Workshop about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

  • Workshop derived from the Tiger Penis Project by Kuang-yi Ku 

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    Explore science, traditional culture and biodiversity through speculative design

    In the traditional culture of Chinese medicine (TCM) the myth of eating the tiger penis for male virility enhancement is called "Yi Xing Bu Xing”. It can be literally translated as shape or form, meaning that consuming an animal organ will nourish or heal the corresponding or similarly-shaped human organ or body part. For instance, eating pig liver is good for the liver.

    The consumption of the tiger penis is a cultural myth that was formed within a similar context. This workshop will introduce the concept of "Yi Xing Bu Xing” through a series of food/medicines from the future of Chinese culture. These fictional food/medication are hybridized by Chinese medicine and Western biotechnologies to avoid the killing of endangered animals in the future. Participants can experience the gastronomic/medical speculation derived from traditional Chinese medicine during the workshop.

    The effect of alternative medicine can't always be proven by contemporary scientific research. It's usually regarded as a cultural myth, like the tiger penis for virility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The huge demand of wild animal parts results in an increasing amount of endangered animals. Kuang-Yi Ku proposes that TCM still contains a certain value, which is very different from mainstream western medicine. The main concept of this project is to discuss and find answers how to mitigate this conflict between the value of traditional Chinese medical culture and contemporary thinking of environmental conservation?

    Combining non-western perspectives and speculative scenarios, the workshop explores new forms of creating artificial animal parts by using emerging biotechnologies for Chinese medication in the future. Combining Western and Chinese medicine, the methodology of this hybrid medicine provides a range of possibilities for society and our natural environment.

    To join the workshop please buy your ticket here. The price for a ticket is 12,50 Euro. Students can purchase a ticket for the reduced price of 5,- Euro, and will be requested to show a student pass before the workshop

    Kuang-Yi Ku is a practicing dentist, new media artist and social designer. He was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. Currently he is studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Kuang-Yi Ku graduated with a double masters degree in dentistry from The National Yang-Ming University. He has won the 1st prize of Taipei Digital Art Awards in 2015 with “The Fellatio Modification Project”, involving body modification, gender studies, queer theories, and dentistry all together. His work often deals with the human body, sexuality, human-animal interaction and medical technology, aiming to investigate the relationships among technology, the individual and the environment. The Tiger Penis Project is a graduation work of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Social Design Department.

    This project is kindly supported by the Taiwanese National Culture and Arts Foundation.

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