In 2020, GONG Paul and KU Kuang-Yi presented the “Provocative Futures: Speculation, Human body, and Medical science – GONG Paul & KU Kuang-Yi Double Solo Exhibition” at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. After the exhibition, the duo wishes to continue research with regard to this context and further develop the intricate relationship between medical technology, the human body, and art/design. This time, they present the exhibition “Provocative Futures II: Speculation, Medical Science, Human Body and Gender” in collaboration with the Digital Arts Center, Taipei, as the second stage of their curatorial project. Featuring in the exhibition is the premier of GONG Paul and KU Kuang-Yi’s new work Free the Male Nipple, in addition, the exhibition also features work by six students who studied under the duo over recent years in art school. The works are: ChoosingRunn by NYCU (National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University) Institute of Applied Arts students WU Pin-Yu and NIEN Tino; Enemy Me by Four Zhui 4J(CHUANG Shih-Chieh); Monalisa’s Eye by NYCU Graduate Institute of Architecture student CHU Li-Ying; Extreme Jungle by Taipei National University of the Arts Department of New Media Arts student HONG Chingting; Emorgan by SCU (Shih Chien University) Department of Industrial Design graduate WU Wenchien and HUANG Xile; and a collaborative work DareDiary by SCU Department of Industrial Design student CHANG Banff, SHIH Anne, HSU Circle, MA David and SCU Department of Communications Design graduate CHANG Chloe.
Free the Male Nipple is the first work created through a collaboration of the two artists. The project is inspired by the gender equality social movement of “Free the Nipple” and reflects on the contradictions and predicaments of the physical liberation faced by women of different cultural backgrounds, and further responds to the male body. This project is the extension of the themes the two artists have worked on in the past. It followed from GONG Paul’s research on the usefulness/uselessness of trace organs, as well as KU Kuang-Yi’s satire narratives that question medical technology monitoring of gendered bodies. Free the Male Nipple just happened to fall into the intersection of the two artists’ creative concepts. In addition, the duo also invited Surgeon Dr. TANG Chenling from Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital into this reciprocal collaboration, in order to explore the possibilities of artistic creation that combines art and surgery, providing the audience more humanistic critical thinking that is needed in the medical field.
After the 2020 double solo exhibition at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, aside from the collaborative work Free the Male Nipple with KU Kuang-Yi, GONG Paul also extends his research and planning to construct teaching courses from the exhibition. Related teaching research is applied in the SCU International Design Workshop “Designing Disease – the Theatre of Future Medicine”, NYCU Institute of Applied Arts lecture “Medicine and Artistic Practice”, and SCU graduate show. In this exhibition, GONG Paul and KU Kuang-Yi selected six works by students based on the curatorial theme to be showcased together, to present the results of their curatorial research and teachings. At the same time, provide the audience with the opportunity to understand the thought process of a new generation of artists and designers in Taiwan and the reflection of their era.
Free the Male Nipple
GONG Paul, KU Kuang-Yi
The “Free the Nipple” movement that began in the West in 2013 aims to overcome the gender inequality between men and women. This social movement focuses on the double standards of male and female nipple exposure in today’s society, laws, and online media. Free the Male Nipple builds on this movement as the background, and attempts to propose a future male circumcision as a radical practice of feminism. In this future scenario, a group of male radical feminists expresses their respect for the female body through the practice of cutting off the nipples that have no physiological function. Through the extreme imagination of surgery, Free the Male Nipple portrays a series of sensory experiences that lead the viewers to reflect on medical technology, gender, and physical relationships we may face in contemporary society.
Film, PLA 3Dprint
WU Pin-Yu, NIEN Tino
Narcolepsy is an illness which the artist suffers from.
Cataplexy is a typical symptom of narcolepsy. It is a state of momentary loss of muscle control. Through research carried out by evolutionists, the cataplexy state is quite similar to the mechanism of “playing dead (tonic immobility)” certain animals present when in danger.
Patients suffering from narcolepsy often experience high levels of stress throughout their daily lives. Even though the disease has been thoroughly researched and recognized as pathological, patients are still often stereotyped as lazy and avoidance. But this behavior of stereotyping others may stem from one’s own desire for laziness and avoidance. In this work, the tonic immobility state caused by the above-mentioned cataplexy is designed as an optional choice, the product can induce a state of tonic immobility through its use, so as to achieve the function of regulating life pressure, and promote more options and thoughts on illness and social perspective.
Film, Animation, AR, Comics
Four Zhui 4J (CHUANG Shih-Chieh)
The year is 2068 in the future, mankind encounters an ecological catastrophe caused by cell mutation in outer space. Viewers are led into this future timeline step by step through the video on display, interactive installations, and comic documents, where they will eventually find out what kind of story has taken place.
The idea of the work is developed from the artist’s personal medical history. The mutated cells in the work take inspiration from skin lesions as its original prototype. While the inclusion of science fiction elements provides viewers with emotional connection. The artist integrates this future with his skills in comic illustrations to construct the narrative, allowing viewers to enter the world created by the artist after watching the video.
Acrylic, Graphic printing, Single channel video
In this game, the core objective is to find the disappeared painting- Mona Lisa’s Eye. Through different levels of puzzle solving, questions are raised and the answers are found, and viewers can gradually piece together the background story.
“What is it that people pursue? Is there any glimmer of hope signaling the current helpless situation may be reversed? Or the inequality in resources allocation among social classes and the contradiction caused by it?”
The idea of the Abarara Eye Disease in the game is taken from the illness “Acanthamoeba Keratitis”. The artist depicts within the narrative of the game, her personal experience of the symptoms, treatment pains, depressions, and questions toward society during the illness. Allowing the viewers to keep reflecting through the process of putting together story fragments to discover their own ending.
Single channel video, Graphic printing, Insect specimen and plant
The alienation of people and the natural environment are an undeniable trend and fact. This situation will undoubtedly become more and more serious in the future. Despite the advancement in medical treatment, the physical and psychological conditions of human beings continue to deteriorate.
Therefore, Extreme Jungles were created. Those artificial jungles are made to be extremely wild, so that people can make up for the alienation from nature in a short time. And what does one get from it? Is it physical and mental health, or just fear? Is it really close to nature, or hypocritic and alienated?
3D printed organs, Official website, 3D animation, Package design
WU Ｗenchien、HUANG Xile
In the future, as material life becomes more satisfying, we modify parts of the human body. In addition to the external material, the internal organs and performance of the human body can be enhanced through surgery to derive “organ autonomy”. People begin to develop the spiritual aspect.
Humans express and receive emotions differently. Some people are unable to understand why emotions are formed, while others are unable to express their emotions smoothly.
You can think of Emorgan as a future emotion service company, providing couples counseling services and emotion organs. The future emotion organ contains two sets of organs, Obi and Shali, and a set of prosthetics, Buzzy. Obi translates the partner’s voice to give emotional vibration feedback, while the Shali translates the tear crystal body shapes with protein analysis to emotional saliva, and Buzzy is an entry-level product that provides the most basic emotional feedback by giving the partner electric feedback through the difference in blood flow rate.
Question: In the world of the future, apart from physical and functional needs, can we also use technology to satisfy human’s spirituals, emotions and intimate relationships, or have a new way of knowing each other?
Cardboard, Plank, Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA), Resin, Acrylic
HSU Circle, CHANG Banff, MA David
We hope that we can utilize the benefit of breast milk, together with the latest technology to let physiological men also produce “human milk”. The production of human milk is also suitable for teenagers during the growing period. With human milk, teenagers can improve their immune system, and reduce the probability of allergies. In this way, we can achieve the goal of gender equality and improve our quality of life at the same time.
Taipei City Government
Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government
Digital Art Center, Taipei
Digital Art Center, Taipei
Shih Chien University
Ministry of Culture
Creative Industries Funds NL
Digital Art Center, Taipei
No. 180, Fuhua Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei City
Provocative Futures II: Speculation, Medical Science, Human Body and Gender – Lecture Performance (Work-In-Progress Presentation)
Free the Male Nipple: GONG Paul, KU Kuang-Yi, Surgeon Dr. TANG Chenling ChoosingRunn: WU Pin-Yu, NIEN TinoEnemy Me: Four Zhui 4J (CHUANG Shih-Chieh)Monalisa’s Eye: CHU Li-Ying
Emorgan: WU Ｗenchien、HUANG Xile
DareDiary: HSU Circle, CHANG Banff, MA David