In 2013, Chi Po-Lin created an impact on the entire Taiwan with Beyond Beauty – TAIWAN FROM ABOVE. In 2017, in order to film Beyond Beauty – TAIWAN FROM ABOVE II, Chi fell from the sky, and ended prematurely the enterprise he was so passionate about, leaving behind a legacy of hundreds of thousands of aerial photographs and nearly a thousand hours of aerial footage waiting to be sorted out.
“The works that Chi Po-lin risked his life to make must be seen and continue to move the hearts of people living on this land!” It is this belief that propels the Chi Po-lin Foundation to resolutely launch the project of digitizing Director Chi’s works and establishing a museum dedicated to collecting and showcasing his legacy; and it is such a belief that has moved 8,052 contributors to generously support our cause.
Consequently, on the Earth Day (April 22) of 2019, the highly anticipated Chi Po-lin Museum was inaugurated. Located in Tamsui, where Chi always returned to land whenever he embarked on an aerial filming trip, the Chi Po-lin Foundation has made use of the precious works accumulated throughout Chi’s twenty-five years of career to curate thematic exhibitions, gather interpretations of experts and scholars from various fields, and engage the public in participation steadfastly. Our objective is to enable more people to appreciate and listen to the heart-touching stories of Taiwan at close range, and utilize images to foster a stronger and wider belief and action to safeguard our homeland.
Chi Po-lin used to say, “mountains are the starting point of my original dream.” Two third of Taiwan’s land is mountainous. In fact, Taiwan has 268 mountains that are over 3,000 meters, which is the highest density in the entire world. Therefore, the endlessly rolling mountains have formed “the most beautiful landscape” in Chi’s eye.
For this reason, the Chi Po-lin Museum especially adopted “View Above Mountains” as the theme of the inaugural exhibition, using Chi Po-lin’s dream as our starting point and origin to protect this breathtaking land. Through different angles of viewing the mountains, we aimed to deliver the voices of Taiwan, the stories of life, and the touching sentiments awakened by the land.
View Above Mountains presented Chi’s aerial images of mountains, and introduced the rich and diverse wealth of Taiwan’s mountains through different forms. In particular, the “corridor of massive projection” and the “VR interactive experience zone” in the exhibition allowed visitors to personally experience the feeling of how Chi had flown in the sky to closely view Taiwan’s variegated mountains through Chi’s eye.
Furthermore, View Above Mountains invited mountain lovers and researchers of mountain climbing culture from different fields to present five series talks. Apart from extending the brilliant stories behind Chi’s aerial works, these talks also unveiled disparate perspectives and life experiences, which connected people with common sentiments. With mountains as our starting point, we have seen a more expansive meaning of life.
Surrounded by the sea, Taiwan’s coastline is more than 1,200 kilometers, with majestic sceneries and bounteous marine resource bestowed by Mother Nature. However, when taking a closer look at the coasts, it becomes obvious that artificial constructions, manmade destructions, and various pollution are quietly hurting our ocean. The paradoxical relationship between nature and human activities is a subject of reflection for all of us who call this island our home.
For this reason, Above The Coast, our second feature exhibition, took the central stage on August 8, 2020, which presented various coastal views in Taiwan, the distinctive culture and landscape co-created by humans and the sea, and the wounded coastlines with manmade reform and destruction. Like Chi once stated, “beauty and regret exist in the same space, showing the real world and real life.” What Above The Coast aimed to achieve was to show all these wonderful and sorrowful traces to everyone. By doing so, we have hoped to foster an understanding of human’s influence on the environment because “the more knowledge one possesses about the earth, the less likely one remains quiet without doing anything about the worsening environment.”
Re-creating the rich forces of life stemming from the interacting, intersecting forces at the coastal region, the exhibition especially presents “Above The Coast—A Space of Dialogue,” which included various perspectives and life experiences of different guests, namely nature writer Liu Ke-Hsiang; marine environmental educator Kuo Chao-Wei who walks around the island to promote his cause; Jason Huang Zhi-Yang from Re-think; and Ke Chin-Yuan, director of Public Broadcasting Service’s “Our Island.” Collectively, they engaged in a dialogue with Chi’s aerial works, and engendered more creative sparks.
Since the inauguration, the number of visitors of the Chi Po-lin Museum has reached over 39,000, with more than 200 devoted volunteers who have contributed more than 8,000 service hours to explain thoroughly to visitors the deeper meanings behind Chi Po-lin’s works. The nine talks organized for the two feature exhibitions have been joined by nearly 500 visitors.
“Director Chi’s decades of effort shall not be wasted. Please watch over us and the effort we have made from the above,” said one of the visitors in a message left on the message wall for visitors.
With Chi’s image works as the medium to unfold an environment of dialogues among pluralistic viewpoints, the Chi Po-lin Museum is crafted as an image base and a dream-building platform concentrating on Taiwan, which will continue reinforcing and spreading truthful messages about being earth-friendly, protecting the environment, caring about life, and further exerting an influence over environmental education and environmental protection policy. These have all been vital missions shouldered by the Chi Po-lin Foundation, and we plan to carry them out steadfastly and continuously.
We sincerely invite you to visit the Chi Po-lin Museum, where you can see Taiwan as well as yourself through Chi eye and lens, while supporting us to continue Chi’s spirit and legacy.