Treasure Hill

by on 週一, 30 十一月 2009 評論

Treasure Hill is located on the site of a temple devoted to Guanyin, in Taipei. Over fifty years ago, people started building their own houses, on this land owned by the Ministry of National Defense. Originally it was settled in by war veterans, but developed into a community composed mainly of poor people, migrant workers and others who couldn’t afford the steep prices in the area. Thus the inhabitants were generally a marginalised and voiceless community. In 2004, the government declared that it was going to raze the buildings in the pursuit of urban development. Students and teachers of several National Taiwan University departments along with the NGO ’OURS’ and many ’Artivists’ acted to try and save the residences. The academics and artivists attempted to support the cause, and give voice to the voiceless by putting it in a context that would be more likely to achieve government support. 

Zijie, who studies at NTU’s Social Work department was amongst those who joined the experiment. Zijie and a small group were given a place that local photographer, Li Guomin (李國民), had been fixing up, to base themselves and live from for the following six months. Many artivists resided at Treasure Hill for short periods of time, few lived for long spells of time. For Taiwan it was an experimental, but historical cooperation between art and activism. For some of those involved, it was a cultural space that had art potential, others were more concerned about the residents property rights. Their actions had both successes and failures, but finally in 2006, the government took the decision to go ahead in evicting residents and taking down buildings. When renovation is completed this year a small proportion of the residents have been promised they will be allowed back.

Yang Zijie, Li Guomin and another reknowned artist Wu Zhongwei (吳中煒), were among three people accused and sued by the government.

Two years after, the artivists and residents were evicted, Zijie reflects on the movement to maintain Treasure Hill. With hindsight, He discusses the pitfalls and difficulties involved in understanding the needs of those one is trying to help when socially engaging and which aspects he feels could have been handled better.

Introduction by Nick Coulson


Zijie Yang (楊子頡)






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