The First Grand Exhibition of "Miniatures" in Taiwan

Author Info
Shao-li LU

This paper applies Bruno Latour's concept of translation to the grand exhibition held in colonial Taiwan in 1935.The author draws a series of analogies between the uses and arrangements of models in the exhibition and Latourian models of laboratory practices withinwhich objects are dissolved, modified, rescaled, and staged. Once in theexhibition, the views were as if surrounded by miniatures. The purpose oftranslation was to interest viewers in the message encoded in the exhibition bythe colonial government. While the Japanese authorities achieved a partialsuccess, limits on space and resources rendered the translation incomplete.Moreover, though the semiotics of the translation permitted some viewers tograsp the delivered message, viewers from different backgrounds would have haddifferent understandings of the "inscription." A close study of this attempt attranslation and of its limited success shows that the exhibition was a field ofstruggle for seeing and believing.

Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, Number 7