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[News Release] Walking into Tainan’s Past and Present Unfolds a Rich Tapestry of the City’s History

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The first travel guidebook of Tainan equipped with a mobile application will be available on January 31. In continuation of the Walking into the Past and Present series—which now comprises Taipei (2016) and Taichung (2018)—Tainan is going to extend the line of GIS inquiry into Taiwan's fascinating urban history. This is made possible by the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures's collaboration with the Center for GIS, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Academia Sinica, Tainan studies scholars, and the city's local residents.

 

Walking into the Past and Present of Tainan is a collection of 23 essays illustrated by 246 vintage photographs and 13 historic maps from the Qing dynasty to the post-war era, in an attempt to bring the city's past back to life. To have the city's street view from different periods juxtaposed on the screen, it suffices to scan the QR code attached to each vintage photograph connected to the guidebook's app.

 

A city steeped in history and tumultuous struggle for power, Tainan celebrates a rich complex of cultural fabrics. We are pleased to have 23 authors specialized in Tainan studies, among whom are Hsieh Kuo-hsing, research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica and Zheng Dao-cong, board director of the Tainan Association of Culture, to tell stories about the city’s evolving geography, history, and material culture in laymen's language. Hard-core history subjects are inevitable, including the urban planning during the Japanese rule, sugar plantation, salt production, the Siraya culture and its modern revival, and the hidden sadness behind the bawdy pleasure houses.

 

The maps cited by this book are created from 1874 to 1976, mostly provided from the Center for GIS at Academia Sinica. The 1874 Street Map of the Capital of Taiwan is the earliest urban map produced on an accurate scale. It was drawn by students enrolled at the Navy Academy of Fujian and brought by Shen Bao-zhen to Taiwan. The name of the streets and locations of the city gates are all clearly marked on the map. Provided as a gift from the National Institute for Defense Studies of Japan, the 1940 Plan of Tainan Airport delineates the layout of the city's colonial airport, standing as a compelling piece for aficionados of aviation history.

 

Among the 392 photographs contained in this book, 246 of them vintage pictures provided by the Archive of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica; National Taiwan University Library; National Taiwan Library; local institutions in Tainan, and private collection. You get to see in order to obtain the subsidy from its mother company in the US, how Air Asia Company Ltd. put on the poverty on show by yoking its planes with cattle after the break of US-R.O.C. diplomatic relationship in 1971. We are also lucky to have Huang Jien-long, former project manager at Salt Glory Cultural and Educational Foundation, who generously provided a picture of sugar factory trains carrying chunks of salt in support of the logistics of the state-owned salt enterprise.

 

Wedded to a mobile app and a select of historic maps and vintage photographs, the 23 essays engage the reader in an enchanting search for the city's cultural memory through traces that linger in the modern buzz.

 

The Walking into the Past and Present series, comments Lin Fu-shih, director of the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures, breaks through dimensions of space and time in conjoining what historical material and digital technology have to offer, thus opening up a new avenue to the writing of cities and travel. In fact, the mobile app for "Tainan Historical Maps" has already been launched in 2015 as the prototype of the present duo of book and app, which are destined to build up the previous production and progress.

 

Founded in 2013, Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures continues the legacy of cyberinfrastructure launched in the 1980s and is now dedicated to interpreting the heritage creatively in ways that galvanize research, teaching, and learning.

 

Walking into Tainan's Past and Present is now available for online pre-order and will be on sale since January 31, 2019. You may also find the book at the 2019 Taipei International Book Exhibition.

 

To stay in the know, please visit the Facebook page of the editorial board of Creative Comic Collection (CCC).

 

 

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