Author: Brady Ng

Virtue Village

Even in the most diverse communities, clusters of people must share culture, space and experiences for bonds to form. As individuals mingle and interact with each other, their identities are sculpted by external forces. We may conform to norms established by others, or rebel to smash the status quo and shatter homogeneity.  Village Porn, the first major solo presentation by the artist duo Virtue Village, formed by Joseph Chen and Cas Wong, deploys the visual grammar of BDSM, auto repair and shibari, layered with urban grime, queerness and anal sex, all dropped into PHD Group’s raw space in Wanchai. The show started with RUSH (all works 2022), a digital print that spans more than 5.5 metres to present an orgiastic mishmash of sparse references pointing in different conceptual directions, with a couple of visuals that thread through other works in the show – flames and hearts.  More interesting was the physical presentation of RUSH at PHD. A shallow bed of dirt ran along the wall on which the print hung, with several green plants situated …

Sin Wai Kin 單慧乾

Even if you don’t like boy bands, chances are you know the lyrics to at least one song that topped the charts, with harmonised backing vocals by four or five young men in their 20s, each with a different haircut and colour, each dressed in a distinct style: sporty, refined, street-smart, bad boy, whatever. Maybe one raps, maybe one is a crooner, and the others are just kind of there to add a few layers of audio complexity to their tracks and for visual completion. As fans, we project our expectations or desires onto them. These identities, each one a trope, are sculpted to sell records, move merch and pull millions of paying fans into arenas for concerts. As receptacles of fantastical fancy, or delusion, every member of a boy band not so much offers the emotional gratification that so many people are after, but simply functions as an imagined companion that radiates affection. This peaked in 1997, when the Backstreet Boys sang I don’t care who you are / Where you’re from / What …

Andrew Luk 陸浩明 & Samuel Swope

More than a decade ago, futurists and techno-hobbyists started to pronounce with unalloyed confidence that drones would upend the way we live. Aside from widely publicised use cases for the military, law enforcement and surveillance, the proposition was that they could also provide entertainment through photography or as general playthings, while others could automate tasks for us, like robotic cleaners or all-seeing autonomous security guards that watch over homes from above. As social and cultural developments iterate and unfold, technological advancements that ostensibly make our lives easier come with strings attached. Yet the overarching concern is velocity – prosperity and power await the first to switch zero to one. The cultural theorist and philosopher Paul Virilio described this condition as “dromology”, likening the evolution of society and culture to a race. Hong Kong-based artists Andrew Luk and Samuel Swope have teamed up for a project that unpacks Virillo’s observation. To make their point, the duo built a racetrack for drones in de Sarthe’s gallery space. Luk and Swope sound like architects when they describe what …