Unaccounted Travelogue

2022 / 05 / 10 Tue.

2022 / 07 / 31 Sun.

10:00 - 18:00

  • Curator

    Chung Shefong

  • Co-curators

    1F/ Not Here For Fun
    Liao Yunchan
    Chang Cheng

    1F-2F/ True Love Can Wait Forever
    Gridthiya Gaweewong
    Thanom Chapakdee
    Arthit Mulsarn

  • Aritsts

    Seen Song Ton
    Manifesto Agenda Summit Collective
    Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore
    Trees Music & Art
    Your Bros. Filmmaking Group (So Yo Hen, Liao Hsiu Hui and Tien Zong Yuan)
    Ting Tong Chang
    DJ Hatfield
    Adisak Phupa
    Apichatpong Weerasethakul


I Shall Sing for You: Unofficial Travel between Taiwan and Thailand in Unaccounted Travelogue

By Chung Shefong

Unaccounted Travelogue does not belong to the lyrical genre of travel literature, nor does it include romantic scenes of leisure excursions. Instead, through two interweaving and inter-successive tracks, the exhibition gathers faint and unheard voices at the periphery which have been long drown out by mainstream narratives.

The first track, titled Not Here For Fun, comprises first-person accounts by Southeast Asian migrants, who express their opinions as laborers, struggles for livelihood, feelings and emotions, as well as observations of the Taiwan society through writings, letters, artistic creations, exhibitions, and performances.

The exhibition is constituted of three gallery rooms, each showing the documentation of migrants’ life in great abundance. These include letters and drawings from the contributors of Southeast Asian migrant workers; laboring scenes and thoughts of migrant workers in the singing show, “Singing in Taiwan”; migrants’ writings from the “Literature Award for Migrants” about moments of their life and their scarce leisure hours apart from the relentless cycle of labor; and cultural initiatives that encourage and advocate migrants’ right to read, i.e., “Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore” and “The Library on the Floor,” the latter of which takes place in the Taipei Main Station lobby.

Through the representation of manuscripts and documents, laboring life, and reading spaces, the exhibition epitomizes the chronicle of labor composed by Southeast Asian migrants in Taiwan over the course of past three decades, which enable the audience to re-perceive Taiwan through the migrants’ eyes as well.

The second track, True Love Can Wait Forever, consisted of resonances between labor songs and social politics. Using northeastern Thai folk music known as “Molam” and Taiwanese indigenous “Linban songs” (literally, “songs of forest compartments”), the exhibition unveils narratives woven with labor migration and the politics of songs.

Eleven artists/art groups from Taiwan and Thailand illustrate a unique period in time through songs and music, and employs historical archives, records and recordings, representation of space, as well as soundscape and video installation to portray labor forms and lifestyle of minority communities informed by policies of national development. Against a historical background shared by Taiwan and Thailand, the Molam music and Linban songs expose how songs have been used for political mobilization amidst ideological confrontations during the Cold War period, while documenting laborers’ struggle for survival in urban peripheries, as well as the loss of roots and voices throughout the process of constructing national identity.

The forestry labor force of “linban” (compartment teams) formed by Taiwanese indigenous people since the period of Japanese period shaped the archetype of indigenous people’s contemporary labor songs, which is known as “Linban songs”. The collective laboring lifestyle that brought indigenous laborers from one village to another infused the characteristics of hybridized melodies and languages, together with an element of improvisation, into this genre of singing music. Consequently, their labor songs have served as a form of sketch that documents Taiwanese indigenous people’s endless “wandering” and their self-image refracted by the mainstream society against a backdrop informed by socio-political vicissitudes. Folk songs with its documentary function are also a type of archives, which record the history of indigenous rights movements as well as their ongoing fight for the land since the 1980s.

From 1994 to 2000, the annual number of Thai migrants in Taiwan’s industrial sector exceeded hundreds of thousands of people. Among all Thai migrants in Taiwan, those from Isan in northeastern Thailand made up the largest part. Due to the infertile soil and uneven rainfall in the region of Khorat Plateau in northeastern Thailand, plus an imbalance of regional developments, there existed a great regional economic disparity between the northeastern part of Thailand and the rest of the country. In the 1960s, poverty forced the Isan people to start migrating to large cities in Thailand or overseas, where they were able to find manual works with low wages. Contemporary Molam songs have recorded the diasporic experiences and homesickness of the Isan people over the decades, along with their identity as a marginal community as “the northeastern people” and their politico-cultural separation from Bangkok, the center of power in the country.

Language is the dwelling place for those on the journey of wandering, and songs are the nourishments for sustaining life and vitality. The singing of Linban songs and Molam songs is interlaced with the diasporic stories of the rootless, who travel in the world to make a living. Under the scorching sun and on scaffolding, laborers pass nails and hammers from one to another while continuing the same fate. Facing the inexhaustible mental and physical fatigue, long separations and seemingly longer waits, the only obtainable form of freedom is the singing of Molam songs and Linban songs in A minor chord that express one’s inner feelings in mother tongue.

<Not Here for Fun>
Co-Curators: Liao Yunchan and Chang Cheng

In 1989, the Cold War ended; the Berlin Wall came down; the communist regimes in Eastern Europe fell and the Soviet Union dissolved; and the Tiananmen Square incident broke out in China. It was also the year when migrant workers were introduced in Taiwan. Since then, regardless of where they have come from and what kind of work they do, foreign laborers are commonly all referred to as “wài láo”1 in Taiwan.

Taiwan‘s Legislative Yuan passed the “Employment Service Act” in 1992, which allows private companies to legally hire migrant workers. Taiwan has since seen an influx of Southeast Asian migrant workers, who are defined as “supplementary labor force”. The number of migrant workers has continued to increase and reached 700,000 people in 2022.

In 2006, the late Lucie Cheng, a professor of sociology at UCLA and Shih Hsin University‘s dean of College of Journalism and Communications, supported Chang Cheng and Liao Yunchan in founding the 4-Way Voice (Sifang pao), the first newspaper founded by Taiwanese in the native languages of Southeast Asian workers and immigrants. The paper became an important source of information circulated amongst these foreigners, and its bilingual layout also made it an outlet for Taiwanese people to gain insights into the lives of migrant workers and immigrants.

Dozens of letters and artworks were sent to the 4-Way Voice on a daily basis, and extending from the foundation set by the newspaper, a Southeast Asian singing program, “Singing in Taiwan”, was later developed, along with the “Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants” which only accepts works written in Southeast Asian languages; “Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore” aimed at highlighting migrant workers‘ right to read; and also the “Library on the Floor” organized at the Taipei Main Station. These endeavors came together to spark a social action, with the marginalized taking on an autonomous and collective voice.

The artworks resulted from the aforementioned action are down-to-earth and sincere. They are records of contemporary migrant workers‘ pre-social media observations on the Taiwanese society, their opinions on labor, emotions for their families overseas, and their mental and everyday struggles. With the limited tools they have on hand, they seek to express themselves and would like to let the people of Taiwan know that: I am here, and I have a mind of my own.

Presented in this exhibition are the thoughts of these “wài láo”.

1 “Wài láo” is the Pinyin pronunciation/transliteration of 外勞 , which is an abbreviation for 外籍勞工(wài jí láo gong), or “foreign laborer”.

<True Love Can Wait Forever>
Co-Curators: Gridthiya Gaweewong, Thanom Chapakdee and Arthit Mulsarn

True Love Can Wait Forever is a soundtrack consisting of songs of labor and socio-political resonance. Built on a foundation comprised of Molam (หมอลำ), a type of folk music found in the Northeastern region of Thailand, and Linban songs (林班歌, which literally means “logging squad‘s song” in Mandarin), a pan-indigenous music genre found in Taiwan, it presents a narrative axis that interweaves labor migration with songs and politics.




Curator| Chung Shefong
Co-Curator| Liao Yunchan
Co-Curator| Chang Cheng
Co-Curator| Gridthiya Gaweewong
Co-Curator| Thanom Chapakdee
Co-Curator| Arthit Mulsarn

Music producer, curator, filmmaker and scholar Chung Shefong is the founder of Trees Music & Art, a music label devoted to local and global folk music founded in 1993. Through Trees, one of Taiwan's longest-running independent labels, Chung has overseen a wide breadth of critically acclaimed projects that span music performance, recording production, theater and film.

Her notable projects include the Migration Music Festival, a former annual event in Taiwan that launched in 2001, and was devoted to featuring performances of roots music and contemporary sounds from around the globe. The festival was also widely heralded for its focus on the cultural and societal issues of the day. In 2011, she produced and directed From Border to Border, the first-ever documentary film on Chinese immigrants in Kolkata, India, which earned multiple nominations in 2014 from the Taipei Film Festival and Taiwan International Documentary Festival, as well as the Grand Prize at the Women Make Waves International Film Festival. As curator, Chung oversaw the Taiwanese indigenous music program at Norway's Riddu Riđđu Festival in 2016, planned and produced the Southeast Asia Indie Film Forum—One Film, One Journey since 2017, served as music programming consultant for Cambodia's REPfest in 2019, and was a part of a curation team for the Mekong Cultural Hub project in 2021.

Chung is currently an associate professor of National Chengchi University's College of Communication, and serves as a visiting professor at Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice, Chulalongkorn University.

Liao Yunchan is a Taiwanese who is quite fond of Southeast Asian cultures. She is the current chief editor of the “Opinion”, a sub-channel of the CommonWealth Magazine. Liao had previously served as deputy editor-in-chief of Taiwan Lih-Pao Daily; assisted Lucie Cheng with the founding of 4-Way Voice; launched the “Hometown Grandma Project”; and founded the “Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants”, “Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore”, and “Library on the Floor” at the Taipei Main Station. She also initiated the movement of “bringing back to Taiwan a book that you are unable to read”, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she launched the project, “Finding the Missing Second Mother”. She is the author of the book, Sài Gòn, Xin Chào, published in Traditional Chinese.

Chang Cheng, whose native language is Mandarin Chinese, had previously worked as station director of Radio Taiwan International; editor-in-chief of 4-Way Voice, deputy editor-in-chief of Taiwan Lih-Pao Daily; a member of the Ministry of Culture‘s Southeast Asia Advisory Committee; host of radio programs with Southeast Asian focus for the Broadcasting Corporation of China and the Voice of Han Broadcasting Network; and secretary-general of the Dream Together Charity Association. Chang is also the co-founder of the “Hometown Grandma Project”; the television program, “Singing in Taiwan”; and “Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore”. He is the author of the book, Something Happened at Grandma’s House: Southeast Asian Credits Required for Taiwanese, published in Traditional Chinese.

Gridthiya Gaweewong co-founded Project 304, an independent space in Bangkok, in 1996. Gridthiya has co-curated on international projects including Under Construction at Tokyo Opera City Gallery and Japan Foundation, Forum Japan (2003); Politics of Fun, an exhibition of artists from Southeast Asia. She has worked with Ong Keng Sen at Haus Der Culture der Welt, Berlin (2005) and with David Teh on Unreal Asia at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2010). She also curated The Serenity of Madness, works by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiangmai, Hong Kong, Manila, Chicago, Oklahoma City and Taipei (2016-2019). She served on the curatorial team of the 12th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2018). Her latest exhibition was a series entitled Errata: Collecting Entanglements and Embodied Histories at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiangmai, Thailand. Gridthiya lives and works in Chiangmai and Bangkok, and is the artistic director of the Jim Thompson Art Center.

Thanom Chapakdee, an art critic who has been writing for three decades, is renowned for his forthright views expressed in reviews in the Nation Weekend Magazine and other magazines in Thailand. He is a co-founder of the Bangkok performance art group, U-Kabat (Bonfire, 1995). As an art activist, Chapakdee ran the project “Let‘s Visit Artist Home” (2002) and co-organized the performance art festival “ASIATOPIA” in Thailand. In 2005, he organized a community art and participatory art project at Tha-Long village, Ubon-Rachathani, in collaboration with the Bru ethnic group. He is the curator of photographs about the Bru, which exhibited at Baan Bar (2009) in Bangkok. He also worked as artistic director and organizer for Khon Kaen Manifesto 2018, an alternative art festival in the city of Khon Kaen in Northeast Thailand. He helped develop Khon Kaen into the art collective ―Manifesto Agenda Summit‖ to carry on the spirit and aesthetics of resistance using artistic and cultural approaches of marginalized communities.

Arthit Mulsarn is a curator, researcher and founder and owner of a food stall serving Larbseab, spicy barbeque native to Isan. His menu is inspired by his culinary interest and his place of origin, Yasothon. Beyond Isan food, Mulsarn's work is devoted to Isan pop culture, art, design and music. He has presented academic research about Molam artistry at the Australian National University in Canberra, and a paper entitled No More Dirty Joke…Yes! We Are Buddhist at the 12th Thai Studies World Conference at the University of Sydney, Australia. His curatorial work includes a guest role at the exhibition Joyful Khaen, Joyful Dance, and he served as researcher for a team involved in the establishing the Molam Museum at the Jim Thompson Art Center. In 2015, he co-founded the Molam Bus Project and is the main curator of the Molam Bus exhibition in collaboration with the Jim Thompson Art Center.


Seen Song Ton
Manifesto Agenda Summit Collective
Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore
Trees Music & Art
Your Bros. Filmmaking Group (So Yo Hen, Liao Hsiu Hui and Tien Zong Yuan)
Ting Tong Chang
DJ Hatfield
Adisak Phupa
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Seen Song Ton Studio was founded by Molam Bank (by name of Patiphan Luecha, also known as Patiwat Saraiyam) with his 4 close musician friends, Krittaphop Sommitr (Khaen, Pin), Sarayuth Kotthum (Khaen, Drum), Tongsri Panbubpha (Molam, acting as female), and Veerachai Srisaeng (Molam). This studio is an adapted courtyard in Molam Bank‘s rented row house, and they live-stream the performance on Facebook and YouTube with the name ซิ้น 2 ต่อน(SEEN2TON brand), in every weekend evening.

Seen Song Ton is a dialect in Isan which refers to Soulmate and directly translates as Nueakoo or Doublemeat. Originally, Seen Song Ton was a live-streaming platform for selling and promoting beef jerky, and for presenting molam performances. Unfortunately, the beef jerky business failed due to the pandemic and the political situations in Thailand. However, Molam Bank and his team still attempt to manage the studio for Molam even in the hard times with live streaming twice a month. Although Molam Bank faces many obstacles due to the fight for democracy and freedom of expression by using Molam as a driving force, he will never give up.

Manifesto Agenda Summit Collective (MAS) was established and took the initiative in an artistic activist movement in 2018 within Isan region, the Northeast of Thailand. The group is led by Thanom Chapakdee, an art critique and cultural activist. MAS stands for Manifesto, Agenda, Summit, they believe that everyone can become an artistic-activist without necessarily being an artist. MAS is concentrated on historical, socio-political, cultural, and environmental issues. Their approaches are aligned with the concept of “Plebeian Aesthetic: Critique & Artistic Resistance.” They aimed to create alternative spaces in abandoned buildings, factories, and even desolated brothel in the city of Khonkaen, as they used to organize for Khon Kaen Manifesto (2018, 2020) and Ubon Agenda (2020), and will be continuously held every two years. This year (2022) marks as the time for MAS Collective to organize artistic-activist movements in all areas, the three projects and major cities are Khon Kaen Manifesto in Khon Kaen, Ubon Agenda in Ubon Ratchathani, and Nabua Summit in Nakhon Phanom.

Brilliant Time: Southeast Asia-Themed Bookstore is located near Huashin Street (aka. Myanmar Street) in Nanshijiao, New Taipei City. It‘s a place where it embraces different cultures and diversity, hoping to be a warm and open place for both locals and migrants. Being more than just a bookstore, the bookstore also holds art exhibitions, talks, film showings, language classes within its tiny yet multi-functional space.

The name “Brilliant Time” is inspired by the respectable deceased scholar Lucie Cheng and her biography Linking Our Lives. In her whole life, she had always been an adventurer. What she left us with an important lesson of life is that, “No matter where you are, you can always find your brilliant time by a soul of curiosity and kindness.”

Founded in 1993 in Taipei, Taiwan, Trees Music & Art is an independent music label that specializes in roots and folk music from all over the world, with a particular interest in connecting performing arts to the cultural and societal issues of the day. Trees Music has served as label and production team for highly acclaimed indigenous musicians such as the Betel Nut Brothers and Atayal vocalist Inka Mbing. As one among a number of platforms for the international community to learn about Taiwan's diverse musical cultures, both indigenous and those tied to the Chinese diaspora, Trees Music seeks to uphold a spirit of respect for musical traditions, while at the same time encouraging forward-looking, artistic exploration.

In addition to its many issued recordings, Trees Music is also well-known as the production team behind the Migration Music Festival, a former annual live music festival devoted to folk and contemporary sounds from around the world. Trees has also engaged in many interdisciplinary, cross-genre projects, including Here is Where We Meet, a music and visual art production that focused on issues of migration and diaspora, and the New Narratives Film Festival, which is devoted to Southeast Asian independent film and up-and-coming Taiwanese filmmakers.

Your Bros. Filmmaking Group is formed by three members from Taiwan, namely So Yo Hen, Liao Hsiu Hui, Tien Zong Yuan. They believe that the uniqueness of their films lies in their immature, amateur filmmaking approaches. They focus on various elements emerging in the process of film production, including field research, creative workshops, interspersed unforeseeable incidents, and spontaneous editing of the narrative structure onsite. Utilizing methods of “film production,” they re-interpret and inject aesthetic meanings into reality, transforming it into a medium for thinking.

Ting Tong Chang received his MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has exhibited internationally. He has participated in group shows and commissioned projects in Guangzhou Triennial, Taipei Biennial, Saatchi Gallery, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Wellcome Trust. Chang‘s major awards include the 19th Taishin Arts Award, Taipei Art Award 2020, Art Central Hong Kong RISE Award 2016, VIA Arts Prize 2016 and Royal Society of Sculptors Bursary Award 2015. His works can be found in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Embassy of Brazil London, Noblesse Collection Seoul, JM SR Collection Mexico and private collections in Europe and Asia.

DJ Hatfield is a long-term guest of the ❛Atolan ❛Amis community in what is now known as Taitung County. A sociocultural anthropologist and sound installation artist, he has recently joined the faculty of National Taiwan University's Graduate Institute of Music. His work focuses on sound, Indigenous responses to colonialism, and the ethics of locality. In a life conditioned by wandering, he often asks how we develop enduring connections to places that we might consider home. He poses this question to his interlocutors and the landscapes around him as he works with his materials, which include sound recordings but also a variety of found objects. His concern with habitation might explain the appearance of chairs, black netting, and tent like structures in many of his works. Hatfield‘s current research concerns the influence of far ocean fishing on ❛Amis kinship, houses, and soundscapes. His sound art works have appeared in the in the 2016 Taitung International Austronesian Art Awards, the 2018 Mipaliw Land Art Festival, and the 2020 Taipei Biennial.

Huegu is an artist, a singer/songwriter, and a hunter of Pangcah / ❛Amis descent from Ciwidian, Hualien. He has done multiple jobs, including formworker, carpenter, construction foreman, seaman, taxi driver, gravel truck driver, and musician. Although he has never received a formal music education, he often plays the guitar and sings traditional Pangcah songs in his free time, weaving the landscape of indigenous communities, his laboring life away from home, and the vicissitudes of life into songs in his mother tongue. In addition, Huegu has a pair of dexterous hands and an individualistic talent for aesthetic creations, which he has employed to design and produce highly artistic yet functional installations, instruments, and sheds that are incorporated with traditional Pangcah patterns. In 2020, he participated in artist Ting Tong Chang‘s video installation project, titled Betelnut Tree, Bird's-Nest Fern and African Snails. For the project, he brought the artist into the mountains, where they used locally sourced materials to build a hunting shed, set up traps, and produce equipment for surviving the wilderness. In this exhibition, Huegu brings the Pangcah wisdom of everyday life into MoCA Taipei, and exhibits his works as an artist alongside Ting Tong Chang.

UFA is founded by Cheng Wen and Mic.Usay.Monari. Known for mixing and recombining ethnic, psychedelic soul, and electronic elements into new objects, UFA draws inspiration from the transient and changing scenes in life and infuses ideas of nature and abstraction into their music. UFA‘s Unalloyed Fusion Anamnesis of 2013 was nominated for Best Electronic Album at the 4th Golden Indie Music Awards. In 2018, their work, aynuko (Mixed Blood), was awarded Honorable Mention at the Pulima Performing Arts of New Talents, a collateral open call program of the Pulima Art Award. In 2021, their music album, Lipahak ko ‘orip (Happy Life), was nominated for Best Electronic Album and Best Electronic Single at the 12th Golden Indie Music Awards.

Adisak Phupa (b.1978, Yasothon, Thailand) received his Bachelor's and a Master's degree at Mahasarakham University and Chiang Mai University respectively. He has become interested in installation art through the beliefs of ISAN people, initially towards their traditional Rocket Festival. (Boon Bang Fai) He has participated in group exhibitions including Biennale Jogja XV Equator#5, Spectrosynthesis II–Exposure of Tolerance: #LGBTQ in Southeast Asia Exhibition; “Project-PRY#01” at WTF Gallery & Cafe, Bangkok, Thailand; Gwangju, South Korea Asia Culture Center (ACC). Adisak is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine - Applied Art, Mahasarakham University.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b.1970) grew up in Khon Kaen, a city in Northeastern Thailand. He studied architecture before earning a degree in film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand‘s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, the French Minister of Culture bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letter (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature). Feature films include Memoria (2021), Cemetery of Splendor (2015), Syndromes and a Century (2006), Tropical Malady (2004), The Adventures of Iron Pussy (2003), Blissfully Yours (2002), and Mysterious Object at Noon (2000). His film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won a Palme d‘Or prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Despite films, he has showed great passion in photography and video production, and has participated in a number of international exhibitions, including dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel (2012), Sharjah Biennale (2013), Liverpool Biennial (2006), Busan Biennial (2004) and the Istanbul Biennial (2001). His works have been presented in art institutions such as Haus der Kunst, Munich; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Redcat, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; Musée d‘Art Modern de la Ville de Paris; Hangar Bricocca, Milan; and more.


No Choice to Make
No Love to Find
No Way to Escape
Songs of Migration
“Ma Pong Khao, Sao Aok Dok” (ม้าป่งเขา เสาออกดอก) Molam in the Cold War
Inaugural issue of Taiwan Indigenous Voice Bimonthly
More than Necessary



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