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Andrew Luk 陸浩明, Stacey Chan 陳樂珩, Lau Wai 劉衛, Ip Wai Lung 葉惠龍, Moses Tan

Museum of Half Truths / 1a space / Hong Kong / Aug 8 – 30, 2020/ Brady Ng /

The International Council of Museums cannot agree on what a museum does – or should be. The dispute dates back to 2016, when the organisation began to examine whether its definition of a museum, which has remained relatively unchanged for more than four decades, was outmoded.

Each of us, though, in our gut, carries notions about what these institutions are. That was the starting point for Museum of Half Truths, an exhibition curated by Rachael Burns and Polly Palmerini for the nonprofit 1a space in Hong Kong. Originally intended to have both in-person and online components, the show was moved to entirely virtual form with clickable navigation that includes Soundcloud and Vimeo links because – well, you know why.

Andrew Luk’s spray foam sculptural form containing a video monitor, Traversing Hollow Ground (2020), shows footage shot in a tunnel that was carved by slave labour during Hong Kong’s occupation by Japanese military forces during the Second World War. Stacey Chan’s dictionary with all “positive” words rubbed out with an eraser, Negative Space (2018), is complemented by An Absolute Positivity (2018), a black ball of eraser shavings formed through her labour.

In the two-channel video I am invincible… on the screen/False motion tracking (2019-20), Lau Wai used a smartphone app to superimpose new dialogue on scenes from Hollywood movies and TV shows that featured characters of Chinese heritage, including cases where Caucasian actors were cast in their place. Lau then re-enacted these scenes while wearing a motion capture suit, misdirecting the viewer about her production process.

Ip Wai Lung’s Karma Cycle (2019) shows the artist wearing 3M gloves, a staple of Hong Kong protesters, and costumed as a female Chinese opera lead, invoking a remnant of the ban on women sharing a stage with men that was in place until the early 1930s. In this make-up and garb, Ip uses exercise equipment to work out, play-acting the process of toning muscles.

And Moses Tan’s collection of works unpack the paved-over queer history of Singapore’s Bugis Street in graphite drawings, an eight-channel audio installation and the video Slow Steps (2018), which features two presumably queer people who sway slowly to a remix of Leonard Cohen’s Boogie Street, a song from 2001 that was inspired by Bugis.

Burns and Palmerini’s intended playfulness came through in Lau Wai’s video, but didn’t quite land elsewhere in the show. Perhaps it was because we could only visit their “museum” through a screen. But these were the first steps in a much larger project that challenges a class of institution whose core characteristics have remained relatively unchanged for centuries – a type of establishment with a loaded meaning in Hong Kong and China, from the museum glut north of the border to controversies surrounding buildings in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Despite the curators’ best intentions, there was a disconnection between the show and what’s happening here, now.

Image: Exhibition view. Courtesy the artists and 1a space.


國際博物館協會未能就博物館的機能或是應有的作用達成共識。此番爭議源於2016年,當時協會開始審視其40多年前對博物館所做的界定是否已變得不合時宜。

不過,我們每個人心中對博物館都有著自己的解讀,這便是展覽「Museum of Half Truths」的念頭緣起。是次由Rachael Burns 和Polly Palmerini擔任策展,在香港非牟利畫廊1a空間展出。展覽原計劃包含實體及和網上兩個部份,最後改為全部於網上虛擬,觀者可通過.Soundcloud.和.Vimeo.兩大平臺線上導賞,原因不言而喻。

展場內,陸浩明的雕塑《穿越虛空之地》(2020年)以泡沫建構,內部放置著一台顯示器,拍攝著一條二戰日軍佔領香港期間由苦役人手挖出的隧道。陳樂珩的《負空間》(2018年)用橡皮擦掉字典中所有所謂「正面」的詞彙,一旁用擦膠碎屑組成的黑色圓球是作品《絕對正面》(2018年)。

雙聲道錄像裝置《我所向無敵…在螢幕上/ 偽動態追蹤》(2019-20年)中,劉衛從荷李活電影和電視劇中提取一些圍繞描述華人的圖像,其中也包括由白人扮演華人的畫面,再通過智能手機應用程式配上新的對白。他還穿上附有動作追蹤數據點的緊身衣重新演繹這些畫面,試圖誤導觀者對其創作過程的解讀。

葉惠龍在《業報輪迴》(2019年)裡帶著示威現場常見的3M手套,並打扮成粵劇女主角,令人聯想起在1930年代之前,女性被禁止與男性同台的禁令。穿著戲服的他使用健身器材,演繹強健肌肉的過程。

Moses Tan的鉛筆畫作、8頻道音訊裝置及錄影《緩慢腳步》(2018年)揭開了新加坡武起士街隱秘的性小眾群體的歷史。錄影中兩個像是性小眾群體的人隨著Leonard Cohen.的音樂《Boogie Street》慢慢擺動,而這首歌正是在2001年以此街道為靈感而創作的。

是次展覽唯有從劉衛的錄影作品中可以覺察到兩位策展人的玩味心,或許這是因為我們只能隔著螢幕參觀她們的「博物館」。然而此舉卻是踏出了第一步,挑戰這些機構數百年來未曾改變的核心功能。這是某種存在於香港乃至中國的既定的負載意義,遍佈在北部眾多的博物館到有關西九龍文化區建築爭議性。可惜儘管策展人有著這樣的初衷美意,實際呈現的還是略有差距。

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