Headlands Center for the Arts is a multidisciplinary, international arts center dedicated to supporting artists, the creative process, and the development of new, innovative ideas and artwork.
Headlands campus comprises a cluster of artist-rehabilitated military buildings, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge at historic Fort Barry in the Marin Headlands, a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).
GGNRA is one of the largest urban parks in the world and is known for its rich biodiversity. The park encompasses 59 miles of bay and ocean shoreline and has military fortifications that span centuries of California history, from the Spanish conquistadors to Cold War¬¬–era Nike missile sites.
Headlands Center for the Arts is just 15 minutes outside of San Francisco, USA.
In and Out (an interdisciplinary performance in collaboration with Anthony Luensmen and Alex)
I was turning thirty on the year of my residency. Just entering that year, I had a solo exhibition at the Taipei Fines Arts Museum. For this exhibition, I had 15 people glue some 340,000 pushpins onto the museum floor to form, with the outline of the pushpins, a frame that resembled the logo for the Discovery Chanel. This piece was a metaphor for my exploration of the world outside of the window. It was also a kind of self-affirmation in my efforts of art making, and moreover entered me into the residency program in the United States.
Summer arrived swiftly and I arrived in San Francisco, USA. It was my first time leaving the country and for the young me, I only wanted to free myself at the other end of the world. I had left the museum assistant job that I had held for 6 months back then, and was fortunate and thankful to be sponsored at the Headland Center for the Arts. If not for this opportunity, this poor art graduate would not likely get the opportunity or money to travel to other foreign countries so soon.
It has been 12 years since then. What I experienced during those three months in the United States, however, is still crystal clear in my mind. My eyes were opened by the biggest Pride Parade in the world on the first week of my arrival in San Francisco. I enjoyed driving in the Bay Area and often drove my American friends for fun around the city. My skills at backing into a parking space on steep hills impressed many. I would go to the nightclub at Castro Street and then realize that I was among a community of gay pals. I grew fond of biking on the streets of San Francisco that year. I would explore the historical and cultural sites in Chinatown, have myself three bowls of barbecue rice, and challenge myself to ride on the winding, hilly roads by the coast - a sweaty exploration of the rich, gated neighborhood in Sausalito. I was young back then, and what I encountered was a completely new experience. It was like my single-lidded eyes had been stretched and enlarged into a double-lidded wonderment.
Friday nights were fun ‘Howard’s Nights,’ in which I was the chef for preparing Taiwanese meals. I had also made promises to invite the resident artists from my residency period back to Taiwan through different projects, and my wishes were eventually granted later on. A Taiwanese American director, Anita Chang, was able to complete her documentary film, 62 Years and 6,500 Miles Between, in Taiwan. She had also taught at the National Taiwan University of Arts and National Dong Hwa University, and even got married in Taiwan. In addition, Tony is a gay artist friend who was invited to exhibit in several contemporary art exhibitions in Taiwan. I had even invited him to gay bars all over Taipei. A couple of choreographers were able to participate in the residency program at Taipei Artist Village, whereas a few other artist friends were able to climb the Jade Mountain in Taiwan.
I resumed my arts administrative job after my residency working at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taipei Artist Village, the art construction of Ha’an Road in Tainan, as the Secretary General for Taiwan Artist Village Alliance, and as the curator for Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts. Since 2010, I have returned to my profession as a fulltime artist. I have also founded the VT Art Salon and opened the Yang Bei Studios since then. This series of events were perhaps the fruits of my residency at Headland Center for the Arts!