In 2008, I contributed to Taipei Biennial with a site-specific intervention with the Shijhou tribe. In collaboration with inhabitants and a support group of the tribe, I constructed a banner that claimed: “WE WILL WIN”. The banner “spoke” from the ground up to the heights where powerful elites both plan and surveil their city. The intervention was located at the center of contested plans to dismantle housing for the purpose of “improving the quality of life” in a larger operation of “urban renewal”.
Invited to rework the project for the 2010 Taipei Biennial, I decided to conduct a survey that explored the impact of the WE WILL WIN intervention and the implications of the critical practice that it entailed. The format of the survey was appropriated from market research techniques. In the first section, I investigated the general idea of how art is perceived. The questions in the second section related specifically to the work, attempting to explore what exactly, if anything, the work managed to accomplish in people’s perceptions.
The survey addressed four groups that had a direct interaction with the art world: 1) Decision makers / managers, 2) Curators / Artists, 3) Audience members and 4) Staff / Interns. The aim was to understand public perceptions of the WE WILL WIN intervention, and at the same time disclose the different agendas within the culture industry. For Manifesta Journal 16, readers will find excerpts from the book, which included the resulting data and its accompanying text. The surveys will achieve their purpose if they can make even a modest contribution to ongoing discussions of the role of art in the context of governmental power.