The Irony of Technology Chasing Tradition: “When Rites Collapse and Music Spoils” by Teom Chen

When Rites Collapse and Music Spoils

When Rites Collapse and Music Spoils by Taiwanese artist Teom Chen invites viewers to experience a traditional Taiwanese opera through AR.

The phrase “禮崩樂壞” is an ancient Chinese idiom that translates to “the collapse of tradition and the destruction of music.” Using the form of traditional Taiwanese opera, this work is about the idea of traditional values collapsing as a natural phenomenon. Specifically, it asks how can we as humans try to adapt to this change in an absurd, unbalanced, and somewhat chaotic way.

The scene begins with a virtual opera truck that stands at around 40-50 cm in height. To view the opera, viewers are forced to bend over and follow the moving truck.

Inside the cabin is a colorful stage with exotic carpeting that awaits the appearance of the performers.

The wait is short-lived as the opera truck begins moving forward, and the performers are soon thrown off the stage. The truck moves unpredictably, and the viewers may struggle to keep up with it to see what’s happening inside.

The words “歓迎善信大徳蒞臨参拝” (Welcome Good Believers and Great Virtues) are illuminated on the rear end of the truck.

Is this a statement of appreciation for those who follow the car with interest and curiosity, or is it an irony for those who follow the car in a comical manner…?

The full opera is available to watch on YouTube.

People (Trying to) Adapt to Rapidly Changing Values

When Rites Collapse and Music Spoils explores the theme of how people adapt to rapidly changing values on a daily basis and come to value tradition less and less.

Using the traditional Taiwanese opera as a motif, the work expresses how people try to adapt to the fast-changing values of modern society in an irrational, unbalanced, and chaotic way.

Using Technology to Chase After Unseen Tradition

To experience this scene, the viewer must chase after a moving stage only visible to them with a smartphone in their hand. Through this work, viewers are able to juxtapose this comical irrationality with their attempts at adapting to the rapidly new values of today’s chaotic society.

How to Experience an AR Scene

If you are accessing this page from a smartphone, tap the “Try Now” button.
If you are using STYLY for the first time, please also refer to the instructions below.

Try NowAfter tapping “Try Now,” you will be redirected to a page like below.
If you have already downloaded the STYLY Mobile app, select “Activate in STYLY app.”

If you are accessing this page from a PC web browser, first click the “Try Now” button to open the scene page.
Then, in the scene page, click “Experience in AR” and scan the QR code with your smartphone to launch the scene on the STYLY Mobile app.


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For those who want to know more about how to experience the scene:
For more information on how to experience AR scenes, please refer to the following article.

Edited by SASAnishiki
Translated by cpnnn