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26 March - 3 April 2015: Shoot The Pianist - The Noise Scene in Taipei 1990-1995

This exhibition revisits the underground noise scenes in Taipei during the first-half of the 1990s. The title, Shoot the Pianist, is taken from a dystopian parable written by the Taiwanese noise band LTK Commune, which depicts how the social system of Taiwan gradually collapses when a number of classical pianists are shot dead and ‘the nation becomes under the control of a bunch of pang-ke (punks)’.

Following the lifting of Martial Law and the Wild Lily Student Movement, the early 1990s in Taiwan saw a critical transition from an authoritarian regime towards an increasingly democratic polity and a neoliberal capitalist society. It was also a period when the underground arts scene around the capital city of Taipei was booming. Utilising emerging alternative art spaces and outdoor festivals as platforms, young artists and cultural workers explored various art forms, ranging from noise performances, junk art, ‘little theatre’, installation, fanzine, underground comics and experimental film, as ways to challenge mainstream culture and what they perceived to be an institutional artworld. Their practices would be described as the ‘underground noise movement’ in later years.

‘Shoot the Pianist- The Noise Scene in Taipei: 1990-1995’ held at the Peltz Gallery will for the first time in the UK, trace the historical development of these local noise scenes with archival materials. These materials include handbills, ‘zines, photographs, moving-images, homemade cassettes and records from alternative spaces Sickly Sweet and Apartment No. 2; the art group, Taiwan Documenta; the noise bands, Z.S.L.O. and LTK Commune; Taipei Broken Life Festival (1994/95) and the first local record label focusing on experimental sound, Noise. These historical documents will be augmented by prolific Taiwanese artists HOU Chun-ming and YAO Jui-chung’s works, which include prints and photography documenting the urban ruins in the early 1990s.

Several related events will be held in conjunction with this exhibition, in both London and Glasgow. The first is a screening held at Birkbeck Cinema, where the films of Taiwanese filmmakers HUANG Ming-chuan and Singing CHEN’s will be screened. These films which document Taiwan’s noise and sound art scenes will be followed by a panel discussion. The second event will be a live sound art performance where Taiwanese sound artists, WANG Fujui, LIN Chiwei and Dino (LIAO Ming-he) will be performing in collaboration with UK-based sound artist, Michael Speers and Kenny Love, at Café OTO in East London. Both the screening and the performance will then tour Glasgow, as a part of the Counterflows Festival 2015 programme.

‘Shoot the Pianist- The Noise Scene in Taipei: 1990-1995’ is curated by YU Wei, as a part of the Taiwan Spotlight Project, presented by both Birkbeck, University of London and the Taipei Representative Office in the UK. The Taiwan Spotlight Project is funded by the Ministry of Culture (Republic of China, Taiwan) and by the generosity of Dr Samuel Yin.

Images taken at the opening night of the exhibition can be viewed on Flickr. All photos taken by Dominic Mifsud.



Tuesday 31th March 2015, 17.00-21.00
Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square
Free entry

1995 Post-Industrial Arts Festival

HUANG Mingchuan│Taiwan│1995│61min

Ears Switched Off and On

Singing CHEN│Taiwan│2009-2011│93min

Followed by a post-screening discussion

Entry to the film screening is free but booking is required. You can book your tickets on Eventbrite.

Sound Performance

Thursday 2nd April 2015, 19.30
Café OTO, 18-22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL
Free entry

WANG Fujui (Taiwan)

Dino (Taiwan)

LIN Chiwei (Taiwan)+ Musarc (UK)

Michael Speers (UK)

Kenny Love (UK)

More information on the sound performance can be found on Cafe Oto website.


Birkbeck, School of Arts
43 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PD

Opening hours

Monday-Friday: 10am-8pm

Saturday: 10am - 5pm (Unless otherwise stated)