Joshua Sofaer is Visiting Specialist in the Department of Chinese Literature at National Cheng Kong University, Tainan, Taiwan from February to May 2021.
My research while here at National Cheng Kong University is two-fold: the first is to write up a long-standing collaboration with Mikko Sams, Professor of Neuroscience and Einat Amir, Doctoral Researcher, Experience Platform, both at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. We have been thinking about what is happening in the brain when we encounter literature and narrative art, commonly (but we think mistakenly) articulated as ‘suspension of disbelief’. I will be sharing some of this research with the MA at NCKU while working towards publication. The second is to unpack the use of relational dynamics coaching methodologies in works that I have been making over the last decade (most recently as part of Your Future Now – 未來相談室 – produced by Prototype Paradise for CLAB in Taipei earlier this year). I will also be working alongside Professor Chin Jia-Iuan in the development of a performative response to forthcoming exhibitions at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature.
The photographs that illustrate this post are of the Chinese Literature Department building, designed by pioneer of modernist architecture in Taiwan, Wang Da-Hong (王大閎 1917-2018). The building, which was completed in 1984, is rigorously modernist in its use of materials and their application but nevertheless based on the principles of the Chinese garden and siheyuan, in which dwellings are built around a courtyard. The department has two courtyard gardens and a series of openings and windows which give way to vistas across the campus. The effect is somehow timeless. It is a pleasure to work in this special place.