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New Horizons: Ways of Seeing Hong Kong Art in the 80s and 90s

New Horizons: Ways of Seeing Hong Kong Art in the 80s and 90s
Until April 24, 2022 

Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA)
10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Mon – Wed, Fri 10am – 6pm
Sat, Sun, Public holidays 10am – 7pm

The development of Hong Kong art reached a critical juncture in the 1980s and 1990s. Numerous young artists, having graduated in Hong Kong or returned to the city after studying aboard, dedicated themselves to exploring new artistic forms and expressions through their creations. This enabled the rise of installation art, new media, contemporary photography, etc., and brought vibrancy to art creation in Hong Kong. The New Horizons: Ways of Seeing Hong Kong Art in the 80s and 90s exhibition being held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) examines the new trends and breakthroughs in contemporary art in Hong Kong during the era. 

With a two-year project of interviews, research and consolidation, the HKMoA worked closely with guest curator Janet Fong and her team, and invites visitors to look at the breakthroughs and accomplishments of Hong Kong artists in a new light. This was achieved through showcasing artworks by seven representative artists and artist collectives, restaging iconic art spaces of the time, and presenting archives and documents.

The exhibits include a new edition of Chan Yuk-keung’s mixed media installation Vertical Rye Field; May Fung’s video installation work She Said Why Me; Joseph Fung’s photographic works Shenzhen SeriesEast/West Diptychs and a series of 3D digital images, Butterfly Dream Series; Ellen Pau’s iconic work Recycling Cinema; and Choi Yan-chi’s reinterpretation of her installation Butterfly Dream as Smoke and of her video As Slow as Possible.

In addition to innovative creations by the artists, the exhibition has rebuilt the site-specific project Coffee Shop, created in 1998 by the founding members of Para Site (formerly Para/Site), including Tsang Tak-ping, Leung Chi-wo, Sara Wong, Patrick Lee, Phoebe Man, Leung Mee-ping and the second-generation member Anthony Leung. By turning the art space into a makeshift café, the artists display their experimental works in the venue to invite viewers to interact with the work and the site. The exhibition also has reconstructed the art space of the NuNaHeDuo Centre of Photography in the 1990s and showcases the photographic works by the five co-founders members Lee Ka-sing, Holly Lee, Patrick Lee, Lau Ching-ping and Blues Wong.

Dai Fujiwara The Road of My Cyber Physical Hands at HKDI Gallery

Until March 28, 2021 (Closed on Tuesdays) /

Hong Kong Design Institute & Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education / (Lee Wai Lee), 3 King Ling Rd, Tseung Kwan O, NT /  
新界將軍澳景嶺路3號香港知專設計學院HKDI Gallery

Registration required: 

HKDI Gallery is honoured to stage the exhibition Dai Fujiwara The Road of My Cyber Physical Hands, the renowned Japanese designer Dai Fujiwara’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, co-organised with DAIFUJIWARA AND COMPANY. Bringing creativity to textiles, product design and beyond, Dai Fujiwara is a designer who continues to transcend creative borders. This exhibition features a first ever look into his earliest works from his time as a design student, tracing the road he has travelled through to his most recent creations.

The exhibition at HKDI Gallery is a conversation between the present and the future, capturing Fujiwara’s journey through different realms, from nature and technology to design, art, community and society; and travels through the past, present and future, blurring the borders of each. 

A cross-media live performance – In Sync: Music in Motion

In Sync: Music in Motion /
Mar 20 – 21 Saturday – Sunday 
Freespace, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District (MTR Kowloon Station Exit E)
$180 (No handling fee)

Hong Kong music and video artists join forces to present a cross-media live performance. Musicians including Olivier Cong, Fung Lam, Mike Yip, Narbi, Bowen Li and the newly-formed Freespace Ensemble perform various genre-defying music. Simultaneously, video artists exhibit visually stunning short films in the background, creating an innovative audio-visual experience. Buy tickets now.

The programme is a celebration of rearrangements, featuring a revamped version of Olivier Cong’s spellbinding The Interpretation of Milou’s Dream with Linus Chan’s video. The audio-visual piece tells an introspective story and brings solace after an isolating year.

The Freespace Ensemble, a new group-in-residence at Freespace, will make their debut by playing Fung Lam’s rearranged pieces, including Reminiscence (taken from Hong Kong Episodes), under the backdrop of the visual works by Jess Lau Ching-wa and Anthony Lai. Mike Yip will collaborate with Narbi and Bowen Li to twine their compositions around the films by Prescott Law Ho-pui and Wong Cheuk-man.

About Freespace
Freespace – Hong Kong’s new centre for contemporary performance in the heart of the West Kowloon Art Park – presents multi-genre performances and events, produces boundary-pushing collaborations, and promotes new ways of seeing and experiencing performance. Partnering with emerging and established artists from Hong Kong and around the world, Freespace nurtures diverse creative voices and bring works that challenge and redefine the role of performing arts for our age.
Getting to Freespace:

Reopening: Francis Alÿs and Mika Rottenberg at Tai Kwun Contemporary

Tai Kwun Contemporary has reopened on March 4! /

Wet feet __ dry feet: borders and games
Solo exhibition by Francis Alÿs

Curators: Xue Tan, Sunjung Kim
Co-presented with Art Sonje Seoul
Now till March 28

Solo exhibition by Mika Rottenberg

Curator: Tobias Berger
Presenter: Tai Kwun Contemporary
Now till March 31

Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong 
10 Hollywood Road 
Central, Hong Kong
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 7pm

𝘞𝘦𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘵 __ 𝘥𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘵: 𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴 gathers for the first time in Hong Kong important recent works by Francis Alÿs, one of the most influential conceptual artists of our time. Presented on the 1/F, the exhibition is structured around the artist’s interests in migration and borders, and his fascination with children’s games from around the world. This solo exhibition highlights his poetic, imaginative sensibility, anchored by geopolitical concerns and individual will while being grounded in everyday life.⁠

We are excited to welcome all visitors again with the debut presentation of Francis Alÿs’s two newly commissioned videos that he specially created in Hong Kong for Tai Kwun Contemporary.

Mika Rottenberg’s 𝙎𝙉𝙀𝙀𝙕𝙀 also continues on the 3/F gallery, presenting immersive video installations about surreal alternative worlds of global everyday life. With an engaging yet rigorous artistic practice combining film, architectural installation, and sculpture, Mika Rottenberg is fascinated by processes of labour and of technology as well as the effects of distance and the production of value in our contemporary world.

Social Distancing Measures: Tai Kwun will adhere to the latest health and safety regulations and enforce social distancing measures.

About Tai Kwun Contemporary
Tai Kwun Contemporary is the contemporary art programming arm of Tai Kwun dedicated to showcasing contemporary art exhibitions and programmes as platforms for a continually expanding cultural discourse in Hong Kong. Operated by the contemporary art team, Tai Kwun Contemporary is an integral part of Tai Kwun at the Central Police Station compound, Hong Kong.

Ng Tsz-kwan 吳子昆

A multimedia artist and designer, Ng Tsz-kwan (b.1972) proposes various and reflexive modes of artistic experience based on a poetics of language that unfolds at the borderline of performance. Ng graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and later earned his master’s at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. In 2006, he co-founded multimedia design company Yucolab. His artistic practice draws from these experiences yet also departs from them. It mainly develops in two experimental directions: immersive, multisensory installations and space-oriented installations based on decontextualised, fragmented moving images. For Ng, “What we see is how we see”. His installations often question and explore the medium of the cinema and the relationships that the audience entertains with moving images in order to open up the space between them. Recently, he created an automated mobile chair that travels along a railway track within the exhibition space, a way for viewers to encounter his works while in motion, on a journey he controls. He disengages from narratives and linear modes of thinking in favour of open-ended experiences that trigger and nurture imagination.

One Minute of Void by Ng Tsz-kwan, Mixed media installation, 2019. Courtesy the artist. 

Caroline Ha Thuc: Solitude is one of your most important series of work. It provides a very original cinematographic experience, in which an automated moving chair navigates between the works so the viewer sees the installations from specific angles and distances and for specific durations. How did you come up with such a device?
Ng Tsz-kwan: I began my art journey as a painter yet quickly I tried to include 3D and time on the canvas: I used to project small images in the corners of my paintings to give them depth and to add a temporal dimension. I realised that these projections changed my relationships with the images I projected; according to the medium and the frames that I used, the perception and meaning of the images changed. This is perhaps the point of departure for my later research on screens and the cinema, and on how modes of viewing impact the audience’s experience. When you watch a movie on the tiny screens of a plane, on your mobile phone or in a movie theatre, the physical distance from the screen is often optimised. 

However, what if you sit far from the screen or very close? I started my experiences with very small screens that I displayed very far from the viewer; all you could see were vague images, and you could only guess what was happening on the monitor. I was wondering if such an apparatus would trigger the audience’s curiosity.

CHT: Did it work? Did you notice any changes in viewers’ perception and understanding of moving images?
NTK: I am not so sure yet and it takes time; I am still testing different modes of viewing. When I first implemented my moving chair device, I realised that some settings did not work. It was in 2018 for Solitude 1 at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre. The viewer was sitting on the chair, which stopped seven times along the journey. At that time, I worked with old Hong Kong movie footage, displayed variously on different supports and projected in different sizes. In the last part, entitled Ending that Never Ends, I juxtaposed many screens featuring the last scenes of these movies, which are all happy endings. I wanted to play with this idea: since there was no narrative in the experience of cinema I proposed, what could a happy ending mean? The projections were huge and offered an immersive experience within this “happiness”, yet it seems that the audience took it literally and did not understand that I was challenging their habits of watching movies and their usual expectations. 

CHT: You leave the audience alone in front of the works, hence the title. Where does this idea come from?
NTK: I noticed that in Hong Kong people do not go to the movies alone and seldom watch a movie at home on their own. I like being alone and I am a bit claustrophobic so I had this idea of a singular experience of cinema, in which I would have the space just for myself.

CHT: Paradoxically, as viewers, we are left alone but we are not free to wander among the installation since you are controlling our viewing experience. By strengthening these constraints, are you emphasising the gaps that inevitably separate spectators from moving images?
NTK: I actually did not think too much about this issue of freedom before the recent Hong Kong protests. Since then, all works related to any kind of surveillance and control can be interpreted politically, but this was not my intent. When you see a movie in a theatre, you are in fact trapped for at least two hours: you cannot stand up, pause or walk around. You cannot zoom in and zoom out. When you sit in my automated moving chair, it is true that you have no choice but to look at the works the way I envision it. However, under these constraints, you may discover another relationship with moving images that brings another form of freedom.

CHT: After Solitude 1, you did not use movie footage any more but your own images. Why?
NTK: After testing the vocabulary of this setting, I wanted to create my own sentences and own sceneries, so I began shooting the images myself. For Solitude 2, the work had to dialogue with another installation by Japanese artist Tsuda Michiko which pertained to flight travel, and I shot some images in two MTR stations: Prince Edward and Tuen Mun. In Hong Kong, we were in the middle of the protests and it was difficult to think of something else: these two stations were important sites of the movement, yet I did not wish to refer directly to the street violence. I chose to shoot the exact moment when the stations were closing, when the gates are closed but when the lights are still on. I was interested in that moment of transition. For me, the monitors’ screens become like windows, as if someone were peeping outside: the images constantly zoomed in and out to express these movements. 

Solitude Cinema by Ng Tsz-kwan, Multimedia installation, 2018. Courtesy the artist. 

CHT: For Solitude 3 (2020) at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, the first stop of the journey was titled The End of the Road, which I found rather amusing, if not totally cynical. Because of the moving chair, we inevitably create connections between all the discontinued and isolated elements of the installation, as if we were following the wanderings of our own minds, including the gaps and confusions. How did you conceive this journey that started from the end?
NTK: There is no linearity, no narrative. This road refers to a road near my place, and I liked the idea of beginning with a small corridor made from projected images. Although they might look like various works, they function as a whole and the different parts cannot be separated. The visual experience that I propose is fragmented yet all the images are somehow connected, and I hope that they can form a consistent set. At first, I tried to respond to the specificities of the site, and this is why I decided to include a moon on the large wall that is above the balcony railing. I do not like so much relying on intuition, yet this is how I started. For example, the small dark room triggered my desire to lighten everything up and this is why I created a fire room, with images of a fire burning. I worked from these initial intuitions to create the different sets that probably reflect my psychological state.

CHT: In the middle of the space, there are old-fashioned monitors with small screens featuring images of Buddhist statues. They look marginalised because they cannot be reached by the moving chair. 
NTK: Yes, you need to walk back into the space to see them. I felt there could be no time limit to meet these gods. I did some research about Chinese stories pertaining to gods: if you are one of them, you must have a duty. For example, the god of the kitchen protects the food, and the goddess of the sea protects fishermen. However, when they are abandoned, they lose these duties and somehow become free. I was wondering what they could do with such freedom and imagining how they might hang out. In the Chinese language there is even a term for that: 散仙.

CHT: One could say that you are more interested in the language of the cinema when it is deprived of its communication and narrative features. Is it the texture of images that interests you the most, or perhaps their imaginative potential?
NTK: I try to stay away from any forms of narrative in order to explore different modes of language. In literature, American writer Raymond Carver does that very well: his fragmented pieces are usually uncompleted, but they are very strong and remain with you for a long time. In my installations, I feel fine if people just catch some impressions and leave with a feeling of frustration. 

CHT: Is this poetics of language that you are exploring the very antithesis of what you are doing as a designer with Yucolab, your commercial company
NTK: Sure, I guess I am reacting to my commercial work too. When you design advertisements, you need to include a message every second. The usual use of tight framing, enhanced contrast in composition, fast rhythm and shorter shots are conceived to keep the attention of viewers who otherwise are constantly distracted. This is probably why I am focusing on different forms of language that are not merely instrumentalised for communication purposes. Ideally, I would also love to have only one person as an audience.

CHT: The curator, in his statement, refers to Plato’s cave in describing the installation: what is your relationship with reality? Do you feel that we have lost contact with the real world?
NTK: To be honest, I don’t feel comfortable with virtual reality, although it is a powerful technology which can generate more complete spatial experiences. Sure, somehow we have lost this contact with reality and I won’t pass judgement on this lack of interest. However, for me, physical forms or spatial experiences remain much more intriguing.

Solitude Cinema Ver. 4 by Ng Tsz-kwan, Multimedia installation, 2020. Courtesy the artist. 

CHT: You also created installations such as Breathe IN Breathe OUT (2019) and One Minute of Void (2019) that seem to offer the pure pleasure of being transported into a multisensory environment. What is your drive for such creations?
NTK: These two immersive installations are indeed quite different from Solitude, and I am still looking for a way to connect them. They focus on experiences of mindfulness. For instance, I conceive One Minute of Void as the external embodiment of a meditation process, when someone scans his or her own body. The mind focuses on each part of the body while breathing regularly and deeply. Similarly, in the installation, waves of light are browsing the space. The soundtrack suggests that heavy rain is pouring outside so that the audience feels protected in this intimate and ethereal space.  

CHT: For Breathe IN Breathe OUT, you filled the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre’s art space with inflatable balloons, as if emptiness could be filled with empty forms. You often seem to refer to the void and to the importance of breath.
NTK: I have been influenced by former classmates who became monks. The balloons represent waves breaking and, metaphorically, they embody the intimate struggles one is engaged in against his or her own mind. I wanted to reflect on this moment, when one can let go his or her thoughts, so all the balloons are flying yet, from their intrinsic forms, they still bear the traces of these struggles. I am interested in the creation of spaces where people feel like taking a break, meditating or even hanging out. They would function like shelters.

CHT: What is your next project?
NTK: I am working with visual artist Ivy Ma on a theatre project that will take place in City Hall this year. We are trying to experiment new ways of framing art, working between performance, cinema and visual arts.

吳子昆(生於1972年),多媒體藝術家兼設計師,根據表演邊緣展開的語言詩學提出藝術體驗的不同反思模式。吳子昆於1997年取得香港中文大學藝術學士學位,之後在倫敦的中央聖馬丁藝術與設計學院取得碩士學位。2006年,他聯合創立了多媒體設計公司yU+co. [lab]。他的藝術創作從這些經驗中浸淫,但亦同時偏離這些背景。他的作品在兩個實驗方向發展:非語境零散移動影像的沉浸式多感官裝置和空間為本裝置。對吳子昆來說,「我們看到的表現出我們所看的方法」。他的裝置經常帶出和探索電影的媒介以及觀眾與移動影像之間的關係,以開拓其中的空間。最近他創造了一張可以在展覽空間的路軌上遊走的自動移動座椅,讓觀眾在他的控制下移動中欣賞他的作品。他脫離了敘事和線性的思維方式,透過開放式體驗激發和培養想像力。

Caroline Ha Thuc:《Solitude》是你其中一個最重要的作品系列。自動移動的座椅在作品間導航,讓觀眾可以從特定角度和距離,以及在特定時間內觀看裝置,營造了非常創新的電影體驗。你是怎麼構想出這個裝置的?

CHT: 你認為實驗成功嗎?你認為觀眾對移動影像的感知和理解有任何變化嗎?
吳子昆: 實驗需時,目前我仍在測試不同的觀看模式,暫時還不能下定論。第一次安裝移動座椅裝置時,我發現有些設置的效果不如所想。那是2018年於上環文娛中心展出的《Solitude 1》,觀眾坐在座椅的旅程有七個站。當時我透過不同支架並以不同大小投影出各種香港懷舊電影的鏡頭,在命為「請看下回分解」的最後一部分中,我並排放置了許多播放著這些電影最後一幕的屏幕,畫面中全部都是大團圓結局。我想帶出的是既然我設定的電影體驗沒有任何敘述,那麼大團圓結局又代表什麼?那些投影非常巨大,並讓觀眾切身體驗到這種「大團圓」。不過觀眾似乎只是看到字面的意思,不知道我正在挑戰他們看電影的習慣和平常的預期。

The Wave Breaker by Ng Tsz-kwan, Mixed-media installation, 2019. Courtesy the artist. 

CHT: 你讓觀眾如題獨自觀賞作品,這個想法從何而來?
吳子昆: 我發現在香港,人們不會獨自去看電影,亦很少獨自在家看電影。我喜歡一個人,又有點幽閉恐懼症,所以我想呈現一個人看電影的體驗,自己獨佔整個空間。

CHT: 矛盾的是,觀眾雖然獨自一人,但由於你控制了我們的觀看體驗,我們不能隨意在裝置中遊走。你是否想透過加強這些限制突出無可避免地分隔開觀眾與移動影像的距離?
吳子昆: 其實在香港近期遊行示威活動前,我對自由這個議題並沒有思考太多。從那時起,所有與任何監視和控制有關的作品都會以政治角度詮釋,但這不是我的目的。在戲院看電影時,你其實會被困至少兩個小時,無法站立、暫停播放、放大和縮小畫面或四處走動 ;坐在我的自動移動座椅上時,你別無他選,只能按照我的設想觀賞作品。但在這些約束下,你可能會發現與移動影像的另一種關係,帶來另一種形式的自由。

CHT: 為什麼你在《Solitude 1》後你不再使用電影鏡頭,反而用上自己的影像?
吳子昆: 測試了那裝置的詞彙後,我想建立自己的句子和場景,因此我開始自己拍攝影像。《Solitude 2》要與日本藝術家津田道子一個關於航空旅行的裝置對話,於是我在太子和屯門的地鐵站拍攝了一些影像。因為香港那時正值示威時期,腦海中很難想到其他地方。這兩個站是運動的重要地點,然而我不想直接提及街頭暴力,我選擇了拍攝車站閘門關上但燈仍亮著的關站一刻,我對那一刻的過渡很有興趣。對我來說,屏幕就像窗戶一樣,彷彿有人在外窺看,影像不斷放大和縮小就是要表達這動作。

CHT: 在香港藝術中心的《Solitude 3》(2020年)的第一站名為「末境之路」,就算不是諷刺意味,亦饒有趣味。由於座椅會移動,我們很自然會為裝置所有斷續和獨立的元素建立聯繫,彷彿我們正跟隨自己的思想遊走,包括缺口和困惑。你如何構思這段由尾開始的旅程?


CHT: 你可說是對失去溝通和敘事功能的電影語言較感興趣。吸引你的是影像質感,還是其想像潛力?
吳子昆: 我嘗試遠離任何形式的敘述,以探索不同的語言模式。文學上,美國作家雷蒙德·卡佛的作品在這方面就發揮得非常出色。他的作品通常都零碎不完整,但卻非常有力,可以一直在你腦海中縈繞。至於我的裝置,如果人們可以留下一些印象,離開時感到沮喪,我都覺得不錯。

CHT: 你正探索的語言詩學是否與你於你的商業公司yU+co. [Lab]做的設計工作恰恰相反?
吳子昆: 當然,但我想我同時亦在回應我的商業工作。設計廣告時,你需要在每秒鐘都包含一個訊息。你通常需要使用緊密構圖、強烈構圖對比、快速節奏和較短的鏡頭來吸引觀眾注意,因為觀眾周遭有不停令其分神的事物。這可能就是我集中研究各種不僅用於交流的語言方式的原因,在最理想的情況下,我也希望可以只有一位觀眾。

CHT: 策展人在策展人語形容裝置時提及到地穴寓言,你與現實的關係又是怎樣?你認為我們與現實世界失聯了嗎?
吳子昆: 雖然虛擬實境是一種強大的技術,可以產生更完整的空間體驗,但老實說我不大喜歡。當然,在某程度上我們已經脫離現實,但我不會對失去興趣而妄下判斷。不過對我而言,物理形式或空間體驗仍然是比較有趣。

CHT: 你還創造了《深度呼吸》(2019年)和《一分鐘放空》(2019年)等裝置,這些裝置好像只是單純把觀眾帶到多感官的環境中。什麼驅使你進行這類創作?
吳子昆: 這兩個沉浸式裝置的確與《Solitude》截然不同,我仍在尋找一種聯繫它們的方法,它們專注於靜觀體驗。我將《一分鐘放空》視為冥想過程的呈現:人們會掃描自己的身體,頭腦專注於身體的各個部分,同時定期深呼吸;同樣地,裝置的燈光在空間中左右掃動模仿掃瞄的感覺。配樂營造出外面傾盆大雨的聲效,令聽眾在這個親密而超脫的空間中感到受保護。


CHT: 你下一個計劃是什麼?
吳子昆: 我正與視覺藝術家馬琼珠合作創作一個明年會於香港大會堂進行的劇院項目,我們正嘗試實驗新的藝術設計方式,於表演、電影和視覺藝術之間進行交流。

Kung Chi Shing

By Aaina Bhargava /

The first part of Kung Chi Shing’s haunting video City Inside a Broken Sky, Deep Night alternates black-and-white imagery of a construction site amid debris and scaffolding, the colonial-era building of the Oil Street Art Space, and a young boy. Familiar construction noises are interspersed with occasional wailing, an eerie, melancholic sound conveying despair. “Dark in every sense,” in the artist’s own words, the video is the first of four in a series called Soundscape, a meditation on the implications of construction, the use of public space and the city itself.

Soundscape performance, Video still. Courtesy the artist and Oi!

“Construction involves destruction,” he says. “When you destroy something, you’re erasing something that came before it, and Hong Kong is famous for erasing. Every few months an old building is gone, an old space is destroyed to build a new one.”

Soundscape was created to mark Oil Street Art Space’s expansion. With two galleries housed in a complex of historical significance, its expansion will include an indoor gallery, and an outdoor venue that will be open to the public. The space has served over the years as a yacht club during the colonial era, a monuments and antiques storage facility, and a studio space for young artists.

Using this history as a point of departure to understand the site and city today, Ivy Lin, curator of Oil Street Art Space, says the aim of the expansion is to reinvigorate audience engagement with public space by exploring ideas of sustainability, community and sharing public resources. “We would like to engage people to think about what we will be – and how they can be involved in the future space. This is why we invited Kung Chi Shing; he’s very good at creating an intimate response to the environment.”  

Originally Soundscape was supposed to be a live performance conducted at sunset, in both the construction site and the courtyard in front of Oi!, with members of the audience watching from the footbridge above, resulting in a much more immersive experience. Kung had to reimagine a pandemic-friendly version, resulting in the four-part video installation.

Soundscape performance, Video still. Courtesy the artist and Oi!

Known for his live experimental music performed during “street concerts”, Kung traversed new creative ground with Soundscape while holding firm the core concept of his practice – examining how environments, especially public spaces, are altered by music and art.

“I don’t think music should invade a place” says the artist. “It should integrate with the environment to generate something different.” He achieves this effect by extracting everyday sounds we experience in our surroundings and combining them with his experimental creations.

Kung’s street concerts began in 2009, the same time as his interest in public space was piqued, after the controversy surrounding the public area in front of Times Square. Attempted privatisation of public space and its designated use became a focal point for the artist. He was later approached by Hong Kong Arts Centre and used the space outside it to make a statement that public space shouldn’t be used for commercial purposes. He additionally organised casual street concerts in older areas of Hong Kong, such as outside the Blue House in Wan Chai, using “primitive equipment”. In staging these intimate shows, his infusion of music into their neighbourhoods brought people together in a way that broke the monotony of their daily lives.   

“It was meant to stimulate your sense beyond what you see every day,” Kung recalls. “People today are so robotic; their life is a constant routine. It’s all calculated, with a small variation of ups and downs. It’s that order that I find frustrating. I don’t want to shock people for the sake of shocking them; I want to slap them in the face and wake them up a little. Especially in Hong Kong where we’re so conservative.”

His experimental sound reached new heights in his collaborations with Peter Suart, who formed a group called The Box. It was during one of their shows that Lin first encountered Kung’s music, and recognised his practice as an artistic one.

“It’s almost making sound rather than music. From that point of view it’s close to artistic creation: musicians responding to their environment and daily issues the same way that a lot of contemporary artists do.”

Kung Chi Shing, Senior composer. Courtesy the artist and Oi!

Ultimately Kung’s response to his environment, specifically in City Inside a Broken Sky, is unexpected for audiences, which he likens to creating a “sense of displacement”. 

“Displacement is a very powerful expression. When you put things in a place where it’s not supposed to occur, that can be very powerful. It inspires you to see it in a different light.”

The impact of the hybrid soundtrack along with the dark imagery is a discomfiting one, but also one that resonates with the current climate of uncertainty, mirroring viewers’ changed relationships with and associations of public space.

BOOKED: 2021 Art Book Pop-Ups

Feb 25 – 28, 2021
Feb 25, 3 – 7pm
Feb 26 – ⁠28, 12 – ⁠7pm

Tai Kwun
10 Hollywood Road 
Central, Hong Kong

Various venues in Block 01, 03, 09
Free of charge

BOOKED: 2021, Tai Kwun Contemporary’s third annual celebration of art and publishing, features over 80 local and non-local participants—including artists, publishers, organisations, booksellers and more—presenting artist-made and artist-centred books, including zines, photo books, monographs, and critical or experimental writing, alongside associated publications and ephemera.

This year, due to the pandemic, BOOKED: 2021 is presented within various “pop-ups” throughout the heritage buildings at Blocks 01, 03, and 09, around the Parade Ground of Tai Kwun, and will adhere to the latest health and safety regulations and enforce social distancing measures. As a special “boutique” edition, BOOKED: 2021 brings together not only Hong Kong-based participants but also non-locals contributing from a distance through a special “twin” partner programme. BOOKED: 2021 also offers a programme of editions, special projects, and talks and workshops, both on-site and online, fostering a platform for creative practitioners and publishers who are invested in books as a medium of artistic and intellectual expression to share their work with public audiences.

Hong Kong: ACO Books, Asia Art Archive, Asia Publishers Services Ltd, Blindspot Gallery, brownie publishing, Chan Wai Kwong, Chan Wai Lap, Display Distribute, dotdotdot, dung1waa2, flip & roll press, Hex Editions, Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Open Printshop, Idea Publishing by HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, Ink’chacha, Kary Kwok Production, Lau Kwong Shing, Pearl Law, Lazy Press, Christy Leung, Lik Ink, MCCM Creations, Milosophy, mini press @ Tiana CloudLand, MOSSES, Mount Zero Books, Ng Sai Kit, No Reason Studio, ODD ONE OUT, Old Textbooks, ONION PETERMAN & Dry Run Press, Otter Zines, otto, Para Site, Ping Pong, Queer Reads Library, Saamsyu, SAMPLE, Small Tune Press, Soft D Press, soundpocket, Spicy Fish, Tai Yip Art Bookshop, Hang Tam, TASCHEN, Thames & Hudson, TheBookshop, thisbakery, To be confirmed (Au Wah Yan/Kwok Tze Ki/Bunchi Chan/Kenji Ide/Man Mei To/Wong Chun Hoi/Chow Yik Lam/Yip Kin Bon/Fok Hiu Tung/Kensa Hung/Chow Yik Shun/So Wai Lam), Hou Lam Tsui, Union Publisher, Sandy Wang, Kan Tai Wong, Wu Jiaru, YeP YeP, ZINE COOP, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

Asia: commune Press (Tokyo), crevasse (Ibaraki), Dialect (Macau), FULE (Taipei), Silas Fong | Hye Kyoung Kwon (Seoul/Hong Kong), Hiccup! (Taipei), Koshigoe School (Kanagawa), nos:books (Taipei), the shop (Guangzhou), Typesetting SG (Singapore), Zen Foto Gallery (Tokyo)

International: Afterall (London), Art Metropole (Toronto), BlackMountain Books (Madrid/Hong Kong), Olga Bubich (Minsk), ELEVATORTEETH (Portland, Oregon), Fair Enough (Zurich/Beijing/Lisbon), Galerie Kamel Mennour (Paris), hato store (London), Independent Publishing Resource Center (Portland, Oregon), motto (Berlin), Mousse Magazine & Publishing (Milan), onestar press / Three Star Books (Paris), Primary Information (New York)

Special Projects 
Raven Chacon, David Horvitz, Dorothy Wong Ka Chung, Benjamin Ryser (o!sland), Popo-Post Art Group, Short Hair Studio, Yim Sui Fong

unconstrained tone 亂調

soundpocket / Hong Kong / Dec 11-17, 2020 / Jacqueline Leung /

Originally conceived as a series of live performances in May, unconstrained tone was an online screening of seven new audiovisual works by 19 emerging Hong Kong artists. The culmination of a year-long project, it aimed to let participating artists, mostly from composition and videography backgrounds, experiment with ways of bringing sound and image together. Despite its postponement and digital presentation, much of unconstrained tone remained in the here and now. Each work was only up for 24 hours, after which it could no longer be viewed.

The programme opened with Synchronization (2020), a multimedia improvisation by musician Kong Chan and filmmaker Wong Hoi-yin. In a dark interior, a dancer moved to music performed using dongxiao flute, electronic sound effects and The World of Dreams, a set of lyrics composed by Hong Yi, an eminent Buddhist monk, sung in the Cantonese naamyam singing tradition. The dancer’s movements were processed by a visual mixer and projected onto the wall, producing illusory shadows that in turn informed the musicians’ playing. A work of simultaneous creation, Synchronization formally embodies the harmony of life’s cycles and of existence, as the lyrics demonstrate in translation: “The wide and manifold world/is but one and the same.”

Phantom Muyu by Wong Chun-hoi, Peace Wong and Daniel Yung Tsz-hong, Video still, 2020.
Courtesy the artists and soundpocket.

Other works in unconstrained tone are also collaborations. Sourcing sound and footage from their immediate surroundings, Phantom Muyu (2020) by Wong Chun-hoi, Peace Wong and Daniel Yung Tsz-hong gives humdrum contemporary a surreal ambience. It begins with a vibrant electronic track mixed with everyday noise similar to the muyu, a percussive instrument – sounds of typing on a mobile phone and the click of a tongue overlay spoken lyrics, more rhythmic than meaningful as words are repeated until they make no sense. The visual segment that follows, a one-take fisheye shot of a couple leaving their apartment in silence, distorts reality, conveying urban isolation with its claustrophobic, globular view.

Much of what was shown relates to Hong Kong’s curtailed social movement and the subsequent trauma. Distancing – A Mirror of Absence (2020) by Sam Cheng Kui-sum, Lau Sai-wing and Guyshawn Wong expresses the inescapable nature of anguish even when overseas. Framed around ideas of travel and withdrawal, the work juxtaposes footage of tourists enjoying Venice and scenes from the protests on a split screen. The declaration of the National Security Law echoes McDonald’s club membership recruitment, while a boat ride on Venice’s canals resonates with a gushing fire hydrant on a deserted road beside Polytechnic University, where one of the most intense sieges took place. These seemingly nonchalant associations are interspersed with indications of violence – a seagull pecks at the corpse of a pigeon; monochrome mosaics of battle linger amid mundane conversations on a bus, suggesting the continuation of harm even in the aftermath. By nature, videos imply a certain linearity, but the use of collage editing portrays the patchwork of memory and recognition even as time moves forward, denoting the convolution of present experience and what it means to be in the moment.

聲音掏腰包 / 香港 / 2020年12月11日至17日 / Jacqueline Leung

《亂調》是原定於2020年5月舉行的一系列現場表演,其後改為網上錄像放映節目,包括19位新興香港藝術家創作的七組聲音影像的共同創作。在這長達一年的項目裡,在不同領域本從事作曲與影像創作的參與藝術家,實驗把聲音和影像連繫一起的不同方法。儘管《亂調》基於疫情因而延期和改為網上放映,展覽仍然離不開當下。每件作品最多只能播放二十四小時,此後將無法再觀看。 該節目以音樂家陳志江和黃塏然即興創作的《聲畫同步》 (2020年) 開場。


《亂調》的其他作品也是共同創作。王鎮海、王和平和翁子康的《幻電木魚》(2020年)是藝術家從周圍的環境蒐集的聲音和畫面創作而成,為單調的當代世界帶來了超現實的氛圍。它的開端混合了充滿活力的電子音軌和類似木魚敲擊樂器的聲音的日常雜音。在手機上 打字的聲音以及舌頭作嘖嘖聲蓋上朗讀的歌詞聲,富節奏感多於實質 意義,重複出現直到再沒有任何意義。接下來的錄像片段通過魚眼鏡頭拍下一對夫婦靜靜地離開了他們的公寓,扭曲了現實,以幽閉恐懼的球形視角表達了城市的孤獨感。

展覽中展出的作品大部份與香港縮減的社會運動以及隨後的創傷有關。鄭鉅深、劉世榮和王嘉淳的《以在場作為逃跑──反記錄「我」》(2020年)表達了即使在海外也難以避免的痛苦。該作品以旅行和撤離的想法為框架,將遊客欣賞威尼斯的鏡頭和示威抗議的畫面並列顯示在屏幕上。頒佈國安法與麥當勞俱樂部招募互相呼應,而在威尼斯運河上乘船遊覽的影像與大學旁邊一條空曠的道路上噴湧出的消防栓引起了共鳴,那是當時其中一個最緊張的圍攻的地點。這些看似冷淡的關聯散佈著暴力跡象:一隻海鷗啄一隻鴿子屍體、單色的戰鬥畫面穿插在公共汽車上平凡的談話之間。這表明即使在事後,傷害仍 在繼續。從本質上,錄像暗示一定 的線性度,但使用拼貼編輯描繪了 隨著時間的流逝的記憶和識別的拼 湊,也代表了當前經歷的迂迴及其在當下的意義。

Andio Lai 黎仲民

By John Batten /

Andio Lai’s path as an artist has been refreshingly indirect. Each personal misstep and doubt forced a self-assessment and redirection to where he is now – and “now” does not necessarily refer to his status as a visual artist. It is a label that sits uncomfortably for him, but if the word “artist” is associated with musicians, cartoonists, gamers, players and those that draw creative stories, then it is a little closer to being an accurate description.

Andio Lai. Photo: John Batten.

After finishing secondary school, Lai – as was expected by the traditional school he attended – began studies at Monash University in Melbourne, on track for a career in business. He settled into university alongside close school friends from Hong Kong during his first-year foundation course, but the following year he found the first-year economics degree courses much less satisfying than reading the campus library’s selection of sci-fi books. Unhappy with his studies, realising he was not cut out to be a businessman and mildly homesick, he returned to Hong Kong in late 2009.

Lai grew up in a small Sham Shui Po flat in a supportive family, with two sisters who also shared his passion for stories, play acting and watching Japanese cartoons on after-school TVB. His father worked in the office of a toy company and often brought home samples for his children to play with: these toys were happily incorporated into fantasy and make-believe games, an influence on Lai’s current art work, with its playroom aesthetic. He first became interested in gaming and electronics through model racing cars, with his first racing track bought by his father, who also modified a four-wheel-drive model car; modifications of toys are central in Lai’s current work. In his primary school years, he played with Lego and started modelling with wood, as constructing objects became an early interest. As a teenager, he started learning guitar by watching YouTube lessons and joining online guitar forums. In Australia, it was the guitar that had been one of his escapes from uninteresting academic studies.

Sketch by Andio Lai for a design for his ‘spray can.’ Photo: John Batten.

In November 2009 and back in Hong Kong, Lai’s hobbies, which were associated with art and music, offered a direction in his personal and academic restart. His quiet personality led him to the safe, studious environment of Hong Kong public libraries: there he studied photography, drew cartoons and joined online forums related to his interests. Concerned, still, with future job opportunities, in April 2010 he started an Open University short course in cartoon drawing, learning practical skills, aesthetics, the business of cartooning, layout and the storytelling of Japanese manga. This enjoyable course expanded his aspirations: to his surprise, he realised that Hong Kong cartoonists were capable of drawing just as well as their Japanese counterparts.

Putting together a portfolio, Lai also applied and was accepted in September 2010 into a two-year associate degree in design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was introduced to industrial and laser design, and further improved his understanding of photography, comics and art. Although the design course was generally unsatisfactory because, he feels, “good designers don’t necessarily make good teachers”, a few teachers gave their students encouragement to be themselves; for Lai’s unconventional, informal design and non-mainstream approach to art, this sentiment allowed an open and personal approach to creativity. Graduating from this associate degree was a stepping stone to formal art-related studies.

Not really understanding the requirements for entering a fine art course, Lai prepared a portfolio heavily weighted towards comics and cartoons, not the usual figure studies. He applied to all of Hong Kong’s undergraduate fine arts courses, but his sole offer was from the School of Creative Media (SCM) at City University of Hong Kong. SCM had an eclectic range of teachers – themselves filmmakers, fabricators, animators and sound artists – who saw the quirky, nerdy potential creativity in Lai’s cartoon stories.

Soon after returning from Australia and in parallel with his PolyU studies, Lai joined a guitar group that regularly played together in the park next to the Shing Mun River. Led by an older devotee of the acoustic guitar who gave free lessons and encouragement, Lai developed a love for the acoustic guitar and the music of Jack JohnsonJohn Mayer and James Blunt. He was a member for three years and this ability to play music was to be carried into his later interest in and development of eclectic electronic sounds.

Andio Lai in his studio, demonstrating playing his dinosaur theremin connected to a synthesizer and computer. Photo: John Batten.

Lai began studying at SCM in September 2012. These student years introduced him to serious art, theory and ideas, and various approaches to artmaking. He was encouraged to cross traditional art boundaries, and met fellow students who similarly wanted to explore. One of the first student group tasks in which he participated resulted in what he refers to as a “spray can”. The project’s aim was for students to explore the functionality of an object. Lai and two other students developed a simple electronic musical instrument that could be held in the hand, its sound altering when it was tilted and moved, and a button adding another sound dimension when pressed. This simple object has retained its fascination for Lai, and his later “spray cans” are often constructed in see-through cylindrical acrylic that has two moving parts, like a kaleidoscope, and a button. The inner electronics, wires and connections can be seen and are often embellished with LED lighting; variations might require connection to his favoured Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesiser, a computer or external speaker. These spray cans still feature in his musical performances today.

Teachers such as film director Patrick Tam and film historian Ka Ming gave influential classes in film history, production, direction and screenwriting. Hector Rodriguez introduced film theory, and Samson Young experimentations with sound. A range of art was discussed: dada, bio-art and the international Fluxus group of artists. It was Fluxus that demonstrated to Lai that art could use traditional media and found and repurposed objects. Art could then be something else: objects reassembled to produce light, sound, video or music. The boundaries of his own art suddenly expanded to incorporate his own objects of obsession and fascination, particularly toys. In 2013, Lai joined a Fotan industrial building studio with five other artists, and has remained a member. His studio-mates, rotating over time, give him support and share their different approaches to artmaking.

After completing a BA in creative media at the SCM, Lai wished to continue the art-focused momentum of his studies and applied for a MA in fine arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, graduating in 2017. These layers of academic study have nicely underpinned his practical work as a performer, musical instrument maker and, currently, a teacher in a secondary school. His interests in play, audience participation, toys and sound have led to his self-described focus on “media archaeology, studying tools development and the relative history of interfaces, [which] focuses on the subject matter of experimental instruments, playing and human-machine relations”.

This is best seen in his membership of Floating Projects, a collective of artists interested in film, animation, installation, sound, history and video. Initiated by SCM teacher Linda Lai, Floating Projects began in an industrial unit in Wong Chuk Hang and now operates in a Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre studio in Shek Kip Mei. One of their first exhibitions, co-curated by Lai, was the wonderfully inventive Toy as Medium (2016) group exhibition that explored toys, playing and gaming. In a departure from his usual work, he set up an installation of a sofa, TV and video game consoles, where visitors could play Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros game. Located near the entrance, it replicated the common situation of a small Hong Kong flat with children playing video games while their parents annoyingly walked past in front of the screen.

Andio Lai performing on his dinosaur theremin, Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing Dynamics, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2015. Photo: John Batten.

Lai’s usual work features toys that he reconstitutes as musical instruments: quirky, colourful and easy to play. For example, using the contours of a toy dinosaur, he rewires it with antennae to make a theremin, an early electronic instrument whose sound is controlled by antennae sensing the relative position of hand movements to oscillators that produce different frequencies and volumes broadcast over a speaker.

Lai strongly believes that an audience makes an art work complete. In formal exhibitions, he often requires the active involvement of users with his toy objects: they can handle and play with them to produce sound. He does not fuss if a work is damaged – indeed, it gives him the opportunity to repair, adjust and modify it. Consequently, he has adopted a rough aesthetic in his constructions: his art is focused not on appearances but on playability and fun.

One of his early public performances was at Sonic Anchor #24 Interfacing Dynamics (2015), organised by Hong Kong sound group Contemporary Musicking. Lai stood behind a table fully set out with his toys repurposed as musical instruments, variously rigged up to oscillators, speakers, a computer and an OP-1 synthesiser. Lai’s performances are pure experimental sound, but the experience has other dimensions: it is visually beautiful with the bright array of toys that he uses, it is experiential and it is about play. He says that when giving a musical performance, he “enjoys the playing, not so much the resulting sound”.

It is refreshing that Lai’s approach to art is generally carefree and audience-centred. His art brings a playful happiness to viewers, and fulfils the need in any art scene for humour and enjoyment. There is a lovely lightness in his work; his experience as a performer can be genuinely replicated by his audience, who can play with the same repurposed toys in an exhibition to produce similar sound effects, and enjoy the same pleasure of playing as the artist who made them.







從澳洲回港後不久,黎仲民在理大的學習時期加入了一個結他樂隊,定期在城門河旁邊的公園一起演奏。在一位原聲結他前輩的免費課堂和鼓勵下,黎仲民愛上了原聲結他和Jack Johnson、John Mayer 和.James Blunt的音樂。他加入了樂隊三年,這種演奏音樂的能力後來帶起他對電子聲音的發展和興趣。

黎仲民於2012年9月開始在創意媒體學院讀書,那幾年令他認識了嚴肅的藝術、理論和思想,以及各種藝術創作方式,激勵他跨越傳統藝術的界限,認識了同樣想探索的同學。他參加的首個分組活動之一就是他所說的「噴霧罐」,活動目的是讓學生探索物件的功能。黎仲民和另外兩位同學開發了一件可以握在手中的簡單電子樂器,傾斜和移動時聲音會產生變化,按下按鈕則會加入其他聲音。這件簡單的物件至今仍深深吸引黎仲民,他後來的「噴霧罐」通常用透明的圓柱形阿加力膠製成,分為兩個活動部分,有如萬花筒和一個按鈕。內部電子設備、電線和連接清楚可見,並經常會用LED燈裝飾,或需連接到他最喜歡的Teenage Engineering OP-1合成器、電腦或外部喇叭。他至今仍有在音樂表演中使用這些噴霧罐。

電影導演譚家明和電影歷史學家家明等老師在電影歷史、製作、導演和編劇方面都教授了對他影響力深遠的課堂,羅海德介紹了電影理論,而楊嘉輝則透過聲音進行實驗。課程探討了一系列的藝術:達達主義、生物藝術和國際激浪派藝術家。激浪派向黎仲民證明了藝術可以使用傳統媒體發現和重用物件,藝術亦可以重新組合物體以產生光、聲音、影像或音樂。他的藝術疆界突然擴大,納入自己熱愛和著迷的玩具。 2013年,黎仲民加入了有其他五位藝術家的火炭工廈的工作室,至今仍為其中一員。隨著時間流逝,他的工作室夥伴予他支持,與他分享不同的藝術創作方式。





「聲音下寨 #24 身聲控動」(2015年)是黎仲民其中一個早期的公開表演,由香港音樂團體「現在音樂」舉辦。他站在一張桌子後,擺放著已重組成樂器的玩具,再配上震盪器、喇叭、電腦和OP-1合成器。黎仲民的表演純粹是實驗性的聲音,但體驗還引伸至其他層面上。他使用的玩具看起來美輪美奐,表演富有經驗且與遊戲相關。事實上,他在演奏音樂時就曾提及過,他「喜歡玩,但不太喜歡所產生的聲音」。