At the annual digital mastering release and the screening of Raining in the Mountain, Taiwan Film Institute (TFI) and Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures (ASCDC) unveiled their new co-conducted project: Taiwan Film Open Museum.
Taiwan Film Open Museum hosts a panoply of Taiwanese feature films and cinema data by deploying the online platform constructed by ASCDC. Titled "The First Golden Age of Taiwan Cinema: Taiwanese-Language Films," the first exhibit cohort focuses on Taiwanese-language films created from 1955 to 1964.
Definition: Taiwanese-language film designates the Fukienese-dialect-speaking cinematic works created in Taiwan from 1955 to 1981. After the 1980s regulations of linguistic categorization was dropped, so people no longer draw a clear distinction between Mandarin-speaking and Taiwanese-speaking films. Though Taiwanese can still be heard in contemporary feature films, Taiwanese-language films sensu stricto refers to over a thousand of films produced during the period of 26 years. However, the legacy of Taiwanese-language cinematography is a fragile and fragmentary one—only 167 feature films remain in a relatively good shape with varying degrees of damage in soundtrack and tape. One of the missions of Taiwan Film Institute is to support repair and research into the national cinematic heritage by continuous works in video repair and archival documentation including digitization and interviews.
The first exhibit cohort of Taiwan Film Open Museum contains 479 data in Taiwanese-language films, including 38 trailers free for online screening, posters, newspaper advertisement, photographs, and brochures. Aside from material productions, the cohort also features artistic figures. The year 2017 was the 20th anniversary of the death of Lin Tuan-chiu, an important Taiwanese playwright and director; the anniversary thus occasions a homage paid to Lin in which over 300 photographs and 50 manuscripts see the light of day. The future exhibit will display relevant scholarship of the literature.
This cohort bespeaks the first golden age of Taiwan film history by capturing the multifarious splendor of Taiwanese-language film making. What is noteworthy with the digitally generated exhibit is that the storyteller offered by the curatorial tools of the Open Museum brings you back to 26 significant events of the period such that the audience can get a historically informed picture in full.
The massive digital archive possessed by TFI is a perfect match with the curatorial apparatus provided by the Open Museum. The latter's spatial-temporal presentation and storytelling tools breathe new life into the cinema archive whose epistemological root—evoking kinein—registers movement.
Taiwan Film Open Museum will keep growing, as archives dated after 1965 will soon join the exhibit cohort. In concurrence with the spirit of open access of the Open Museum, TFI consents to release its archives as non-commercial creative commons; this means that users abiding by the terms and conditions of the Open Museum may freely access to and make use of the precious collection.
The CC licenses enhances the visibility and usability of cultural heritage, thereby making more people aware of the presence and significance of the heritage previously guarded in obscurity. In the belief that open access stimulates dynamic and creative encounters, the Open Museum will keep up its work to enrich education, scholarship, and lifelong learning.