This limited edition was presented on the occasion of Art Central, Hong Kong 2016
Chief Editor: Wong Sze Yuen Gina Designed & Edited by Small Tune Press and Tsang Waiyi Published by EXPERIMENTA Copyright Â© 2016 EXPERIMENTA. All rights reserved.
Essence of space and the flow of time Our universe consist of billions of stars and galaxies; but if that takes your breath away, think about the space that contains them. What has to be the ultimate form of art and creation is housed in this intergalactic space which in itself is an even bigger wonder than all the planets that are in it. Is this space an entity, as argued by Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason, or merely elements of a systematic framework we use to structure our experience? Experimenta is a three dimension space, of a measurement too insignificant for many to consider. It is nevertheless found a tiny universe in which time seems to stand still in the midst of a busy Central district of an international city called Hong Kong. The space is tucked behind a narrow back alley with a full glass door front. It is closed a lot of the time and remain opened only when there are events happening during the past 7 years between 2009 and 2016. Yet, the mere fact that the black rolling gates are closed is the main mentor of this defiant space. The gates are closed because the space is not open for everything or to maximise exposure. The events that did took place in there signifies a certain aspiration : an aspiration to subvert the status quo and to invent a new narrative. Anything less will not be included. A kind neighbour had once suggested that Experimenta should be open every day and to start selling art for clients. To make the best use of the space. But it is because Experimenta does not want to do business that it could curate and act as a gatekeeper for a program that speaks an alternative language. So it's operational mode also has to be different. Many artists consider being represented by a gallery and to have sold its artwork a measure of success. In many ways, it is success. For Experimenta, tiny as it may, it wants to show art and artists who has a potential to make history and to subvert even how the art world function. Experimenta does not look at the events that took place as exhibitions. The tiny entity considers each event as a revolution.
OPENING LOCATION #POWER #CRITIQUE #OBSTRUCTION #PROVOCATION PEOPLE #VIEWER #PARTNER #OBSERVER SPACE #DIMENSION #CHALLENGE 18
#METHODOLOGY #FUTURE POSITION #INDEPENDENT #DEMAND #ATTITUDE #IMPACT TIME #EXHIBITION #SCREENING #EVENT FINALE 19
#POWER Located in Central, the Central Business District and previously the political centre of Hong Kong, Experimenta wanted to be based in the centre of the city symbolic of hierarchy and patriarchy. The space has an ambition to be an irritation to all that represents the establishment.
The Personal and the Political
The Personal and the Political is a collaborative by two Hong Kong artists Lam Hoi Sin and Gina See-Yuen Wong. Through explorations of gender stereotypes and cultural authorities in a polarised world of male dominance, the project endeavour to reveal the underlying construct that dictate our society.
Lam Hoi Sin + Gina See-Yuen Wong The Personals : Installations and performance The Political : Set of 2 videos, installation, 6 minutes, 2013 Sound design : The Ecumenical Council and Players by Li Ka Ki 19/4 -8/5/2013
iola Davis’ Emmy speech, Jennifer L a w re n c e’s d e c l a r a t i o n s , a n d Emma Watson’s sold out event at the Emmanuel Centre in London with Gloria Steinem : all these are evidence that women’s equality movements have made huge contributions. But in many parts of the world, women are still married off at a young age, are raped as a weapon in war, deprived of an education and restricted of their movements simply because they are born with a womb that could potentially produce children. Women are expected to be generative. In a wealthy financial city of Hong Kong, women are being pressured to be married and called names if they are not. They are expected to be thin and young and they are deprived of economic opportunities. Men still inherit land in some parts of the New Territories and women cannot inherit lands. Some may think these regulations and customs only exist in the last century. In 2016, these laws and thinking are still true and very much alive. The art world, which is supposed to be avant-garde and ahead of its times, is not any different.
Lam Hoi Sin’s The Personals installation is a two-part game revolving around the online dating rituals. Viewers are invited to participate and to choose one envelop and then to decipher whether the personal ad is women looking for women, men looking for men, or women for men or men for women. Lam’s decontextualised personal ads question our preconceived notions of genders. There was a listing space in an enclosed room that gives you a chance to advertise yourself for real dating opportunities. It was a play on ideologies and an exercise of textual ghoulishness bringing the Internet to real life.
Gina See-Yuen Wong's The Political videos questioned female control on their own body, and female equal rights in society and workplace. She challenged the blueprint for politics, religion and movies, which cover most of the world around us. The work is consists of a set of 2 videos, each 6 minutes. The original sound was written by Li Ka Ki : The Ecumenical Council and Players. The two video s c re e n s a re s e t at 90 degrees of each other, the floor has been transformed into a mini rugby lawn. On one side, the short video shows the rugby players; their motion signifies the slow and stunted progress of equality for women. On the other side, the establishment order is represented by the 3 trichromatic colours of red, yellow and blue. The image appears to be still. But if you look closely the image is a looping video, signifying the nonchanging faces of the establishment. The videos are of the all-male head of states in China, the all-male Vatican priests and the pope and the all-male film director team at the Huayi Brothers Fiilm press conference. Hence, the situation for most women can be summarised as : 24
In government your government is governed by them; the Vatican City your morals and written by them ; and the Film Studios your body image is created by them. "The still image represent the unchanged faces of the establishment, but it is a video, not an image, expressing the reality of the engine behind the authority. Only the front changes. What I hope to bring out in this image is that, they are not from the 19th Century or 1960s; these images are taken from the Internet in 2013. Most people did not think equality for women is an important issue. That is an delusion that even women believe. Afterall, this can be the ultimate change in the world order, it is about over 50% of the worldâ€™s population. Revolution is coming !"
The video features the Tai Po Dragon Women Rugby Team – a local all women rugby team . They are students, “officeladies” and mothers and they are playing rugby in Hong Kong against all odds. "If you think that because you have the right to vote and work, that you are an equal member of the society: stop and listen. If you think that there is nothing else to be done, and that there are women making into every facet of the workplace: think again. If you think your body, its shape and your fertility is under your full control: feel and look around your world. Who really write the blueprint for politics, religion and the movies? Do these three areas cover almost everything in your world?"
Lam Hoi Sin Lam graduated with BA Hons (Visual Communication) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her solo exhibitions includes Toilette at Artist Fee and The Crap Show at Hardneck and The Interpretation at Gallery Exit. She is a finalist at the WYNG Masters Award 2014/15.
Wong See Yuen Gina Gina graduated from the Comparative Literature Department at The University of Hong Kong and the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom. She is the founder and curator of Experimenta, founder of the PUFF Film Festival and PUFF channel on Letv. She is a filmmaker, her latest feature film is Salamandra , a Chile Hong Kong co-production (100min, 2016). 26
#CRITIQUE It has survived despite of saying what needs to be said on urgent issues in politics, sexuality and society. An open dialogue is important. Some artists literally walked through the door, and an exhibition would be produced 9 months later. We needed that energy. Because things that are worth doing and saying cannot be written in a form and appraised by a committee, or waiting for approval for a whole year. There are things that have got to happen now. The best weapon for retaliation is selection and action.
iTrust.HK Tim Grudewald + Ludwig Schmidtpete Video , sculpture, projection and performance Show : 12-13/03/2014
This multi-media installation and performance combines video, objects and performance to merge sites of production, consumption and disposal in a single space.
iTrust.HK transcends into the cloud and returns as a pre-modern fetish. Silent contemplation displaces electronic communication overload. Physical presence meets mental distraction. A prayer to progress?
Let us irritate you –––––––
it hurts just a little bit. Bring your mobile device. The German duo Schmidtpeter & Gruenewald collaborates in the cloud and occasionally returns down to earth to work on film, video, and art projects. This work by Dutch/German artists Gruenewald and Ludwig reflected on the sacred and transcendental nature of the appearance of consumer culture in our time. It consisted of many parts: stylized shop / church / stairway to heaven / afterlife / stylized underground garage / crypt / descent into hell and death.
The project iTrust.hk engages artistically with the mobile revolution. In the past ten years, the advent of the smart phone and the tablet has untethered the interface between humans and the Internet. Small screens are omnipresent in private and public life and connect us continuously to the virtual realm. We are constantly tempted to disconnect from the here and now in order to communicate across time and space and consume information from the cloud. The mobile device thus transcends the physical world. The Cloud has replaced Heaven as the metaphor for infinite possibilities. At the same time, the devices themselves have been elevated far beyond their mere use value as communication and information tools by the product policies and marketing strategies of global concerns. Smart phones have become the primary objects of desire for conspicuous consumption to display social status in the public sphere. In extreme cases, the presentation and reception of new products borders on the cultish and quasireligious. The iDevice has become the cult image of our time.
A third aspect of the mobile revolution concerns the origin of mobile devices. Through globalization, sites of production and consumption of electronic devices have been strictly separated. We do not know the origin of devices that are in our palms all day and on the bedside table all night. What happens if the spaces of production and consumption are collapsed into one? Through a constellation of performance, objects, installation, and images we attempt to open up possibilities of reflection on the deeper implications of the mobile revolution.
“Consumption of electronics, especially the Apple products, in the last 5 years has become an icon globally. For the last 15 years, I had been obsessed about Apple products; I have only used Apple computers since the first small aluminum apple laptop came out. “ - Tim Gruenewald
Tim and his team actually went to Shen Zhen to research on the factories - people are moved from their origin to become part of the production chain there, in white overall suits, protective goggles and masks that kind of echoes the Apple aesthetic, working repetitive tasks 12 or even longer hours per day. So during the iTrust performance, a performer dressed in white overall suits, protective goggles and gloves, repetitively assembling
“Then of cause when the iphone came out, the apple store and its atheistic became an urban icon for architecture and consumer space, that was when we started to think what was going on.“ “Not only the design of the Apple store that we tried to replicate – the glass open space, glass structure staircase in the center of the Central IFC store, but also how products were displayed on columns, then line the columns toward an alter similar to a Christian church with a projection of a cross behind, bringing consumer spaces and space of a church together.”
On the other hand, consumers of these products are worlds apart from their producer, the workers who assemble them. Hong Kong has a lot to do with this consumption and is very close to its place of production - Shen Zhen has the larges Apples production facility and is only 10 -20 miles away from Hong Kong, easily reached by car in an hour or two. “How could you not think about production, how are they made, where are they made and what does the production places look like?”
and piercing electronic parts into apples, in a white empty shop facing big glass display window where audience could observe the performance. The pile of apples implied the endless roll of undone items, the assembling was a time consuming job also, taking 1520 minutes per apple. The physicality of the apple symbolized an organic material that piercing the apple was like piercing the flesh. The audience could go very close to the glass with little separation from the manufacturing, the performer would not communicate with the audience but work continually.
“Some audience might get upset when they saw the performance or understood the concept behind, but I think consumers should know it when they decide to pay for a certain product. Some consumers could have never imagined life of the workers; on the other hand, the workers would never be able to afford the products they manufacture 10 or more hours a day or even with a long period of their lifetime.”
Curatorâ€™s Words Products or technological devices became not merely status symbols, but objects to worship in the consumer society. People would gather around the iphones and ipads in the Apple stores and would line up to pay for them. This multi-media installation project has four parts :
the first is a wooden sculpture of an iPhone, presented inside a glass box. As a background to the installation, there is a loop video of nature and the skies; The second part is a black light box, showing an outline of the iPhone, broken by a sharp object; The third component is a performance. The performer was dressed as an iPhone assembly line labourer and to mimic the mundane work carried out for almost ten hours a day , every day of their working lives.
She would pierce the apples with needles for a four hour session each time the performance took place. The set-up would include two mirrors which multiplies the worker and her performance into infinity. This image would be projected onto the back screen for the duration of the performance which created a spectacular visual effect. A fire was lit and viewers were invited to burn the fake iPhones as offerings to the Gods. Dr. Tim Gruenewald collaborated with German artist Ludwig Schmidtpeter, who started the iTrust/ iPark project in Germany, 2013. iTrust Hong Kong was about producing product in place of consumption, that consumers should know the lives of workers in factory shops and their daily routine, colliding the two places into one by displaying workers assembling products in a shop where pedestrians could see them perform the process.
Gruenewald contacted the labour union leaders in Shenzhen to learn about the working conditions of the labourers.
However, we were not certain if the people we met were really labour union leaders or if they were merely representing the labour unions.
We needed detail descriptions of what the labourer wear, the methodology of the actions on an assembly line and we even wanted to know the number of hours they work a day and how often they are allowed to take toilet breaks. So we hired a car and went to Shenzhen. We talked for several hours on every details of a worker who assembly iphones. To our surprise, many working conditions like over time, health benefits and holidays were not that different from those in Germany.
We were fortunate to have Mr Ben Loong with us. Ben is a personal friend who had been working in China for the past 18 years, and has audited Foxconn when he was an auditor. At the end, it was Ben who provided us with the latest details on labour regulations and company rules in China.
Ludwig Schmidtpeter is a designer and visual artist based in SaarbrĂźcken Germany. 36
Apart from the exhibition at Experimenta, we took this show to the Affordable Art Fair. I was hoping that by carrying out the iPhone assembly line performance in a highly commercial event, that would add additional layer to the critique of the whole project. Another phenomena of globalisation, Art Fairs are highly charged events to sell art, to socialise and to make profits. The managers of the Art Fairs were gracious to allow us to make the performance once, although we were not allowed to perform throughout the four day event. There were high tension between the artists and the managers; that in some way gave us a chance to test the limit of what we could do in a commercial setting.
Tim Gruenewald teaches film and cultural studies at The University of Hong Kong. 38
#OBSTRUCTION “ A Flea to resist Central power “ somebody had said that about us.
The Trilogy Project Gabriel Hošovský, Gheorghe Sfaite and Jonathan Ebron 3-Videos Show : 09-21,23-27/05/2013
The Trilogy Project brings
together three performers and video artists rarely shown outside of their own country.
Gabriel Hošovský’s work
expresses the futility of surviving in a system that gives him little hope. He has no more place to go, he is pushed into a corner. The 54 minute hauntingly beautiful film of
is a ethereal poem about the experiences of the child, the young man and the adult. It is a trinity of his own destiny. He remembers the absurd rigors of the communist past through images which strangely detach themselves from the reality of those years.
is born and bred in Hong Kong. He insisted that his work to be staged under the flight of stairs inside Experimenta. He wanted to disappear.
It is a summary of questions about existence It is a summary of questions about existence and security of and security of the future via their own the future via their own steps. The artist climb up tall tress steps. The artist climb up tall tress around around the city, and stand at the tip of the branches. Then, the city, and stand at the tip of the branches. he uses an electric chainsaw to cut the branches. The viewer Then, he uses an electric chainsaw to cut the can see he falls very hard each time. branches. The viewer can see he falls very hard each time.
Miscellany XIII Gabriel Hošovský (Slovak Republic) Video, 09:18 min, 2012 Slovakia
G. H. was born in 1966 in Poprad, in Slovak Republic, he lives and works in Bratislava. He is graduated in Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, Department of Architecture. In 1988 he founded with Martin Knut, Miloš Novák and Rudolf Sikora the artist group Syzýgia, a significant representative of Transavanguardia movement in former Czechoslovakia. From 2004 he starts to realize projects in various media – photography, public art, video and self edited vis-ual and 44
text projects. In 1992 he was one of the finalist at the competition for the project of Czechoslovak Pavilion Expo in Seville,. His works are in collections of East Slovak Gallery in Košice, in Galerie Pohlhammer in Steyr, Austria. Routinely and efficiently, Gabriel Hošovský paves the way to his own downfall as he cuts off the branches he is sitting on. An understandable practice, it seems, for those who have lived behind the repression. These performances, which are enacted in a post-Soviet scenario, affect the viewer as if they were the alarming message of a worldly-wise man. It doesn’t matter if the rhetorics of socio-economic crises prove to be correct or not – or are we going to act as clever as he does?
arrived at his language of signs by a nonacademic route. Hošovský’s sign language is legible even after a longish lapse of time, because it is not linked directly to the standard, period romanticizing production in our countries. A painting of his exhibited at the Vinohrady Market in Prague showing stags with the word socialism across their antlers was censored. Few noted at the time that Hošovský was not concerned with the liberating, critical practice of modernism, but with two signs of a universal language. In reality he put us in a Kollerian “universal cultural situation”, to which only a question mark can be affixed – a game without an unequivocal outcome, a concept of a game without a victor.
His later transcriptions of photographic records of the most banal situations appear outwardly like the return of a real-istic view to some sort of “reality” of social life. Hošovský, however, only brings it to an irritat-ing proximity in which we perceive it as pseudo-documentation and nostalgia turned on its head. His path between signs leads from complex, pre-told legends to a simple, hopelessly inane topic. What is fundamental is that he turns away from painting by means of painting itself. The images constitute a critique of painting using its own means (“bad painting – good art”). They chastise Utopias, transcendence, authenticity and good taste by means of con-sciously displayed ineptitude.
Experimenta : Your work is intense and you have put yourself in danger while filming it. Could you tell us your life experience that made you perform this work?
“Our countries lacked the courage for such a pseudo-analytical form akin to DaDa, Fluxus and the authentic “bad” painting of Albert Oehlen or Martin Kippenberger.” Similarly, Hošovský's sculptures, ironizing the entire discipline itself, are little appreciated in the domestic environment, but the absurdity of the volume of work invested in inane themes testifies to a singular attitude that pushes banality to extremes and turns away from the favoured transavantgarde model. Hošovský’s rule number 1 says:
‘Life goes on.’
Hošovský: Maybe it was from a desire for touch and danger as basic modes of existence. This is one of my several projects in which I seek answers to questions about our existence, what we do here and how we live. I try to answer these questions and to express them as clearly and as simply as possible. For me, the video Miscellany XIII. brings simple and clean ways of acting to the edge of my expe-rience while shooting. It is a search of some imaginary ‘zero point’. I am looking for a point that demands that I get rid of all formal elements of art. The question is, how much art is still left?
H = Hošovský E = Experimenta E: Who are the filmmakers or video artists who had inspired you? H: I cannot name any particular inspirational source or medium. If I wanted to put my film in context, I would rather mention my series of booklets (Miscellanies) that I have been working on since 2010. My previous projects were not film related, they were photo-, text- and mixed media concepts.
E : What are your other work and are they related to this work, maybe with the same theme? H: Seeking answers to essential questions – unlike in the art we experience nowadays – is part of my ongoing project to explore fundamental answers using simplified questions, such as: What? Where? What is art? Where is art? – series of photographs from my trip across Eu-rope – Miscellany VIII and IX). I also work with the idea of “lost and found identity” by repainting found works by unknown dead naïve artist who used the same initials, ‘GH’ as I do. Additionally, I look for possible connections between published photographs that never had anything in common; or I intui-tively search for new relations between common situations along with the presentation of hu-man characters through their portraits (upcoming video project ‘victims and offenders’).
editing will work, after Isidor Isou`s model “Venom and Eternity”. Usually the memory is revealing memories with many uncertainties, especially in the affective zone, so that the image of a further past becomes more or less deceitful.
There are moments when you ask yourself: “is what I remember real or delusional?
Becul peticit sau autobiografia unei iluzii
From the small town of Hârlău in Romania,
Slovakia Gheorghe Sfaiter (Romania) Video, 56min, 2012
the I.A.T.C. I.L. Caragiale from Bucharest and was an employee of the Agricultural Direction from the Timis county.
Gheorghe Sfaiter graduated from
Gheorghe Sfaiter’s awards include Cinéma Mediterranéen” Montpellier , France ; Special Commendation at Prix CIRCOM Regional for Timisoara, La Bohéme ;A.P.T.R. award for Ava… mehr als ein Phantombild; Grand Prix at Pastoralisme & Grands Espaces – Grenoble, France. “First of all I have to mention that this film is my practical application of my PhD, entitled: “Fragmentation, ecletism and deconstruction in visual-cinetic arts” in which I have tried to see how a discrepant 48
This film is an experiment in which the frames gradually and rhythmically compose, like the bricks of a wall, the structure of a visual poem that recovers states, thoughts and emotions of a real past that is deflected by memories towards a chimerical dimension. The absurd rigors of the communist past ethereally jumble, so diluting their corrosive substance through images which strangely detach themselves from the reality of those years. The experiences of the child, the young man and the adult, in fact the personification of phase perception, chaotically blend, suspended in an imaginary world, supported however by elements that could not be more real.
“A small impasse …”
For the sequence “Fantasy” in which the rugby players, the girlfriend with the harp and the student “meet” in surrealist spirit to give a metaphorical, symbolic meaning to the image, we chose the greatest rugby team in town. They were all very kind and gave us their training time, a most valuable time in fact, and that is why at the third or fourth rehearsal they asked, however:
“Why do this?”
“Well …” I tried slightly embarrassed to explain that it is a film that mixes in a confused and metaphorical manner memories, desires and events in my life … and saw that the perplexity on their faces was even bigger . “Boys … (I came to myself …) … when I was younger, I also played rugby like you and ob-viously I wanted a beautiful girlfriend as well … but you can’t have it all!” “Oh, OK, now it’s clear … come on, boys, let’s form the scrUlysse Price.”
Disappear Jonathan Ebron (Hong Kong) Video, 9:24 minutes, 2013
Synopsis To exist we must work, we must obey, we must be apart of what is accepted. The more I try to conform, however, the more I cease to exist. In this experimental video sound, poetry, and motion come together to embody the feeling of disappearance. My art was first about exploring religion: my mother is a nun and I was an altar boy. I started to paint and had a lot to express, but no one really cared about what I wanted to say, so my work became minimal and I started to explore with light. In Hong Kong, it is mostly about sell-ing but not making art. My experience with Experimenta was refreshing that Gina had no rules. We spent 30 minutes chatting about what I wanted to do, what could I work with, then it was like, “OK, let’s do it.”
Jonathan Ebron is born and bred in
Hong Kong. His family originated from the Philippines but Jonathan had only visited the country a few times in his life. For Jonathan, Hong Kong has always been his one and only home. But throughout this life, he felt ignored and oppressed by the majority Chinese people in Hong Kong. He told me that the government sent the Asian 50
ethnic children to one school in Kowloon. And that school had very little resources and the teachers were under qualified. They were not allowed to learn Chinese. So when they grow up, many of his classmates could only get jobs waiting tables at restaurants, or singing in bars and lounges. His anguish is one of the reasons I thought I had to curate this exhibition. 51
LOCATION LOCATION #Power
#PROVOCATION There are five key words that would describe our activities :
Experimentation - Underground - Creative Process Contemporary - Confident But the word “ Confident “ is the most important motto. That is because Experimenta strives not just to resist the financial and political powers, but also to resist operating according to the rules of the socalled art world. Our audience, our public, and our listeners are not of the people around us. Experimenta is not here to please or to be accepted by the immediate people alive now. The real public and the art world we are waiting for will be in 20 years or in 50 years’ time.
Tacit Knowledge Ah-Kok Wong Sound installation Show : 09-31/03/2012
Tacit Knowledge is a solo installation of music, sound and video by Ah-Kok Wong. As a composer, underground musician, cultural activist, and teach-er, Ah-Kok Wong is concerned with revealing the emotional and existential realities hidden behind rhetorical masks. Ah-Kok works frequently with Hong Kong youth, and his insight into their lives — as well as their empathy with him — comes in part
from his own role as one of the most outspoken members of Hong Kong’s ‘post-80’s’ generation of grass-roots activists. Ah-Kok’s site-specific installation Tacit Understanding, was devel-oped within the context of the Stigmatics Project, a collaborative, cross-disciplinary project also involving artist Angela Su, cultural historian Sander L. Gilman, and curator Valerie C. Doran, exploring issues related to the phenomenon of self-mutilation practices in both contemporary society and artistic practice.
Thoughts from Ah-Kok
In Tacit Understanding, Ah-Kok documents through film and sound a series of interviews he conducted with female high-school students whom he has met in the course of his work and who self-harm. In the interviews, Ah-Kok asks each of them the same series of questions, but the recordings of their answers are partially muted and further broken down by the artist into fragments. Some of these fragments can be heard onscreen, while others are embedded into the soundscape of recorded music, effects, noise and speech. For Ah-Kok, the attempt to express something that is often inexpressible, even to oneself, and the act of bearing witness to that attempt, are even more important than the content of the answers to his questions. The ‘tacit understanding’ comes from experience ra-ther than explanation. Created especially for the Experimenta site, AhKok’s installation has an organic, physical and atmospheric link to Angela Su’s The Hartford Girl and Other Stories, which was executed, filmed and photographed in the same space and in the same setting. 56
“My exhibition with Experimenta in 2012, Tacit Knowledge, was about self-inflicted pain showing two extremes- psychological state of secondary school students’ self harming, and an extreme political statement of Tibet monks self-burning.
Hurt, in order to heal. As a secondary school teacher at the time, my students could easily connect to me and I understood them through my personal experience as a teenager. Through interviewing a few secondary school students, I understood self-harming is very different from suicide. Although the students could not clearly express the intentions, they generally wanted to let people know of their inner pain. Maybe it is a way of expressing that they needed help, that something was wrong and they wanted to get better. I think the city “illness” here is that we often have trouble expressing feelings.” When it comes to self-inflicted harms, one must focus on the con-text of a society. I remember there was a blog; it was a documenta-tion of the blogger’s amputation carried out on his own body. He is imperfect as a whole; with surgery, he takes away the unwanted body parts. What’s striking to me is that this blog has many supporters.
“In the exhibition, a soundscape installation showcased a mashed-up dialogue of a student interview, leaving a rearranged ambiguous discourse and plenty of imaginary space to audience. A scarred arm inspired me to recreate the sounds of the wavelengths. That sound would be a constant backdrop to the exhibition. I removed almost all visual elements in the small, darkened Experimenta space, creating a unique, claustrophobic feeling. This dark-ened environment takes away your usual sense of distance and space.”
“For the final part of this installation, an artwork made from burning paper cups symbolises the self-burning monks of Tibet.
1. Making Sense I interviewed three teenage girls, asking about their thoughts and opinions on selfharming acts among their generation. Then I took the responses away, only mumblings and verbal quirks can be heard. 3. Burning Speakers 18 paper-cup speakers were made, produces a very tiny, fragile sound. From the missing sentences in the interview that I edit out, I chose some important lines and I played them through these speakers. Speakers were set on fire, the sound it generates changes while it burns. Soon, speakers does not speaks anymore, but the sound that generates from burning took over.
They turned their petition to their gods in another world by ending their lives as no one on earth would listen to their accusations. Since 27/2/2009, 26 Tibetans have been confirmed to have self-immolated. 21 men, and 5 women. Among them, 18 have died following their protest.* I did not intend to be so political, but I am a reflexive and spontane-ous person; my art, music and writing reflect that.” *numbers from http://www.savetibet.org
2. The Waves I interviewed three teenage girls, asking about their thoughts and opinions on selfharming acts among their generation. Then I took the responses away, only mumblings and verbal quirks can be heard.
4. Paper Singing Bowl Climbing out from all the noise, I made a pair of speakers with the most common, fragile paper cups, and piece of music composed by using Singing Bowls can be heard, if covered on one’s ears.
To watch this interview,download the WedCam app, place your Smartphone over the photo.
An afternoon with Ah-Kok January 2016
I chatted with whenever I had time during the exhibition setup peri-od, as I was deeply interested in traditional crafts. I remember he mentioned how wood expansion was calculated accurately during traditional woodcraft construction, so the furniture would not break in all seasons. I knew that he didn’t have much business per year and was susceptible to any rise in rents; same as Experimenta for showcasing art and film projects that were not for sale.
location : Tai Wai Hong Kong
“I started playing music and writing music critics from his teenage years in England out of bordom, where my worldview developed on bands and lyrics I listened to. I heard about Mexican Revolution and anarchism through the bands at that time, I might not get to know these if I didn’t hear these music.”
Being a non-activist “Not many people care about social issues, or know where their citizen responsibility lies. On top of that, the oppressed usually stand from the perspective of the oppressors, and turns around to oppress even weaker groups.
an educator and a writer “The music people think I am an activist; activists think I am an edu-cator; the educators think I am a music person. Music has its limita-tions. There are thoughts that have to be expressed rationally in words. Now, I would prefer to write an essay than a new song. But my love of reading and writing are rooted from my love of music. Apart from music, I also write about politics and art. I believe cul-ture and art are basic human rights.
leisure time as human rights “Having cultural right is to have leisure time - having the time to nur-ture ideas and understand art in depth. Hong Kong’s cultural and art development is in a third-world state, not because of lack of wealth nor resources, but people are too busy to look at art even within their grasp.” “The first culprit would be the high levels of rent in Hong Kong. Comparing with rent control policy in New York, San Francisco and cities in Germany, the simple human rights of having a space to live became a luxury in Hong Kong.
People in Hong Kong are so busy due to the world’s highest (and unaffordable) rent, because they need to make end’s meet by get-ting an extra job.Many university graduates continue to go toevening training classes, hoping for a higher paying job in the future. Some believe they do not deserve leisure time; they have been part of a hyperactive education system and then a hypercompetitive workforce all their lives.“
Experimenta against property landlords “There was a wooden furniture-repairing master studio, located right next to Experimenta on a back alley on Hollywood Road. Gina ( Experimenta’s founder ) affectionately called him “Uncle Man”.
The term ‘activist’ is quite tricky. Instead of waiting for someone else to fight for your rights, one should right for one’s own rights. Activism is not merely taking extreme actions - education could be an activist act, such as educating male on female rights and concept of female. Apart from education, art could also be an activist act, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s book, The Left Hand of Darkness, she depicted a planet without gender, questioning how a gender-less world would function.” Experimenta is a rarity in Hong Kong. It is an activist act in itself, being founded and operated by one woman without any support from the government. That gives them freedom and true independence.
Tacit Knowledge Related Events The Hartford Girl and Other Stories video and photographs by Angela Su Gallery Exit 09-31/03/2012
The Boundary and the Paradox, discussion forum with Sander L. Gilman Asia Art Archive 22/03/2012
Valerie C. Doran (Guest Curator)
Ah-Kok Wong is a composer, writer, musician and cultural activist based in Hong Kong. Wong studied Music Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, England, Currently teaching Ordinary Culture and Creativity at Lingnan University, and Soundscape and Hong Kong Culture at the Baptist University of Hong Kong. He is a broadcast DJ and guitarist for the jazz-rock and experi-mental band Pusshitachi, and spokesman of the Revitalization In-dependence Partnership, an organization countering government schemes which lead to the destruction of grassroots art spaces. Ah-kok is one of the founding members of live space Hidden Agen-da, Hong Kong.
Valerie C Doran is an independent curator, critic, and translator in the field of contemporary Chinese art with a special interest in cul-tural crosscurrents and comparative art theory. Her curatorial projects have included the exhibition ‘Looking for Antonio Mak’ at Hong Kong Museum of Art (200809) and ‘Hope and Glory’ (Hong Kong and Bejing, 2009-2010). She writes on Chinese contemporary art and has translated a number of texts by major Chinese art theorists and critics such as Li Xianting, Gao Shiming and Gao Xingjian. Doran is a member of Asia Art Archive’s Academic Advisory Board and the Gallery Advisory Committee of the Asia Society Hong Kong, and is a contributing editor of Orientations magazine. Valerie had lived in Hong Kong since 1992. In 2014, she re-joined Hanart TZ Gallery as a curator.