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Words on the Street


Woodcut Printing on Fabric


As a part of Residency Solo Exhibition "The Necessity of Occasional Boredom" (2023), this work was created and exhibited in Art Site of Railway Warehouse Hsinchu City.


This work is about the sentences on the street. I collected words which I’ve seen most frequently or impressed me the most from the city of Hsinchu, they are mainly signs or slogans. Some are very all over Taiwan, some are particularly common in Hsinchu. “To Read” is my method to understanding a city. I am always curious about what kinds of messages we can read from the street. Why are they here? What information do they reveal?


I collected six sentences, made them into small woodcut boards and printed on fabric in a way that shows the process of carving.


「建設風起 進步新竹」is the slogan from Hsinchu City Government, you can find it on the wall of every unfinished public construction site. Loosely translation is “The wind of city construction is up, Hsinchu is progressing.”

「請勿停車」means “please don’t park your car here,” it is everywhere in Taiwan but I feel it’s a lot more common here in Hsinchu.

「吳媽媽週轉金」is the small loan advertisement which is pasted on almost every street. Usually using a title in female form, such as “Mrs. Wu.”

「比你想的更便宜」is also part of a small loan advertisement, meaning “the interest is much cheaper than you thought.”

「難得雙面採光」is the slogan of a real-estate advertisement, featuring the room with multiple windows from two side, which is probably rare in Hsinchu real-estate market now.

「在市心 擁學區 仰未來」is another slogan of real-estate advertisement. Loosely translation is “In the centre of city, sitting on the area with good school, looking up at a bright future.”




These texts were transferred from street to my phone, then my laptop, tracing paper, wood block, then printed on a fabric in the end. They became more and more inaccurate during the process of tracing, carving, and printing. Images of the texts were captured with slight distortion due to the angle of camera lens, and me trying to make the woodcuts as similar as the images can only produce texts with same angles as camera, which is far from reality. Furthermore, even if there’s no difficulty identifying the texts, they are no longer having the same look as original. This reminds me of how the image of a city shaped within one’s mind, and it could never be the “truth” of that city.


In my believe, as long as we human are the animal of perception, there will be no “true appearance” in our cognition, everything is the result of observation. Just like my attempt of understanding a city by reading the messages in public spaces, however personal the selection or interpretation of these messages are.