Re: Tropical Reading–Underground Reading Room
Curated by Fotobook DUMMIES Day

65 photobooks coming from 6 cities of Southeast Asia with 5 ways to unfold your journey of this exhibition.

When it comes to Southeast Asia, which part of Asia comes to your mind exactly?

Situated south of southern Taiwan, in fact, the first use of the term “Southeast Asia” was pretty close to now. In the realm of different politics during different periods of time, Taiwan as well as Hong Kong were once included as Southeast Asia. However, the name “Southeast Asia” in the contemporary period was actually the U.S’. strategic planning post World War II. That’s why the term “Southeast Asia” is not just a geographic concept.

Fotobook DUMMIES Day has begun their field research about the photobook and self-publishing scene in Southeast Asia since 2019. Bangkok, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Yangon were places they have been to. After two consecutive years of gathering stories from five countries and six cities among the islands in Southeast Asia, Fotobook DUMMIES Day finally announces their first exhibit in Hualien. At Goodunderground Art Space, they will present all the photobooks they’ve encountered during their field research visits. 

What makes you pick up a book from the bookshelf might have something to do with your feelings at the moment, your personal preference, or being influenced by purchase displays, or its cover. Sometimes, there’s just no reason for us to pick that book. It just comes along. Reading is intimate as well as straightforward when compared to walking in a gallery and receiving images passively. You turn to pages you want to read, stay there, and absorb. Reading is a relatively active experience.

At “Re: Tropical Reading: Underground Reading Room”, users can enter five search field options of how to start reading one of the Southeast Asian photobooks. Readers can choose those ranging from book binding, printing techniques, interrelationships in geography, hashtags, to the naming of the books to set out on your own journey. Every access, every pile of books, every sequence you take will become a new path of unfolding this exhibit.

A category is like a new map which lets us use search field options as another way of viewing. Wanna set off for Southeast Asia? Just reach for it!

How to unfold the journey of this exhibition?

1. Pick a menu and a pen
2. Choose any of the search field options on the wall, take “01 City” for example
3. Choose “Yangon”, and then circle codes O1, A4, K1, and B2 from the menu.
4. Take the book that corresponds to the codes you just circled.
5. Please take a seat, start your journey in the sequence of “01 City-Yangon”.
6. Repeat step 1 to 6.

◎ If you want to learn more about photobooks and practitioners in Southeast Asia, please go to the cart of which Tropical Reading: Photobook and Self-Publishing is placed.

◎ For viewers who want to buy one of the exhibited books, please contact pon ding.