Cargo Containers Embody Kaohsiung's Maritime Character
【◎Written by Hong Yu-cheng ◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting ◎Photos courtesy of CHSG Studio】
Via the ocean, the Port of Kaohsiung links the city to the world. The harbor is the fifteenth busiest container port in the world, and cargo containers now have cultural connotations as well as economic significance. Over the years, freight containers have become unique art forms and even homes and have become embedded in local culture.
※ Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival
Kaohsiung has hosted the biennial Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival since 2001. Artists explore standardized cargo containers by deforming them and other techniques in order to deliver the messages they wish to convey. For instance, in 2013, Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival held “The Inhabitable” exhibition, which invited architects to transform a container into a church, a smoking booth, and a bar. “The Inhabitable” exhibition proved that a container could be adapted into many types of living space.
2015's “Ark of Tomorrow” exhibition raised awareness about how the planet could become uninhabitable due to extreme weather. In that exhibition, the container was a metaphorical ark, delivering humanity's introspection and hopes. Last year, “Silver Horizon” examined the issue of aging and expressed concern and friendship toward the aged. Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts Curator and Head of Exhibition Department Ms. Tseng Fang-ling points out that a shipping container typically has a life span of 8 to 12 years. Crisscrossing the high seas, containers suffer wind, rain, and salt damage. Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival transforms some of these “retired” cargo containers into art installations that express the creativity and feelings of the artists. The festival also reveals how art can upcycle a humble container and bestow a brand new appearance and soul on a battered item. Visitors are amazed by the unlimited possibilities presented by each piece of art.
※ KUBIC Village
The Asia's New Bay Area project includes four high-profile public buildings and the first stage of a light rail system. The landmarks are: Kaohsiung Exhibition Center; Kaohsiung Main Public Library; Kaohsiung Music Center; and Kaohsiung Port Terminal. Furthermore, Asia's New Bay Area has attracted private investment from enterprises including Dream Mall, MLD Cinema, Carrefour, IKEA, and Costco. Other well-known enterprises located in Asia's New Bay Area (which includes Kaohsiung Software Park) are Etron Technology, Brogent Technologies, and Foxconn Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung Software Development Center and the headquarters of China Steel are nearby.
To add vigor and creativity to Asia's New Bay Area, Kaohsiung City Government created KUBIC Village, a venue for lectures, exhibitions, concerts, weekend markets, and more than 10 brands' stores. Since 2017, the venue has comprised 33 cargo containers. The village's shops can be categorized into innovative techniques, organic farming, green technology, and crossover design, such as YOUR Block micro toy blocks and the DIZO Bike store. YOUR Block has been awarded the MIT Smile Logo for high quality assurance by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Safe Toy Certification by Taiwan Children's Commodities R&D Center. DIZO Bike store specializes in customized carbon-fiber bicycles.
It is hoped KUBIC Village will continuously bloom with creativity, draw residents and visitors to Asia's New Bay Area, and enhance Kaohsiung's future competitiveness.
※ NSYSU Startup Container
At National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU), NSYSU Startup Container is a freight-container office which incubates students' innovations and entrepreneurial skills. Established in 2017, NSYSU Startup Container is equipped with a display room, a lecture room, a meeting room, a co-working space, and a shower room. Each semester, NSYU students and alumni are eligible to submit applications to the Startup Container, which then selects between 8 and 10 teams to join the program. So far, NSYSU Startup Container has incubated more than 60 startup teams.
NSYSU Startup Container cultivates startups through different stages, including applying for funding, merchandising their product, communicating to build alliances, and seeking support from professionals. Afterward, the Innovation & Incubation Center can offer marketing strategies and help teams identify marketing channels. Teams may apply for funding from SYS Ventures (established by NSYSU alumni) or from the NSYSU Hundred Million Innovation Investment Fund Committee.
These startups are tiny, yet they have developed a wide variety of product lines, displaying the creativity that flourishes throughout the campus. Some of the most outstanding products include sea-based skincare products, handmade canoes, and electronic games, as well as natural foods like yogurt, seafood, and pickled cabbage.
※ Website information:
Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival https://bit.ly/2A7WGht
KUBIC Village https://bit.ly/2FARr7H
NSYSU Startup Container https://bit.ly/2LLRPEi