A Room of Michelle Chen

A Room of Michelle Chen curatorial research exhibition was held from 6 October to 4 November 2023 at TheCube 7F. This exhibition focuses on Taiwanese women aged 60-70 today and how their unique characteristics have been shaped by the political and economic conditions in Taiwan during their upbringing. It explored the relationship between individuals and the community/society.

It was also an experimental curatorial project conducted by the curator Miss Bench and the novelist Brian Po-lun Kao. They worked together on curatorial research and jointly constructed the character “Michelle Chen”. The research process was divided into two narrative threads: reality and fiction. The curator was responsible for collecting real-life experiences by interviewing eight women with different educational backgrounds and occupational statuses, and then used montage to create the story of “Michelle Chen.” Brian Kao, on the other hand, wrote a fictional novel text titled Black Sparrow with “Michelle Chen” as the protagonist, which would later be used as curatorial discourse.

This theme podcast is divided into two episodes.

Episode 1:

This episode of the podcast is a collection of field interviews and recordings conducted by the curator, Miss Bench. She interviewed eight women aged 60 to 70 from different family backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and marital statuses. She then constructed the seemingly singular subject of “Michelle Chen” by piecing together these experiences via montage.

This episode of the podcast lasts approximately one hour, where “Michelle Chen” narrates her life, from her childhood in her family, her education, entering the workforce, getting married, to her memories of old age.

Special thanks to the following eight confident women who generously shared their life experiences without fear:

Wang Xiu-Hui, Lin A-You, Lady Tree, Wu Mali, Kuo Mei-shu, Michelle Ko, Judy Huang, Jenny Jou Ko.

Episode 2:

This episode of the podcast is a fictional novel titled Black Sparrow written by Brian Po-Lun Kao, featuring “Michelle Chen” as the protagonist.

On 10 October 2023, we invited ten women ranging in age from 28 to 65 to participate in a reading workshop. In the first half of this episode, they will take turns reading excerpts from the novel Black Sparrow, and in the second half, they will engage in an extended discussion of the text. Topics covered include: food and maternal memories, McDonald’s and the American Dream, “Everybody Happy” and the period of winning lottery tickets, the absence of women as narrators and “female books,” female sex workers and the abolition of the public prostitution system, and the issue of euthanasia related to Wang Xiaomin.

00:00-16:41 Reading of Black Sparrow
16:41-01:16:05 Extended discussion of the text