Audience gathering in front of the main stage of the exhibit site of "Ultra Taiwan." Non-stop online live stream was to cover the two-day event, attracting over 40,000 viewers.Chiotian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe on the stage with Ely, a popular cosplay figure, to perform sets of religious dance originating from Taiwanese folk worship.Japanese audience queuing for the ultra VR experience of urban motorbike rides.
The 2019 NICONICO Summit, a major cyber-culture event in Japan, opened on April 27. The Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures presented an exhibit titled "Ultra Taiwan" at the summit with partners including the Ministry of Culture and Acer Group to bring immersive experiences inspired by Taiwanese folk belief and urban life to the Japanese audience for the first time.
Catering for the Japanese public’s interest in Taiwan, "Ultra Taiwan" features "100% Taiwanese" experience combining manga stories from the Creative Comic Collection and digital technology. The Ultra Motorbike thrusted the visitor in the middle of what is known as the "motorbike cascade" typical of rush hours in Taipei. The Ultra Temple Festival reinvented folk music and dance performed in honor of the deity in Taiwanese folk beliefs. Special events included live performance and talk show joined by VTubers and various guests.
Founded in 2012, the NICONICO Summit is organized by NICONICO, a Japanese video sharing service online. The event focuses on recreating the virtual in physical reality based on its large viewer body and fandom, and the edition last year has attracted 160,000 visitors and 6 million viewers online. The 2-day operation of "Ultra Taiwan" this year was also covered by non-stop live webcast.
The debut of the Ultra Motorbike and the Ultra Temple Festival had previously took place at the 2019 Taipei International Book Exhibition this February. The April version in Japan upgraded aspects of the exhibit in order to impress. The Ultra Motorbike was based on Love at the Scooter Cascade by Li Lung-chieh, winner of the Silver Award of the 9th Japan International Manga Award issued by the Foreign Ministry of Japan. The work explores the history of motorbike in Taiwan and its omnipresence in the island’s contemporary life, exemplified by riders zipping through the streets in big cities. The Ultra Motorbike thus depicts the "cascade," the nickname for the droves of motorbikes that cross Taipei Bridge every day. It uses the Acer OJO 500 headset, combined with a real motorbike and environmental effects, to turn the viewer into one of the riders in the flowing motorbike cascade.
The Ultra Temple Festival recreates the religious procession in celebration of the Chinese god of war Guan Yu's birthday in Dashi, Taoyuan, as is foregrounded in a manga titled Summer Temple Fair. This section is accompanied by the musical remix of beiguan provided by Shengxiang Troupe to create a unique dance platform equipped with motion sensors. On the platform, the visitor may put on the traditional costume and follow the steps of the priest to have a taste of the street performance of folk religions.
The Ultra Temple Festival builds on elements of Taiwanese folk culture by reinterpreting the procession of ceremonial heralds and Nezha with electronic music. Among the performers were Chiotian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe and Ely, a popular cosplay figure. The sights and sounds fuse the folk tradition and subculture by marrying traditional face paint, costume, and stylized movement with AR equipment. The audience was amazed with the effect delivered by the enchanting experience.
Two Taiwanese VTubers, Hoonie and KON (on behalf of Hoonie friends and K'WA), were also present at the exhibition to talk about the cultural differences between Taiwan and Japan. Topics included the deceptive similarity between Taiwanese and Japanese script characters, the Japanese tourists’ predilection for praying at the matchmaking god, and why bubble tea has become all the rage in Japan and so on. These CGI characters acted as cultural ambassadors interacting with the audience at the talk show.
Another mission of "Ultra Taiwan" was to introduce Taiwanese creative work to Japan. It showcased and sold (among other publication and souvenirs) copies of the Japanese version of Walking into Taipei's Past and Present published by Hobby JAPAN licensed by the ASCDC. The Japanese copyright of the Creative Comic Collection was among the publications looking forward to prospective deals.
The NICONICO Summit is a massive melting pot of Japanese cyber-culture where creative talents and cutting-edge technologies receive extensive attention. "Ultra Taiwan" instigated an exchange of soft power between Taiwan and Japan by making use of Taiwan's cultural heritage and media apparatus to reinvent the country’s religious practice and material culture.
"Ultra Taiwan" at the 2019 NICONICO Summit
Dates: April 27-28, 2019
Location: Makuhari Messe, 2-1, Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, 261-8550, Japan
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 on Saturday April 27 & 10:00-17:00 on Sunday April 28
Supervised by: Academia Sinica, Ministry of Culture
Organized by: Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures
Co-organized by: Acer Group, Yahoo TV, Maokong Tonghaohui, Digital Catapult Inc.
Partner: Gaea Books Co.
Performing guests: Chiotian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe, Ely, Hoonie friends, K’ WA
Official website: http://creative-comic.tw/event/chotaiwan/
CCC Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeComicCollection/
Watch the live stream here
Saturday April 27: https://live.nicovideo.jp/gate/lv319356246
Sunday April 28: https://live.nicovideo.jp/gate/lv319356428