Multiplex, what makes a city?  

by WU Dar-Kuen
By definition, “multiplex” refers to two or more systems that operate simultaneously in daily life. On this basis, its scope can be extended to include operations of all industries in all aspects of daily life, from food to clothing, housing, and transportation. Comparing a city to a computer or human brain, it is comprised of neural networks. Human activities are the transmission of signals among neurons, connecting nodes for communication and linking operations across industries, disciplines and regions. Different operating systems correspond to the overall strategy of modern urban planning, such as urban characteristics, development directions, and scale, turning “multiplex” into proliferating double helix genomes that are closely interrelated and synchronized.

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have believed in and adhered to progressivism and developmentalism, blindly pursuing economic growth propelled by technology and technical production, which has led to the prosperity of modern cities, but has also given rise to many social issues. We further explore the overall daily landscape behind “multiplex,” which includes the basic aspects of public construction, mobility, and housing, and study the complicated politics, economy, and education, formed through the gathering of people, and even revisit history, wars, and human value. With rapid technological development in the late 20th century, new media has brought growth 10 times greater than any era before, resulting in the accelerated flattening of global time and space, breaking through of past geopolitics divided by borders and reshuffling of the single type planning relied on by economic systems such as cities and nations through global digital storms. Virtual revolutions ignited by the Internet and information technology, such as big data, cloud computing, and AI (Artificial Intelligence), are directly influencing offline real life, and like two sides of the same coin, convenience brought about by technology has triggered many dialectics and debates on ethics and human value. We live in an age of multiplex of deconstruction and recreation. How do we proactively confront the issues at hand? Considering the multiplex competition among cities, how do we make decisions and choices across political and economic systems, technology and culture, media and information, history and thinking? When knowledge systems rapidly interact and flow, humanity has unknowingly opened Pandora’s Box, entering a new epoch that crosses real and virtual worlds.

The outline of a progressive city is full of synergistic loops of time, space, people, and nature; the lineage of a city unexpectedly spills over, offering an opportunity for change for citizens who are staying for the short term, moving around, or residing for the long term. In terms of curatorial methodology, through two previously organized Lab Talks, “Participatory Social Creation” and “Curation as a Way to Shape the Character of a City,” “Multiplex” explores different forms of creation and possible practices of curating as an action of intervention into urban spaces. Artists were invited to submit proposals during workshops. At the same time, the CREATORS team at C-LAB was asked to participate. With experimentation and trial and error as the creative cores, they have enriched the context and content of the exhibition. A total of 13 artists and art groups have been involved, including, Blast Theory, Torlarp LARPJAROENSOOK, Vvzela KOOK, LI Cheng-liang, Paul GONG, CHANG Li-Ren & CHENG Yuan & RUI Lanxin, Ting-Tong CHANG, TSUI Kuang-yu, KUO I-chen, JUNG Yeondoo, House Peace, SU Hui-yu, and KU Kuang-Yi. In this exhibition, three perspectives are set forth: “Revisiting History,” “Combing through the Contemporary,” and “Envisioning the Future,” which focus on “city users,” “city creators,” and “visionary thinkers,” respectively, to explore the past, present and future axes of time and space. In addition to reexamining humanity’s past pride in its civilizations, we anticipate asking the question: “What are the possibilities for our future?”

By combing through various contemporary human activities, detailed observations by artists and real action, “Multiplex” creates outlines of the living landscapes of contemporary cities in miniature, ultimately presenting a holistic view of human civilization.

TSUI Kuang-Yu

KUO I-Chen

House Peace


Blast Theory


Ting-Tong CHANG

LI Cheng-Liang

Yeondoo JUNG

CHANG Li-Ren, CHENG Yuan, RUI Lanxin

Kuang-Yi KU

SU Hui-Yu

Vvzela KOOK

©City Flip-Flop     

Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab

No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)