Imaging Taipei and Its Significance: Contemporary Discourses by the Local Novelists and Architects

Abstract

Along with democratization in Taiwan, the emergent local public sphere in the cyberspace has begun to discuss about the path toward 'global city' or its alternatives that should be taken by Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. To contribute to this discussion, with the belief that (Charles Montgomery's) Happy City emerges as a result of the notions of happiness shared by all walks of life, we propose to look into what significant local novelists and architects have so far said and imaged about Taipei. But, first of all, to tackle the extreme heterogeneous viewpoints and styles of proses or pictures produced by these two groups, we must justify the legitimacy of taking Lynch's 'city image' and its meaning to mean, by way of Jameson, exactly the relation between Saussurian signifier and signified. The result of our semiotic analysis shows that what have been constructed by the local groups are moving images of Taipei in the process of leaving 'a spectacular their-world place' and entering a place of confusion about whether to pursue globalization or happiness. However the significant meaning revealed in these images seems to point to the urgent salvation of the public spaces in the city so as to resolve the huge conflict between public and private interests. We therefore conclude that to take an alternative path to that of becoming global, we need more aggressive grassroots organizations that will maintain local landscapes and soothe the general feeling of nostalgia.



Author Information
Shiaw-Chian Fong, Department of Journalism, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2017
Stream: Media Studies

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