Taiwan Spectrum|Imagining the Avant-garde: Film Experiments of the 1960s

Taiwan Spectrum|Imagining the Avant-garde: Film Experiments of the 1960s

Half a century ago, restrictions resulted from the political situation left a group of art and literature-loving young Taiwanese people with no other choice but to rely on translated books to imagine what Western art films were like; moreover, they carried out their own experiments on film. Half a century later, it seems that we can only rely on the fragmented written accounts that have survived and various theories to image what these lost films looked like. Unfortunately, ‘not being able see the real thing’ becomes the common thread between now and then.


Starting from the ‘double imagination’ described above and based on historical documents from various sources, we search for the independent films made during that period. Our clues come from the artists, the Theatre Quarterly, the film students who studied abroad and those in the Hong Kong and Western literature and art worlds who were in contact with their Taiwanese counterparts. Under the unique circumstances at that time, these films might reflect the reality in some way, and we hope that the rediscovery and revival of these works would provide us with extra materials and allow us to conduct a conversation with the 1960s, a period known for its modern, avant-garde and experimental spirit.


From what is described above, one can see that the so-called ‘avant-garde’ actually comes from imagination, and imagination itself might be some sort of avant-garde. These film experiments of the 1960s could be seen as the ‘imaginary avant-garde’ and our ambition to revive them is a kind of ‘avant-garde imagination’.


Acknowledgment: CHANG Chao-tang & CHANG Shih-lun


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