Resist the world's progress, realizing your own personal progress.
Text by Huang Wen-Hao
In September 1988, after having looked at a few places, we finally found a place to stay. Before that, we (Tsong Pu, Chen Hui-Chiao, Liu Ching-Tang, myself and two other friends) had had regular weekly get-togethers in a cafeteria on Chung-Hsiao East Road. That went on for six months, and everyone was getting tired of that. The idea to have a fixed meeting place grew more and more pronounced. Finally, as a result of Liu Ching-Tang setting up a photographic studio, we had a space of our own.
In 1987, the Cultural Planning Department held a small exhibition of sculptures, which gave us a few ideas. Therefore, we made a few stands and exhibited some small daily projects in this tiny space. This was IT Park's embryonic form. Besides our friends, members of the art world also attended. We called this space "IT Park."
The name IT Park was decided on when Liu Ching-Tang rented the place next door, connected the two, and held our first formal public exhibition. Everyone was quite pleased with the name, because it incorporated our state of mind at that time, and also included a few interesting metaphors. First of all, the name marked the thing we sought most at the time. We hoped IT would be a place, an arena, and not a group. Some people have always regarded IT as a group which has created a fair amount of embarrassment during IT's subsequent development. Anyone interested in modern art can come to It Park which is open to all. Besides being neutral and open, IT did not engage in market maneuvering or movements, nor is it actively participant. Such a "park character", though seemingly casual, had something very serious to it and actually left us a lot of room to develop. With no manifesto or militarism, our expectations of the possible, and our reserve as to any "answers", together with our delayed responses to what's going on, all brought about conditions beneficial to IT's development. Because indistinct, we didn't know how large the boundaries to our world actually were. An even more important reason for IT's being able to flash through seven years was the fact that at the moment of its creation, we didn't have any wild ambitions, only pure motives, everyone's enthusiasm and a strong "centripetal force." Everything was done according to each one's abilities. Everyone treated each other with love and respect, avoided boasting and exaggeration of any kind, and expressly shunned the media. (The comparison is worth making between this and other groups, as well as with IT later on).
Actually, as compared to society at that time, "IT" is really a very interesting entity, a friend, just like a mirage. Looking back, Taiwan was caught up in the excitement of post-martial law. With restrictions on newspaper lifted, there was a great flourishing of the media. All sorts of social movements spread like a raging fire along with political battling. Fighting on tables, the stock market jumped to 12,000 points and then dropped 2,400 points.... Strange situations witnessed over a period of twenty years all came out of their cages. IT observed calmly from the sides all along.
Maybe we should say that IT didn't participate in this "Great Epoch", but I prefer to believe that we acted without action and reacted without reacting. Perhaps we were not so aware of everything and maybe we were lacking in our ability to respond to what was going on, but we didn't want to lose the essence of art and fall into a mentality of just reflecting social movements as such, which often happened. Emerging from resistance and guiding was the most foolish and yet, also the best way for IT to remain clear headed and autonomous. In a unique way, IT proclaimed its existence.
The IT related here is, in general, that of the period 1988-1990. IT was still lacking in technique and not mature enough, but it had the ability to hold a quantity of new phenomena. It was a living room-type space, the host being quite hospitable, warmhearted, and modest. Most of the members didn't yet reach a systematic method of holding exhibitions. The place ran with a whisper-like, small-scale public propaganda. At a time when Taiwan was in the process of pursuing high level capitalism and industrialization of its cities, IT really had a strong nostalgia of utopia. Ever since I've known Tsong Pu and this group of people, through the establishment of IT and up until the present day, my personal growth and change have been deeper and greatly influenced then any time in my life. IT is, for me, similar to life's arena. Regardless of how many seven years there might still be ahead, it will always continue to ferment and transform my life.