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(Übersetzung folgt) Last week, it took me three hours of travel across the city in order to purchase a heavyweight black lump labeled transformer. The result was – finally – a flawless rendering of our microphones in use. I hope you noticed! In case you haven’t because your didn’t listen to Datscha Radio’s second broadcast from Taipei, here comes a quick summary.

Wu Tsan Cheng must be inevitably known as soon as you click on aporee’s sound map of Taiwan. And it is not by the sheer number of recordings uploaded there that would be a phenomenon by itself, even more exciting is the artful quality of his field recordings. I was lucky enough to have him as my first guest and our talk dealt with his extensive work, the „semi-natural“ intricacies of field recording and introduced some (not enough!) of his pieces.

In preparation of this second show I had spent two nights in the city of Yilan, an hour of bus ride away from Taipei, to meet the artist and farmer Yang Hauyu. We went to his family’s farm and had a long talk about the ways in which organic farming (which is not so usual in Taiwan) and artistic work can convene. An excerpt of this talk was broadcast and the subsequent degustation of homemade rice wine led to reading of a (truly spirit-induced) rice wine poem written by my neighboring resident Rewat Panpipat.

Hauyu Yang

This formed a felicitous transition to the next live guest, Pi Erny. Erny is the son of Cassandra, one of the micro-loft artists here, and he is specialized – despite his young age – in the manufacturing of fruit wines. His favorite is wine made from the dragon fruit (Pitaya). It has a deep red color and a very sweet and slightly tangy taste. He also brought some plum wine to savor: Best I ever tasted so far!

Absolutely noteworthy in all these talks with Taiwanese artists and guests is the translation support rendered by Charlotte/Ming Chun of the THAV’s office who generously helped out with her proficiency whenever words went missing! Thank you, Charlotte!

Dragon fruit talk

A prerecorded talk with enchantingly lively Mr. Hu, the eldest inhabitant of the village, followed. 50 years ago, Mr Hu came over from the mainland as a soldier to stay here with the much more peaceful mission of building his own house, starting a family and dedicating himself to studies of ancient Chinese history and song lore. This very special occasion had been facilitated by Ms Catherine Lee, director of TAV, who also translated for me.

Mr. Hu with his two daughters in the 60s

Meeting Mr. Hu occurred within the frame of the villager’s feast that same evening, on the 26th of January. Every two months, the THAV staff, the artists and the local residents meet for a festivity that involves plenty of food and plenty of Karaoke singing. Consequently (since I recorded some of this), the remaining time of the broadcast was filled with the tunes of popular Taiwanese songs.

She was the best!!
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(Übersetzung folgt) This upcoming Wednesday, Datscha Radio will focus on issues of field recording, farming and life in the village. The sound mapping artist Wu Tsan Cheng will be my studio guest and will present a selection of some of his finest field recordings.

Wu Tsan-Cheng

A trip to Yilan sprouted a talk and/or audio walk with the performance artist and gardener Yang Hauyu. And we will explore life in the village a bit further, featuring fruit wine recipes and a guided walk introducing some of the historical trees in Treasure Hill. Last but certainly one of the highlights will be a talk with the villages’s oldest inhabitant, Mr. Hu – first photo above – , who is also a passionate singer. Translations by Catherine Lee, director of Treasure Hill Village.
And we’ll close the show with a vocal bouquet of Karaoke songs, recorded on the 26th of January.

Time: 3 pm (Taipei time); 8am (Berlin time)
Date: 30th of Janurary
Location: Treasure Hill Artist Village, Studio 4-4

All of this is still in the making, so changes in the schedule might occur.

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The day started with an expedition into the audio equipment world of Taipei: A broadcast-compatible second microphone was missing. To cut a long story short: Hero of my day was a young man called Wu Weida who led me from one Hi-Fi shop to another and finally to a stand in a market hall where I happily acquired the item.

Here come come pictures from our broadcast. The day was overcast and slightly fresh, therefore I decided not to move onto the terrace but stay inside my living room. Radios were tucked to nearby trees and marquees, and the scent of the freshly bought tuberoses wafted through the air.

A teacher came too with her class

Mabel Wang’s and Eli Liang’s musical inserts were a highlight. Both are trained musicians and the pieces they played belonged to the lore of traditional Taiwanese music. I still feel honored.

Mabel Wang at the Guzheng.
Eli Liang grew up in a family of flute players

THAV’s managing officer Charlotte explained in her talk how the village of Treasure Hill evolved. The artist village has hosted more than 500 artists since 2002. Meanwhile different people flock in and out of the studio: THAV’s new interns and artist’s friends mostly.

Charlotte Ming Chung and I
The stream works, says Gabriele de Seta

The Italian ethnographer and artist Gabriele came with Ping, a puppeteer. She brought a youtube list of Taiwanese flower songs, some from the early 40ies, some more like 80ies. The flower in the culture here is always always a symbol for the female… many songs speak of flowers “in the rain”, “at night”, falling petals, or the other way around, of coming to bloom.

Ping and her sister during the set

Ping’s DJ-set was followed by another concert by Mabel and Eli, and the recording of an interview with the Thai poet Rewat Panpipat who lives next door and is the only other artist resident from abroad in this village. All the time I was glad to find that our little radios outside picked up perfectly the transmitter signals. And evidently also the streaming radio worked :)
The broadcast closed with the give-away of the “radio carrots” to the artists and a sip (or two) of fine whiskey. Which makes me think of the fruit wines being manufactured by Cassandra, one of the local artists next door. But that’s already for the next broadcast.

More pictures will follow here, bear with me,

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(Übersetzung folgt) For the next seven weeks, Datscha Radio will plant its ‘radio day’ each on a different week day, progressing from its first broadcast on Tuesday, the 22nd of January. The location will be my terrace in the Artist Village of Treasure Hill, Taipei, Artist Studio No. 4.

I am happy to say that I have the great luck to collaborate here with the Italian ethnographer and experimental sound (and radio) artist Gabriele de Seta. Apart from assisting with tech and sound, he will also help with translations as he is a fluent speaker of Mandarin.

We’ll broadcast on stream via datscharadio.de, but also locally via micro-FM transmitters. This means that you can bring your radio, maybe find a place in the vicinity, sit down, listen and relax. The frequency is not yet decided upon, you’ll find it published in due time on this blog and social media.

Our forecast for the 22nd of January
Live concerts: Mabel Wang (Guzheng – Chinese zither) and Ely Liang (Dizi – Bamboo Flute)
Talks: Charlotte Ming Chun, Catherine Lee (THAV and TAV representatives)
Field recordings: raw audio
Selected interviews: Audio walk through the Village led by Lily Liu
Rewat Panpipat (Poet); Orachacorn (Editor)

Gardening is not about keeping schedules and plants don’t grow by the clock. Rather they follow their inner rhythms, they react to weather conditions, they communicate with fellow plants, living beings and matter in their environment. Gardening is most of all about caring and spending time with your surroundings. This newly planted radio garden in Treasure Hill invites you to come, listen, to contemplate, share and participate.

As we want to make this place as beautiful and flowering as possible, you may donate unwanted pot plants, flowers and/or vegetables :)


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Große Hilfe erfuhr ich gestern für das Einsprechen der neuen Jingle:)
(Die Schrift im Bild, “Hua yuan dian tai“, bedeutet übrigens „Radio im Garten“.)

Mein Dank geht hier (v. r nach l.) an Yi-Chun Liu/Lily, Mabel Wang, Ming-Chun Cheng/Charlotte und Alice, die gemeinsam eingesprochen haben. Und selbstverständlich an Catherine Lee, Leiterin des Künstlerresidenzprogramms Treasure Hill Village, für ihre wundervolle Unterstützung. Catherine erklärte auch, dass „Datscha“ im Chinesischen ziemlich genau so klingt wie „Los geht’s“. Eine zusätzliche Aufnahme verschaffte uns der Manager für die Logistik, Yi-Wei Tsai, der “Datscha Radio Taipei” mit einem beeindruckendem Lacher einleitete…

Catherine Lee. It’ grape harvesting time in Taiwan now.

Tracks sind sehr bald online!

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Der Blumenmarkt Taipehs liegt im Schutze einer Überführung knapp 100 Meter von Daan Park. Es ist Sonntag, doch das Gedränge hält sich in Grenzen und wird mit Pfeilen am Boden in die entsprechende Laufrichtung dirigiert. Also erst rechts alles ablaufen, dann links. Hastiges Überwechseln führt zu ein wenig Konfusion, geht aber auch. Was es hier nicht alles gibt: Wasserdampfmaschinen, Düngemittel, Gartenwerkzeuge, Erden, Aquaristik-Bedarf, junge Hunde (in rosa Käfigen), Sämereien, Gefäße aller Art und natürlich Blumen und Pflanzen für Haus und Garten, vorwiegend letztere.

Das erste, was mir allerdings auffällt, ist die vergleichsweise Stille zum Londoner Blumenmarkt: Keine Ausrufer, kein Geschrei, nicht einmal bei den zahlreichen Sonderangeboten für Orchideen. Ich bin froh, dass ich keine Fachfrau für Orchideen bin, andernfalls hätte ich bestimmt vor Entzücken geweint. Exquisite Auswahlen an Frauenschuhen, Jungpflanzen spezieller Varietäten, kaskadenartige Blütenstängel in hellgelb und aubergine, finster gesprenkelte Schlünde, rätselhafte Wurzelstücke und immer wieder kleinere „Hausgebrauchs-Pflanzen“ ab 50 TWD, also ab 1, 60 Euro. Für ansehnliche Teile liegen die Preise zwischen 200 und 450 TWD und ich fühle mich sehr in Versuchung geführt.

Grob gesagt unterteilt sich das Angebot des Blumenmarktes in Orchideen, Sukkulenten, Farne und Epiphyten, Kamelien und Bonsai (die gehören zwar nun wirklich nicht zusammen, stehen aber oft beieinander), Pflanzen für den Kräuter- und Gemüsegarten und „Schau-Prachtstauden, darunter vor allem Astern, Aschenblumen und Flamingoblumen sowie Löwenmäuler. Eng umdrängt sind die Stände, die westliche Frühjahrsblumen anbieten: Hyazinthen und Zwiebeln von Osterglocken. Und diese sind dann auch vergleichsweise teuer.
Unübersehbar: Der Hang zu dekorativem Chichi, vor allem bei der Aquaristik…

Bei den Sämereien schaue ich nach asiatischen Blumen, aber da ist nichts. Vielleicht weil das alles hier auch so wächst? Das Sortiment – abgesehen von Gartengemüsen – ist nahezu das gleiche wie in westlichen Baumärkten, wennauch schmäler: Sonnenblumen, Cosmeen, Bartnelken, Herbstastern.

Gartengeräte sind ein Kapitel für sich. Zu meinem Erstaunen sind westliche Produktnamen ziemlich präsent. Viel interessanter sind aber die superstabilen Stahlharken, Gartenmesser und -schaufeln, die schwer in der Hand liegen und leider das Koffergewicht um einiges erhöhen würden.
Auch Tee wird verkauft: Zum einen aus silbernen Samowaren, zum anderen auch als Packung: Endlich!

Im Mittelteil der Halle sitzen ein paar junge Hunde (und Katzen) in Käfigen und tun mir Leid. Die Aufseherin versucht einen von ihnen an der Pfote für einen potentiellen Kunden hervorzuziehen und mir scheint, dass das Tier hier nur mehr ein lebendiges Objekt ist.
Überhaupt sind die Hunde, die hier ausgeführt werden, oft mit Frisuren und/oder Kleidung ausstaffiert. Hundefriseur scheint ein einträglicher Berufszweig zu sein. Keine Seltenheit ist es, Hunde in Kinderwägen zu transportieren, warum auch immer.


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Treasure Hill Artist Village im Zhongzheng Distrikt Taipehs liegt nahe am Fluss Fuhe, über dem ein Wirrwarr an fliederfarbenen Flyovers und Zufahrten die Lüfte kreuzt. Dahinter: grüne, in Wolkendunst gehüllte Berge. Auf dem Weg zum Ufer liegen die Gemüsegärten der Dorfbewohner: Etwa 19 Familien teilen sich das Viertel von Treasure Hill mit heimischen und auswärtigen KünstlerInnen.

Während die Einheimischen vorwiegend ihre Nutzgärten pflegen, ist die gesamte Anlage nicht weniger auch geprägt von „Picknickorten“, Wandelgängen und einer Vielzahl versteckter Mikrogärten. Was von den alten Fliesen geblieben ist, mit denen Plätze, Betonwände und Terrassen gekachelt sind, zeigt meist handgemalte Blumenmotive. Die Dächer begrünen sich von allein…, aber einige Dachgärten wurden doch mit Absicht angelegt. Mauern und Wände sind bewachsen mit Farnen, Winden, Moosen und kleinen Steinbrechgewächsen. Auch die Efeutute hat hier ihr Zuhause, ausufernd schlingt sie sich um Büsche und Bäume, Mauern und Zäune und wirkt eindeutig glücklicher als in der deutschen Treppenhaus-Tristesse.

In Töpfen entlang der Treppen stehen Zitronen- und Mandarinenbäume, Hortensien, Wandelröschen, Azaleen und Kamelien. Kohlweißlinge sind unterwegs, weshalb die meisten Kohlköpfe sorgsam unter Flies gehalten werden. Ein Teich, eine Seerose und viele Mücken auf einem Pfad, der bereits hinter das Dorf führt, in einen weitaus ungeordneteren Garten unterhalb der historischen Fassaden der Bunker. Dort finde ich auch ein Exemplar der indigoblau blühenden „Schmetterlingserbse“. Eine Pflanze, deren Name, Clitoria ternatea, quasi selbsterklärend wäre, wenn es sich hier nicht um eine gefüllte Variante handelte.

Eating the blossoms of this plant is said to increase intelligence and beauty…

Nun ein paar Treasure Hill Gartenansichten:

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Open Call Datscha Radio Taipei 2019

Field recordists & composers, morning larks and moles, sound spies and spellers: The Garden is Calling!

Datscha Radio Taipei calls out for local contributors and participants: Nomadic (Garden) Radio – A Quest in Six Movements. 20th Jan – 10th of March 2019.

Datscha Radio will relocate for six weeks to Taipei and is looking for local sound gardeners and radio artists to perform and/or create soundscapes, talks and radio shows on site. Datscha Radio takes ‚the garden’ as a matrix and metaphor for sharing, organic growth and the dissemination of knowledge.

Bring your plants and musical contemplations, come and visit at the top of Treasure Hill and support your local radio garden in Taipei!

Datscha Radio Taipei will broadcast once a week from a garden in Treasure Hill between the 20th of January and the 10th of March. Duration: 2-4 hours – depending on your responses …

What we are looking for

– garden/plant/environmental related compositions and songs
– local musicians and singers
– active gardeners, improvisers and researchers 

How can I participate?

Please send your suggestions, ideas and/or files to: opencall@datscharadio.de from 5th of January to the 10st of March.

You’ll find further information about the project on datscharadio.de. You’ll find there also the latest updates on Datscha Radios Taipei adventures and, of course, the current dates and times of  the envisaged broadcasts.

Formats

– Live presentation and/or talk
– Sound files (mp3 192)

Datscha Radio is a temporary radio station and a garden and radio art project by Gabi Schaffner, Berlin.  Datscha Radio Taipei is supported by the Treasure Hill Artist Village and the Goethe Institut Taipei.

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