appeared in today’s Taipei Times: In the summer of 1992, Sir Mixalot was in heavy rotation at parties in northwest London. Rather than his big hit Baby’s Got Back, though, the jam that got most airplay was the Seattle rapper’s scathing takedown of racial profiling, One Time’s Got […]

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  • Small Town Taiwan to Big Screen Hollywood: Xiluo Theater and the Lin Family Odyssey

    Small Town Taiwan to Big Screen Hollywood: Xiluo Theater and the Lin Family Odyssey

    The following piece appeared in today’s News Lens:  By Taiwanese standards, the small town of Xiluo (西螺) in Yunlin County (雲林縣) is brimful of attractions. Bestriding the Zhuoshui River (濁水溪), Taiwan’s longest waterway, there’s the Xiluo Bridge, which was second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in length when completed in 1953. Then there’s the […]

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  • Working the fields: Wooster Group’s performance invites parallels with Taiwan’s indigenous folk music

    Working the fields: Wooster Group’s performance invites parallels with Taiwan’s indigenous folk music

    The following piece appeared in the features section of today’s Taipei Times:  Taiwan owes Kurosawa Takatomo. Without his efforts, much of Taiwan’s indigenous music would be lost. In 1943, while Aborigine soldiers were packed off to fight Japan’s war in the Pacific as part of the Takasago Volunteers (高砂義勇隊) squadrons, Kurosawa was recording the songs […]

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  • From Caracas to Taipei: The strange world of Ignacio Huang

    From Caracas to Taipei: The strange world of Ignacio Huang

    With Venezuela in the midst of economic and social meltdown, “El Peor Hombre de Mundo (The Worst Man in the World)” might seem about as far removed from the average Caraquenian experience as imaginable. Released at the end of 2016, this corny comedy depicts the travails of a serial philanderer on a trail of redemption. […]

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