Photo Credit: Ze Wei

2023 Guandu International Nature Art Festival

Nature, a Gift
- Connection, Giving and Exchange

"Gifts" play a special role in the lives of mankind. Unlike general functional needs, gifts always contain a nature of connection between the giver and the receiver, even if these objects called "gifts" are no different from general objects. This mutual relationship played a social function in early human life, meaning that it was not limited to individuals, but more often a responsibility and obligation between groups, or a kind of unspoken contractual relationship, also implying a certain moral and ethical value (the receiver has the duty and responsibility to give back). This is deeply expounded in the famous work of Marcel Mauss, the anthropologist: "The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies", which traces the role gifts played in primitive societies. This kind of exchange activity, detached from the functional aspect of bartering in early human society, gave objects more of a human psychological color.

We always have countless reasons to give gifts to others (whether it's out of gratitude, admiration, or other motives). These objects always carry the intention (motivation) of the giver. In short, gifts contain the awareness and feelings of both the giver and the receiver, which create a connection between both sides. As a special object, gifts carry a certain spiritual significance due to this relationship they embody.

Viewing nature as a gift means perceiving nature as something that is given to us. This perspective reflects how we think about our relationship with nature and how we can establish a connection through this relationship. With the advancement of civilization and technology, the idea of viewing nature as a resource to be controlled and managed is a commonly held ideology, with an attitude that is often utilitarian and instrumental. However, this attitude has gradually become controversial, with the emergence of various environmental issues such as global warming, climate change, and biodiversity, being wrapped up in the concept of Anthropocene. We are gradually realizing that nature is an organic system that operates as a whole (such as the Gaia hypothesis), which reminds us to rethink our relationship with nature. However, is there a more proactive attitude we can adopt towards our relationship with nature?

If the theme of the previous exhibition, " Healing, A Methodology," helped us discover the spiritual connections and functions of nature, this year's curation, "Nature, A Gift," represents an opener attitude towards exploring these relationships. By placing artistic creation within the framework of gift-giving, we aim to foster a kind and profound connection with nature, just as what we do with the act of giving gifts.

Call for Artists
When we incorporate the act of gift-giving into our thinking, everything can be approached from different perspectives. Regarding nature, on one hand, it is more than just resources we rely on for survival; we should view it as a gift - an environment shaped by the exchange and interweaving of different ecosystems that has brought about our current way of life (with humans being just one part of it). As receivers, we should contemplate how to respond to this gift, and this exhibition is an attempt to consider how we can form deeper connections with nature from this standpoint.

As the main outlet of the Taipei Basin's water system, the Guandu Plain is a wetland that contains many biological activities and serves as a flood detention area to protect the safety of the Taipei metropolitan area. From early agricultural activities to urban development, industrial pollution, garbage crises, global warming and climate change, rising sea levels, and the decline of biodiversity, the Guandu Plain is almost a microcosm of the entire environmental issue. However, through the establishment of a conservation area, we have transformed it into a gift. Therefore, life is sustained and evolved through the gift of nature.

This year's curatorial theme for the Guandu International Nature Art Festival, "Nature, a Gift - Connection, Giving, and Exchange," is our gift to the Guandu Plain. We invite artists to respond to this theme through their artistic creations.

Creative Goal
The format of creation is unrestricted and may include interdisciplinary contemporary art, visual art, installation art, etc. The use of natural materials is preferred for media, and the creative process must comply with environmentally friendly principles. The works created should convey the values of habitat creation and biodiversity, the connections between the ecology, birds, and human interactions surrounding Guandu, and should trigger awareness of ecological conservation. The creative concept and presentation of the works should emphasize their artistic nature.

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Duration ● Residency Date | August 10- 11, 2023 (Field Study); Aug. 15-Sep.9, 2023 (Resident create artworks); Sep.10 (Public Presentation & Opening Workshops)
Fields and Media Community Development, Craft, Performance Art, Visual Art
Funding 1.Artist’s fee NTD$ 80,000. According to the income tax law in Taiwan, the organizer will deduct tax from the payment based on the applicable rate (e.g. 20% for non-resident) stipulated in the law. Therefore the actual amount the artists receive will be less than NTD$ 80,000. The organizer will pay this fee in New Taiwan Dollars in cash. 2.A round-trip airfare (economy class). From artist’s residency country to Taiwan. The reimbursement does not include the costs associated with passport & visa expenses. Artist will have to book the ticket and pay the fee in advance by him/herself. The organizer will pay the reimbursement by New Taiwan Dollars in cash after artist’s arrival in Taiwan. We will support multi-destination flight only for work purpose. Artists need to provide official documents (an invitation letter, poster etc.) as proof. 3.Local transport. Artists can use the public transport system such as metro, bus, or public bike to shuttle between the hotel and the Park to travel around Taipei. The organizer will provide artists EasyCard with pre-stored value.
Provided by Host 1. Pick-up/drop-off service will be provided. However, artists who plan to have personal trips in Taiwan after the residency will have to take care of the transportation by themselves. 2. Accommodation. From Aug 09, 2023 (check-in) to September 11, 2023 (check-out). Each artist will receive accommodation in a single room with individual bathroom. For anyone accompany the artist, an additional bed will be charged by the hotel accordingly. 3. Materials support. The organizer will assist to collect on-site natural materials (e.g. reed, wood, stone, bamboo, leaf etc.) or recycled objects. The organizer has a shared budget for all artists for purchasing materials like hemp ropes, eco-paints, bamboo etc. Artists who need to purchase materials must consult with the curator first. 4. Meals. Breakfast will be provided by Metro Inn every day. Lunch will be provided by Guandu Nature Park every working day. dinners will not be provided. The average cost for a meal in Taiwan is around NTD 80- 300.
How to Apply Email
Expected Outcome 1. Community involvement: Artists will work with volunteers and local residents to create their artworks. Public participation is one of the key elements of this event. 2. Artist should prepare a public presentation to share their experiences and previous artworks with local residents during the residency. 3.Artists should be involved in any related events such as press conferences and opening ceremony.