Located in Pier2 Art Center in Kaohsiung, the foyer of is itself decorated like a special exhibition. It features a setup that resembles a funeral hall that is only built with books. Behind this installation hangs two curtains that lead visitors to almost complete darkness. In this dark room sits many brightly illuminated books. This experience reminds me of hiking at night where the uncertainties and fear that you feel at the beginning of the journey dissipate after only a few minutes. Afterward, all your senses would get stronger, you would then realize it is not as dark as you thought.
“All you need to care is not about others but yourself, not for the images from eyes or the status identified by society. Your weakness, shyness, perplexity or taboo will strike a chord with ones here,” written at the entrance of Wuguan Books, this text seems to be setting the right mood for visitors as they enter the bookshop.
創辦人暨空間設計師朱志康說，這間書店其實源自我們的兒時記憶。「當把棉被蓋起來，就是一個人的世界。在那種情況下看書會很專注，但所有感官也是張開的。」讓書本成為主角，也讓你成為自己。「我們強調的不是黑暗，而是空間的消失。當把空間去掉、把書店的印象通通去掉，其實才是最有趣的 —— 這種時候，你心裡面的東西才會出來。」
The founder/space designer Chu Chih-kang said the concept of the bookshop was inspired by a piece of childhood memory shared by many, “When pulling a blanket over your head, all of a sudden, this space becomes a world of solitude. It is the perfect environment to read with a focused mind, you can also feel how strong all your senses have become.” In this place, books are all that matter, you can be your true self. “Darkness is not what we are trying to emphasize. What we would like to eliminate is the conception of physical space. The experience can be more intriguing if we could disregard the actual space or the preconception of a bookshop. This can let you release the thoughts of your mind.”
The bookshop is home to a collection of almost 300 books with some antique books and classics. Visitors can also find some surprising choices of books like the photo collection of the Japanese celebrity Takeshi Kaneshiro. Some of the books selected by the bookshop are changed periodically, rarely can visitors find any top sellers. The great variety of the themes of the book selection includes psychology, desire, sexuality, body politics, horror, exotic, negativity… In Wuguan Books, you can find all sorts of books surrounding random and controversial topics. There are even books that were once censored in the past eras.
Entering the bookshop, visitors would abandon the restrictions imposed by society or themselves. These kinds of rules do not apply in this space. Sitting in front of an illuminated box surrounded by darkness, one can feel the true essence of serenity. It is a moment to enjoy being with yourself without considering the outside world. People spend a great deal of energy to talk and to listen, sometimes it is just essential to be detached from the noise. Allow the peaceful slowness to cleanse your mind, you would be able to view the outside world from a completely different angle.