Mosquito Kingdom

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Since the end of 38 years of martial law in 1987, in an effort to spur economic development and promote Taiwanese culture, Taiwan has invested in massive -- and ultimately misguided -- building projects. Once the ribbons were cut and the fanfare died down, hundreds of these costly facilities did not go as planned. Throughout Taiwan, abandoned swimming pools, deserted shopping malls, decaying beautification projects, and derelict community centers were left empty and unused -- mostly. These sites and their remaining structures have since become massive breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

In 2010, artist and photographer Yao Jui-Chung sent his university photography students to document these abandoned sites. They spent six months traveling across Taiwan, documenting 147 buildings. After the resulting photographs were published (in a 600-page book titled Mirage: Disused Public Property in Taiwan), their work garnered a wave of media coverage and captured the attention of high government officials who praised their efforts. Even the prime minister personally offered support, pledging that government agencies would investigate and revitalize what could be saved and demolish what was beyond repair.

Yoa Jui-Chung and his students continued their work finding hundreds more of these sites, but even with their more recent discoveries little if any real progress has been made. "It has been over three years since they first promised investigations and revitalization of the buildings," Yao Jui-Chung writes. "And we are still waiting to see any substantial action."

An extended gallery of these photos can be found at Creative Time Reports

Above: Interior of the Taitung County Police Department, eastern Taiwan Construction, 2013. Construction date unknown; cost unknown.

Yao Jui-Chung


Public Market No. 1, North Port of Yunlin County, western Taiwan, 2013. Construction date: 1998; cost about $23 million.

Yao Jui-Chung


Keelung Islet Tourist Center, off the northern shore of Taiwan. Construction finished: 2001; Cost: About $328,000.

Ko Chun-Yao


Liuqing North Bank Wholesale Fish Market, Mailiao Township, Yunlin County, western Taiwan, 2010. Construction finished: 2004; Cost: About $548,000.

Chen Hsing-Han/Huang Tin-Yun


Monument outside the Yunlin County Aquarium, western Taiwan, 2010. Construction finished: 1992; Cost: About $9.8 million.

Ma Chun-Ru


Chihsingtan Conservation Park, Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, 2010. Construction Date: Unknown; Cost: About $1.1 million.

Huang Tzu-Jui


Exterior of Baseball Stadium No. 1, Taitung Baseball District, eastern Taiwan, 2010. Construction date: 2000; Cost: about $7 million.

Huang Shih-En & Hu Zi-Chi


Graffiti covering the unused Nanbin Aboriginal Cultural Square, Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, 2010. Construction finished between 1976-1987; Cost: Unknown.

Huang Tzu-Jui


Xinhua District Extreme Sports Park, Tainan County, central Taiwan, 2010. Construction began: 2002, finished 2003; Cost: About $459,000.

Lin Hsiao-Han


Yunlin County Timber Incinerator, western Taiwan, 2010. Construction started: 2002, finished 2005; Cost: About $108 million.

Chen Hsing-Han and Huang Tin-Yun

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