Lightpaths: Contemporary Photomedia in Taiwan

Hugh Hudson

Produced in December 2020January 2021, Lightpaths: Contemporary Photomedia in Taiwan was a video project filmed at Taipei National University of the Arts and Lightbox, feauturing artists Yu Tzu-Chin, Su Misu, Wang Hsiang-Lin, and Mong-jane Wu. The series reflects on their educational experiences, early exhibitions, and current approaches to taking on commissions and developing independent projects, while working across art and documentary practices locally and internationally.

The project was facilitated by Taipei’s Graduate Institute of Art History at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and funded by the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education SPROUT program. For the pilot project, Beginnings, we produced six videos focusing on issues of resilience and sustainability: two short profiles mentioned the key centres for developing photomedia education and culture in Taiwan, with longer interviews featuring four Taiwanese artists who discussed their early careers.

In these videos, we hear from the following artists:

Yu Tzu-Chin, is a commercial architectural photographer and NTNU graduate,  who specialises in documenting large-scale, high-concept projects. He also develops his own independent work exploring traditional Asian cultural expressions in contemporary contexts and media. 

Su Misu is a multimedia artist known especially for her photographic work staging representations of gender and sexuality. These images raise issues about the boundaries between private and public displays of nudity and eroticism—conventions in Taiwan, Japan, and elsewhere in East Asia that depict eroticised representations of women in graphic media, despite photographic images of nudity being rarely seen in public.

Wang Hsiang-Lin is a multimedia artist, concerned with how we experience images in social-media-saturated cultures. Incorporating digital graphics, sound, projections, and 3D installation, her multi-layered work examines the cascading interfaces between technologically produced representations of place, and embodied experience.

Mong-jane Wu draws on architectural history and theory to interpolate photographic images in witty encounters between private and public urban spaces. She also records and kaleidoscopically reconfigures the ornamental forms in contemporary Taiwanese urban architecture, creating hybrid, graphically-embedded, photographic vignettes as a result.

Lightpaths  comes at a time when photomedia art is reaching a critical threshold of recognition in Taiwan, with an early graduate from Taipei National University of the Arts (then The National Institute of the Arts), Associate Professor Yao Jui-Chung, having gained international recognition with his photography. Su Hui-Yu, a recent graduate, is also achieving international success with his video work. 

Our project adds impetus to the well-established teaching and learning in NTNU’s photomedia courses. History and theories of photography have long been a feature of the Western Art History program of the Institute. Within  the Department of Fine Arts, Associate Professor Yao Jui-Chung’s practice-led courses have contributed to his enormously successful Mirage: Disused Public Property project.1 Starting in late 2021, there will be a new course at the Institute: ‘Theoretical and Critical Studies of Contemporary Photomedia in the Asia-Pacific.’ So, what the artists in the Lightpaths videos say about education and its contribution to creative practice and critical discourse in Taiwan, has already begun to inform curriculum development.

Editor's Note: The essay is authored by Hugh Hudson in July 2021 as an accompaniment to the Lightpaths: Contemporary Photomedia in Taiwan video series, featuring interviews with artists in the project. 


Supported by funding from the Ministry of Education, Higher Education SPROUT program. Produced and directed by Assistant Professor Hugh Hudson, assisted by Joven Chen, and interns Yu Tsai-Hsuan, Yeh Ssu-Yu, Chen Li-Jen, Huang Mu-Ning, and Kelli Wang, of the Graduate Institute of Art History, College of Arts, National Taiwan Normal University, in Taipei. Filmed by ZBTS Film Studio. With thanks to Huang Ming-Chuan, Taipei National University of the Arts, Tsao Liang-Pin from Lightbox in Taipei, Yu Tzu-Chin, Su Misu, Chi-Wen Gallery in Taipei, Wang Hsiang-Lin, Mong-jane Wu, Dr Allison Holland from the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, and Dr Drew Pettifer from RMIT University in Melbourne.


1. The project was documented in Yao Jui-Chung and Lost Society Document, Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan 6 vols (Taipei: Garden City Publishing, 2010–2018).