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2013-2014 – City Interstices _ Kaohsiung Taïwan



This video is taken from the documentary : « 2013 Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival : The Inhabitables ». The festival started in decembre 2013 and has been extended five times until decembre 2014.


Project City Interstices, heterotopias in Kaohsiung
Program Urban furniture including a new typology of public space
Place Kaohsiung, Taïwan
Context Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival – Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts / Invited architects : Eric Cassar (Arkhenspaces – FR), Sou Fujimoto (Sou Fujimoto Architects – JP), Francine M. J. Houben (Mecanoo Architecten B.V – NL), Chia-hsuan Chang (TW), Leching Chiang + Zihao Chen (TW), I-ching Huang (TW), Chih-feng Lin + Chi-tsun Wang (TW), Pei-huan Tsai (TW)
Team Eric Cassar, Juan Jesus Alfaro Reta, Shenglin Yang, Juvénal Rubinos Flores
Contractor  Lui Ding-Zan (Artist of Ironware works)

General principles Architect invited by the Kaohsiung Fine Art museum, I [Eric Cassar (Arkhenspaces)] was free to invent a program using one recycled container. I proposed a new kind of urban furniture including several services (bus stop, bike terminal…). The project deals with physical and virtual connections vs disconnection. It includes art in the city and offers a new kind of museum or meditation place. Heterotopias spreading in the city in a sustainable intent.


Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.

Lao Tseu -Tao Te Ching – Chapter 11


A container is a self support parallelepiped box with an envelope and a void inside.


The envelope

The outside colors of the container is a game with the 4 colors of the Kaohsiung logo. It will identify the city and permit a variation with various use of those 4 colors for each container (network project).
The outside surfaces of the envelope includes several displays connected with other spaces (physical and/or virtual) or content thanks to new technologies (nspaces). (Note : For the festival, the 2 huge screens have been replaced by posters in order to fit our budget)
The envelope is the nexus, a linked surface which leads to severals spaces.
Screens on the membrane act as windows on others spaces giving access to informations linked to the space in which it is located (opening shops or restaurants, special events, services around…) but also about other informations (transport, traffic, weather…) concerning other places in the city…


The support

As a physical element, the container is a self-supporting structure. It can be seen as a hollow column. It is used as a support for physical matter and objects : a canopy for a bus stop, public bike terminal, streetlights, public bins, video-art display…
It produces effect on the outside (open space) such as services for pedestrian.


The void

The function and the propriety of the inside envelope is neutral and so radically different of the one of the outside space.
The inside volume is the interstice : a closed disconnected space, a void, a counter-space : an interstice of space and time.
A hole in the network, an  individual contemplation and meditation place in the heart of the city which is accessible for anyone.
Alone in the heart of Kaohsiung.
Because the container is only for one person each time (except mothers with babies), it becomes the smallest museum (shrine of the Muses) in the world. As a museum it presents architecture, space pieces and installations. It can includes a wide variety of effects : sound, view, temperature and humidity, touch, smell…
The interstice space presented in the Kaohsiung container art festival is white, sound insulated. Visitor is between two mirrors in a feeling of weightlessness, lost in a white space modified by natural light games. Visitor is the color, visitor is the content.

What for ?
A meditation place : people are used to meditate in natural environment (forest…). We offer them the possibility to meditate in the heart of a culture environment, on a public space.
A place to encounter space, light, art
A place to dance
A place to rest
A place to breastfeed… and of course a lot of new uses to invent
A place to regenerate

There are the passage areas, the streets, the trains, the subway ; there are the open areas of the transitional stops, the café, the movie theaters, the beaches, the hotels, and there are the closed area for having a rest at home, home sweet home. But, among all these places that distinguish one from the other, there are some that are completely different. Places that are opposed to all other, places which are intended to erase, neutralize or purify them. There are in a way some counter-spaces. Those counter-spaces, those localized utopias, children know them perfectly. Of course, it is the end of the garden, of course, it is the attic, or the Indian tent in the middle of the attic, or the huge bed of the parents. It is on that bed that we discover the ocean because we can swim between the blankets, it is also the sky because we can jump on it, the forest because we can hide…

Michel Foucault in «Les hétérotopies»


A network

The city interstices could be an extension of the art museum into the city. The inner spaces are different one from the other. They are similar to piece of architecture or art installation. They are variations on the same volume, stimulating senses and intelligence.
On the outside, a huge video screen broadcasts video-art into the city. It is a way to make art more popular and also to promote exhibitions.
Each container is connected with the others and also with the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. Only the outside envelope is connected. It brings local informations.
This network of counter spaces is not an utopia, they are practical heterotopias in the city.


Sign and sens

A container is a sign from the outside, a urban sign which will identify a place of physical and virtual services (Bus stop and bike park). From the inside, it is a counter space.
It becomes both sens and sign.


Architecture is both container and content.



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