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    May Co-sensus: Demo-stream in Democracy

    The Return of Fascism
    “Decolonization” and “human rights” constitute the double helix structure of the twentieth-century global politics. Within a century we have become accustomed to the ideas of freedom, equality, and democracy, yet the political sophistry and violence that emerged by the turn of the century subsequently made these notions either ambiguous or obscure. Moreover, all kinds of social and livelihood problems caused by the previous criticism of capitalism led by the left-wing ideology have also shifted to the question about democracy. As a result, democratic societies have turned to support conservatism, which is dominated by regional interests. Fascism has appeared all over the world, among the left and right wings.

    The Clustering of Multi-layer Co-sensus
    The broad left lost its ability to call for a “co-sensus” which it once obtained in the late nineteenth century and the 1960s, and again in the 1980s. In contrast, we have measured the “co-sensus” with a method which is simplified by online social media; hence, “populism” has become a double-edged sword of the digital age. The anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong, as well as social movements in Turkey, Ukraine, Indonesia, India, and Iran, are all anarchy movements struggling against the fascistization. Yet, most right-wing regimes have ignored or even forcefully suppressed those movements. The outbreak of global coronavirus pandemic in 2019 has dramatically interrupted such predicament. Many rightist or totalitarian countries have run into a crisis due to intransparent information dissemination and fake news operations.

    The political life that we must confront and contemplate today is the creativity that gathers and goes beyond populism. “Multitude” as a “cluster” in a decentralized era has become a major desire and anarchic imagination for social solidarity and mobilization. However, meanwhile, the “i” ideology in the business market has also swept across the entire market. Coupled with the “computation” of the online social networking service, “collective” is bound to be difficult to happen in such offset. Apparently, the emotivity and memes contribute to the relational flux, and thus generate clustering and collectivity. In short, clustering is not the condensation and completion of identity, but the “co-sensus” event before identity is represented. 

    The Dynamic Unit of Demo-stream: Be Water
    The force and energy of emotivity precipitate the flow. The undertaking of the flow (the act of emotivity) is thus a key event in the gathering process, which is the co-sensus that we wish to create and capture through artistic means. Nevertheless, difficulties in “co-sensus” or the “deprivation of perception” that we confront today operate not through structural relationships but the stripping of microelements (affect), the artificial implanting of “memes,” and the general elements massively substituted to specific language interfaces. Therefore, it is necessary to stimulate the “sharing” benefits of micro-elements with “emotivity” that precipitate the flow.

    If the late 1980s was an important period for the collapse of the Cold War and full democratization, in this global political atmosphere, many anti-dictatorship movements and demands for freedom have taken place in both South Korea and Taiwan, urging the government to lift martial law and authoritarian regimes. However, the democratic “co-sensus demo-stream” of the 1980s did not become central to the narrative of the time. Today’s multi-layer co-sensus, on the other hand, allows us to look back at their hidden values. In fact, individuals trigger an “event clustering” with creative co-sensus, which makes the gap sensible by connecting the fragmented distribution channels. This was the case forty years ago, and so it is today. Now, we do have a deeper feeling that “democratization” requires a kind of ability to adjust to differences and to accommodate them. The concept of “be water” operated in the anti-extradition protests as a “token” connecting the emotivity, flow and democratic dynamics provide such a technique as an example.     

    The Season of Demo-stream
    If “be water” (Bruce Lee) is the essence of agency within martial arts, we can even take it as the basic force of democracy. It refers to that “individuals” enter the public space intensified by politics, and then flexibly connect with other individuals to achieve certain efficiency and to exert power. The individual would further connect to an operational relationship that can adequately respond to the appearance of the external environment. “Be water” is able to surpass dilemmas of many democratic societies and directly link up an active relational network, delivering reinforced information, communicating emotions and sharing experience. Hence, “be water” directs toward “demo-stream” through “co-sensus.”
“May” was significant in the year of 1919 for China, 1968 for France, 1980 for South Korea, and 1988 for Taiwan. The energy of change and youth occupied in “May” in the 20th century, since the climate in “spring” is suitable for going out, meeting new friends, expressing ourselves, and speaking up. Now, we are facing May of the 21st century. When we recall those “Mays” of the 20th century, we do dream of going out to make friends again and shake the world with a more delicate mind. Through “Demo-stream” we aim to find deeper layers that constitute these energetic convergence and movements through artists’ thoughts and practices. We try to put forward an ecological view of democratization in the bio-political period. The democratic movement also represents the emergence of new concepts of common life, new perceptual distribution, and a new world of common existence.

    Title May Co-sensus: Demo-stream in Democracy
    Curator Chien-Hung Huang
    Dates May 1 – July 5, 2020 (Closed on Monday)
    Opening hours 10:00 – 17:00
    Venue Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts,
    No. 1Rd, Xueyuan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan

    Free admission  




    Chien-Hung Huang is Associate Professor of Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Arts at the National Taipei University of Arts. He has published numerous books, including Trans-fiction: Investigation Project of Asia (2017), Discordant Harmony (2016), Smile of Montage (2013), and Trans-Plex Agenda (2011). He has also translated the following books on contemporary cinema and philosophy from French: Esthétique relationelle of Nicolas Bourriaud (2013), Image-Mouvment, Image-Temps of G. Deleuze (2003), La guerre n’a pas eu lieu (2002), L’objet singulier of J. Baudrillard (2004), Destin des images of J. Rancière (2012). As a curator, he has been particularly interested in exploring the contemporary art of Asia and has curated exhibition including Chim↑Pom’s Beautiful World (2012), Schizophrenia Taiwan 2.0 (2013), Co/Inspiration in Catastrophe (2019), Queering Umwelt (2019). In 2018 he was a guest scholar of Vitamin Creative Space, Gwangzhou, China. Among others, he is a member of editorial committee of New Media (Trans-Media School of China Academy of Arts), Hangzhou, China.