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Blacksmith Project


Chia-Wen Huang, Li-An Liao

Metal, multi-channel sound & video, text documents

Xingcheng Street, also called ‘Blacksmith Street’ is an area that rarely been recorded in the history of Taipei. It used to be lined with blacksmith factories because of its close proximity to Dadaocheng and Shuang-lien train station. Between 1970 to 1990, Taiwan was an important transportation hub for ship demolition industry, which fostered the rise of many important industries in Taiwan. Ships were broken down and all the iron components, large and small, were repurposed by the blacksmiths, who forged the iron into replacement parts for imported machines. Starting from Xingcheng Street, all the way down to the Taipei rear station was all called the ‘Blacksmith Street’, including more than 200 metal factories during that time. The blacksmith industry or metal-related industries took on a significant role during this stage of great economic growth in Taiwan, but like many traditional industries, people rarely take note of its history and ignore the importance of it. Along with the declining of ship demolition industry, environmental issues and improvement of technology, more and more metal work factories moving out to the suburb and narrows the area of ‘Blacksmith Street’. The history of this once prosperous street, located in the city center, has been obscured by the hustle-bustle of Taipei. Blacksmith street is the only street still existing as an agglomeration of the blacksmith and metal industries, suspended in time, waiting to be transformed by urban renewal at any moment. The rise and fall of Blacksmith Street is along with the history of Taiwan, and it’s also a typical phenomenon of how traditional industries and old areas of one city are influenced by political and economical environment. Blacksmith Project is a long-term project from 2019. Video and text documents exhibited in Sensefield include the excerpts of work-in-progress exhibitions from 2019 to 2022, and part of field surveys and documentations. The creative team of Blacksmith Project continue exploring how the history, space, labor experiences and body memories could be documented and transformed into another existence through sound, video, lights and metal materials, and experimenting with the possibility of connecting the past and the future at present. Artist: Yenting Hsu Co-creators: Chia-Wen Huang, Li-An Liao Videographer: Tsung-Ting Feng Special thanks to Taipei Artist Village, Open Contemporary Art Center, Project Seek, VM Studio, Chih-Hung Hsu, Yung-Ming Liu, Luen-Hui Yeh and all the factories and blacksmiths from Xincheng street.

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