Coretronic Culture and Arts Foundation and Tainan City Government Unveil Taiwan’s First “Temple of Light”

How do people interact with the surroundings at night? This must be achieved through light. However, according to a survey conducted by Coretronic Culture and Arts Foundation (CCAF), there are 97% of Taiwan’s residents admit that our cities need better lighting infrastructure. For this reason, the association launched an event to improve the lighting condition and reveal the importance of appropriate lighting design.

CCAF is a young association that dedicates to the art of light and culture and initiated Light Environment Movement to promote deeper public understanding of light since 2011. Two years ago, CCAF collaborated with Tainan City Government Cultural Bureau (Editor’s note: Tainan is a southern city in Taiwan and is the oldest one on the island) to light up Tainan’s Wind God Temple and the historical Reception Archway. These historical monuments, erected almost 300 years ago, served as Taiwan’s official gateway and reception hall during the Qing Dynasty. After two years of planning and execution, CCAF’s project “Let’s Sense Light Tainan,” curated by internationally renowned lighting designer Chou Lien, will unveil on September 14th, 2013. This lighting exhibition, The Temple of Light, will be open to the public every night from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. since the same date as well.

On the press conference held in Taipei on 6th September, a week before the official announcement in Tainan, CCAF provides some detailed information about this project. Yao Cheng Chung, the president of CCAF, says that the reasons why they chose the Wind God Temple, the only temple that enshrines Wind God in Taiwan, are all about culture. First, this location was once one of the most important places 300 years ago so it possesses rich historical and cultural value. Second, almost every aspect about human culture can be related to religious architectures, from daily life, faith to art and it is undoubtedly that the Wind God Temple also has a unique position. Accordingly, CCAF chose this temple to be the start. CCAF invited Chou Lien to redesign the lighting condition inside and outside the temple. They started from field researches, met local residential and artists to capture the background cultures. After all these efforts, they can finally unveil their fruit to the public.

The lighting of
The lighting of "The Temple of Light." Left to right: Yue-ching Wu, representative of Wind God Temple; Yao Cheng Chung, present of CCAF; Tse-shan Yeh, Director general of Tainan City Government Cultural Affaris Bureau; Ann Wu, board of Director of CCAF.
Photo Credit: CCAF

Hence the Wind God Temple is such a significant place in Tainan, Tse-shan Yeh, the Director-General of Tainan City Government Cultural Bureau, says that he personally feels very amazed and appreciated that CCAF chose this temple as the first project. Belight.com asked Yeh about whether Tainan City Government has any extended program to integrate the Wind God Temple with the surroundings nearby, Yeh answers “yes” and explains that the local government decides to mark this temple as a paradigm for more temples or historical sites to refer to. Also, Yeh notes that it was also important to cooperate with Bureau of Urban Development because lighting adjusting is basically an environment planning. If we wished to renovate the surroundings there, it would be necessary to have a comprehensive program for the whole city rather than only a limited plan for a single place.

As mentioned above, lighting condition is so important that it is typically impossible to ignore. “What do we want to see through the light?” asks Yao, the president of CCAF. “Actually, we are doing something about the expression of beauty of a city, of value and culture, not only a lighting project. Therefore, as I said, what do we want to express through the light? That’s the question.” Explaining that they adopted a warm-white light tone to show the temple’s original colors, lines and beauty, visitors can “feel the light without witnessing the light.” This is a perfect example that lighting can reversely change the air and face of a place. Fang-yun Hsu, the Director of CCAF, notes that “after we done with the new lighting, we can noticeably recognize that even the smiles on the deities’ statues become more pleasant. Also, we can be impressed by the temple’s warmth and sublime under new lighting.”

“This is not only a lighting project, but also a promotion of life aesthetics,” says Yao. “We hope to express that it is necessary, while not difficult, to pay more attention to lighting in our daily lives. Through appropriate lighting design, we can reveal the richness, culture, beauty and art of somewhere. Take the Wind God Temple for example, we tones it as a public issue rather than only an architecture lighting project.” Blew there by the Wind God himself, CCAF is now attempting to lead a lighting revolution.

For more information, please visit CCAF’s website on http://www.coretronicart.org.tw/

temple_before
The original lighting condition of Wind God Temple,
Photo Credit: CCAF
tempel_after
The new lighting design of Wind God Temple.
Photo Credit: CCAF
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