SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

The Characteristics of the Art of the Sunflower Movement

Brian Hioe (丘琦欣)

Date: 18 June 2019Time: 3:30 PM

Finishes: 18 June 2019Time: 5:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Summer School

As this event is part of our SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend

New Bloom Front


Among Taiwanese political movements in past years, more than any other movement, the Sunflower Movement stands out as one characterized by visual spectacle. This was not only because the movement was simply the largest occupation-style social movement to have occurred in Taiwan in decades, but also because of the constant coverage of the movement in the media, and the many number of artworks that populated the space inside the Legislative Yuan occupation and in the occupation encampment that grew to surround the Legislative Yuan.


What role did visual spectacle play in the movement, in this sense? For example, the role artworks in the occupation were not merely decorative, but these served as significant means by which political, discursive or even tactical ideas about the movement were communicated in the course of the occupation. Likewise, such artworks served to establish a visual language for the movement that not only made it highly recognizable in the eyes of the media and the public, but served to demarcate the occupation space as autonomous and undergirded by a different set of political and power dynamics from the spaces of the everyday. At the same time, political criticisms of the movement, both from opponents of the movement and within the movement itself, came to often be articulated in the view that the movement itself had become characterized by visual spectacle and excess more than anything else. 

Speaker Biography

Brian Hioe Profile

Brian Hioe was one of the founding editors of New Bloom. He is a freelance writer on social movements and politics, and occasional translator. A New York native and Taiwanese-American, he has an MA in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and graduated from New York University with majors in History, East Asian Studies, and English Literature. He was Democracy and Human Rights Service Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy from 2017 to 2018.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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