Thursday, October 25, 2007

Taipei's Dream Community Parade

Taiwan's Medici

Last year I interviewed Gordon Tsai, a real estate developer in Taipei’s suburbs who claims he wants to be Taiwan's Medici, for Art AsiaPacific issue 52.

Gordon has 4 acres of land set up as the Dream Community which includes a bakery whose loaves are filled with the goat’s milk from the goats he raises, a restaurant whose dishes are inspired by the ethnicity of its multiethnic staff, and the ongoing construction of a residential building. His pet project is his annual papier-mâché floats/Samba parade.

He’s pictured here from last year’s parade all diapered up. He’s keen to give back to his community and spends wads of his own money to sponsor international celebration artists to come and create floats and teach stilt-walking to the local school children. Inspired by Seattle’s Fremont Solstice and Nevada’s Burning Man festivals, he longingly craves to create the biggest parade in Asia, something along the scale of Rio’s Carnivale.

He was adamant during our interview that he didn’t want any political influence, that his interest is solely in the arts and that he thinks art can help change society. But this year’s parade on October 20 was not in the suburbs like usual, but on Jenai Road, in Taipei, just blocks away from the Presidential Office. Hmm, do I smell political aspirations?

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