Air

Winner

Project Statement

Vehicle emissions are a major source of air pollution at street level in Hong Kong — particularly in urban areas. Of specific concern are emissions from diesel commercial vehicles including trucks, buses and public light buses, which produce large amounts of particulates and nitrogen oxides. In a crowded urban environment with busy road traffic, like Hong Kong, pollutants can be trapped at street level.

The aim of this project is to photograph collected samples of roadside vegetation from several districts in Hong Kong located close to or in landfills, container yards, and urban areas. These include Lung Kwu Tan, Tseung Kwan O, Lau Fau Shan, Kwai Chung, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. The plants were easily collected, because the roots and branches were weak and fragile due to the adverse conditions in which they lived. Dust, particles, and toxic gases block the sunlight, and stop photosynthesis, killing roadside vegetation. The same toxins that roadside vegetation absorb, is actually what we breathe on the streets everyday in Hong Kong. The death of vegetation is a reflection of Hong Kong’s abominable air quality.

Polluted plant specimens were photographed using a standardized typological photography methodology. Details of tiny particles and dust covering each sample of roadside vegetation are visible in each photo, emphasizing that vehicle emissions is a main culprit of air pollution in Hong Kong.

Biography

Siu Wai Hang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Media from The School of Creative Media, The City University of Hong Kong. He went on to obtain his Master of Fine Art from the Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2010, Siu presented a solo exhibition Metropolis Chlorophyll in K11 Art Mall Hong Kong. He has participated in various group exhibitions such as Pingyao International Photography Festival 2013, Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards 2012, Hong Kong EYE, Image on the Run and Dine at Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate. His works are represented in the collections of The Legislative Council of Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong, and various private collections. Both Hong Kong and China cultural media have written about his artworks as well.


Finalists

Project Statement

The thin air, though invisible to our eyes, we know of its existence.

The air of a city, generally considered as the spirit of the city, is also invisible, but exists and is alive within us.<>Sixteen years has passed since the sovereignty rights over Hong Kong were returned to China. At that time, the people of Hong Kong, after coming through a centennial of adversities, felt that doomsday had arrived. From 1997 onward, principal officials’ accountability system, mother tongue tutoring, Asian financial crisis, SARS epidemic, 1st July rallies, Lehman brothers, 2008 financial tsunami, HSBC share price collapse, bird flu, moral and national education, air and light pollution…. to today, for the people of Hong Kong, the so-called ‘doomsday’, would certainly be the decay of the spirit of Hong Kong. Though invisible, it stays beside us, aloof.

If ever I have the chance to witness the last glimpse of piercing white light before the doom of Hong Kong, I hope that the people of Hong Kong, from every walk of life, with their limited days on earth, resolve with willfulness to live.

Say goodbye to the outermost city of South China.

Biography

Lau Ching Ping lives in Hong Kong. Creative works on photography, design and education. Co-editor of Dislocation magazine. Committee member of the Hong Kong International Photo Festival. Part-time lecturer at The Chinese University Hong Kong and Hong Kong University SPACE. Curator of Gallery Z. Personal blog:www.postnphoto.blogspot.com

Project Statement

These 10 unique prints are some of the first samples of the latest printing technology known as Kursaleté Print.

For over 100 years, photography has been based on photo sensitive chemicals reacting to lights. However, with the advance of digital imaging, photographic prints are now overwhelmingly inkjet. In 1991, Jack Duganne, a digital print maker in California came up with the name Giclée, a French verb meaning ‘that which is sprayed or squirted’ for his inkjet prints. Giclée prints are now regarded as the high-end inkjet prints within the fine art market.

With that in mind, Kurt Tong is developing the next generation of photo imaging. Moving on from ‘ink squirted onto paper’, Kurt will be utilising dirt. Different adhesives are applied onto traditional Giclée prints and left on various roadsides in order for air pollutants to organically bind to the prints. Hong Kong was chosen as the first test city since it has one of the worst air qualities in relation to GDP per capital in the world.

To give credibility to the technique, Saleté, French for ‘dirt’ has been chosen for its name. Future prints will also utilize burnt bugs in street lamps and reclaimed land dust. (The above statement was originally submitted into the WYNG Masters Award. Kurt Tong has employed a satire frame of the current fine art print market as a vehicle to examine current air quality issues in Hong Kong and to physically visualise existing air pollutants.)

Biography

Born in Hong Kong in 1977, Kurt Tong originally trained as a health visitor at the University of Liverpool. He has worked and traveled extensively across Europe, the Americas and Asia. In 1999, Kurt co-founded Prema Vasam, a charitable home for disabled and disadvantaged children in Chennai, South India.

Kurt became a full-time photographer in 2003. He was the winner of the Luis Valtuena International Humanitarian Photography Award with his first picture story documenting the treatment of disabled children in India. He has worked for many NGOs and covered stories from female infanticide to ballroom dancers.

He gained his Masters in documentary photography at the London College of Communications in 2006 and began working on more personal projects. He has since been chosen as the winner of Photograph.Book.Now competition, the Hey, Hot Shot! competition and the Jerwood Photography Award for his project People’s Park, a wistful exploration of the now deserted Communist era public spaces. In Case it Rains in Heaven, explores the practice of Chinese funeral offerings, has been widely exhibited and features in several public collections. A monograph of the work was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2011.

His more recent work, The Queen, The Chairman and I, a multilayered, narrative picture book that examines the story of Hong Kong of the last 100 years, and the Asian Diaspora, through the lives of his own family, is presented in the form of a Chinese teahouse installation where the story is shared. The project has been exhibited across 5 continents, most recently at the Victoria Museum in Liverpool, United Kingdom and Galleri Image in Denmark.

Much of Kurt’s recent work, while remaining photographic in essence, has moved towards installation and sculptural-based practice, pushing the boundaries of the medium. His new work will debut at the Identity Art Gallery, Hong Kong in February 2014.

Kurt is represented by Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, The Photographer’s Gallery in London and by Identity Art Gallery and Blindspot Gallery in Hong Kong.

Project Statement

The Big Mist project was launched in January 2013 at which time Beijing was shrouded in smog and Asia was in turn adversely affected by China’s worsening urban air pollution. The Big Mist seeks to create a global archive of ‘selfies’ that playfully engages our contemporary attitude to air pollution.

The art project took the form of an open call, through social media, for creative photographic submissions responding to the theme of environmental air pollution in Asia. Sites such as Facebook, Weibo and Douban were used. Several dozen submissions from around the world, from Beijing to Hong Kong, Kathmandu to Berlin, London to Madrid, were received. An aim of The Big Mist is for participants to use performance and humour in the photographic form as a challenge to over-industrialisation and the pollution it brings. It also acts as a collective silent cry.

The art project is ongoing and more photos will continue to be added. An independent magazine The Big Mist will be published in February 2014 to coincide with the first anniversary of this project.

The Big Mist Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/449960541741862/

The Big Mist Douban Album: http://www.douban.com/photos/album/87029203/

Biography

Gao Ling was born in Jiangsu, China in 1980 and currently lives between Beijing and London. Her inter-disciplinary approach encompasses diverse mediums of visual art, photography, installation and performance. Her work closely scrutinizes the ‘norms’ of daily life and creates surprising and often humorous interventions and re-appropriations that challenge our relationship with them. Her artworks have been featured in a number of exhibitions including in Get It Louder, Milan Design Week and e-flux project: Pawnshop.

In 2008, together with Chinese American artist Elaine W. Ho, Gao founded the arts group LING & COMMA whose primary interest is to investigate issues of female identity, body-politics, space and interaction with the everyday. Gao Ling’s prominent works include the widely exhibited and published Nv Quan. In 2009, she was invited as a visiting artist and photographer to PROGRAM Berlin and Kontemporar gallery to join the project PUBLIC Research. During that time she began the art project Let Out A Yawn. Two of her works Nv Quan and Hey! TTTTouch Me! are included in the traveling exhibition WOMEN我們 which premiered in Shanghai in 2011, traveled to San Francisco and is currently on view in Miami. n 2012, she collaborated with the NGO Shanghai Nvai to launch the performance/protest “Occupy Shanghai Subway: It’s A Dress, Not A Yes”.. Using Gao’s art piece in Hey! TTTTouch Me! the performance/protest provoked a national discussion, and was featured in international media such as the BBC and the Economist. Her work was reviewed in the contemporary arts journal Yishu in 2012. In 2013 she was interviewed by the Asia-Pacific Research Centre of the Tate Modern which is one of the leading centres for research in visual art and museum studies.

Project Statement

Hong Kong’s air pollution is mainly caused by motor vehicles. There are about 306 licensed vehicles* for every kilometer of road and they produce large amounts of particles and nitrogen dioxide which cause burning spasms; swelling of the throat; reduced oxygen intake and a larger buildup of fluids in the lungs — and in some cases death. You find people using such materials as facial masks, newspapers and tissue paper to cover their mouths and noses in order not to breathe in those harmful pollutants. We know that we cannot get rid of all the vehicles in the short run nor stay indoors forever.

But wait! Let’s forget all the bad news for a while. Can we try to confront this issue positively and express the need to protect ourselves in a creative and fashionable way?

In my Fashion Cover-up project, I invited five people with very different characters and occupations and created five unique outfits for them. The outfits serve both to protect and beautify the wearers. Instead of showing the sad and ugly side of air pollution, which everyone knows, I prefer to address this social issue in an alternative way, one that will arouse our government’s attention.

* Data from Transport Department http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/environment/air/airquality.htm

Biography

Leo Kwok completed his education at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Graphic Design, with commendation. After university he worked in 4A’s advertising agencies. Later, he founded his own graphic design company, it has been running for over 15 years. His design works were recognized with awards from the Hong Kong Designer Association Awards, Design for Asia Award, IdN Design Awards and Gilbert Golden Quill Awards.

Leo is an enthusiastic photographer who tries to connect with people more deeply with photographs. In 2012, he started a photo studio, mainly focused on portrait and reportage photography. His photos are featured in Leica Fotografie International Master Shots Gallery and Lens Folio Asia Exhibition. Awards include Nat Geo Hong Kong Photo Competition 2013 (Champion and finalist) and Final 100 of The Other Hundred Photobook Project 2013. He is also a finalist of WMA Open Photo Contest 2013.

In October 2013, Leo went to Yunnan Province, China and did a personal photo project called Beautiful Strangers for Habitat for Humanity China. In 2014, he plans to do more photo projects for different charity organizations.

Project Statement

Can you imagine what would happen to you if you lived in a bottle? The lack of fresh air would result in dizziness, difficulty breathing and eventually death. This is happening in Hong Kong where air pollution is increasingly at a serious level. The air is essentially invisible to the eye, however once mixed with pollutant particles, it manifests in the form of smoke and haze.

I used the idea of putting Hong Kong in a bottle with smoke emitting from it to communicate the idea that we are trapped in middle of a concrete jungle, walking in street canyons where the wind doesn’t blow. We are actually living in a bottle but we just have not realized it yet.

Biography

Tommy Fung was born in Hong Kong in 1979. At the age of ten, he moved with his family to Maracaibo, Venezuela. There he studied Graphic Design at La Universidad del Zulia, where he obtained his degree in 2005. Soon after his graduation, he started his own business as a freelance graphic designer. After some time Tommy found his passion in photography. Since then he has been applying the theories of design to photography.

Currently Tommy is a working photojournalist at two Venezuelan schools — Colegio Bellas Artes and Colegio Mater Salvatoris — where he documents every significant activity and event and compiles a digital yearbook for each, fully designed and produced by him. As a professional photographer he has worked on social events, portrait shoots, weddings and underwater projects. In 2013 Tommy sat on the jury of II Concurso de Fotografía CBA 2013, a photography contest in Venezuela . He visits Hong Kong once a year so he still feels Hong Kong is his homeland.

Project Statement

Suburbanites from the North East New Territories are comprised of farmers, gardening enthusiasts, conservation docents and people who have live there as their ancestors had for generations. They are blessed with homes, fields and fresh air. In the project We Gift the Urbanites with Fresh Breeze, suburbanites gave their fresh air-grown plants to Hong Kongers living in areas affected by serious air pollution. Through this gesture, their hope is to share with the urbanites the idyllic atmosphere of their environment and their love for nature, and to remind them that plants are critical to air purification. The urbanites, in return, created a ‘sunny doll’ – a tradition adopted from rural Japan in which a handmade doll is hung in the window of one’s home representing a wish for sunshine and a blessing for the peoples of the countryside for the continued health of their plants and their future.

If development merely means building more big cities and converting green belt areas into urban ones, destroying suburbanite life and culture, such development can only bring temporary solutions in the form of a seemingly more comfortable life, more efficient consumption and easier planning. However, we are, indeed, over-drafting for resources that should be for future generations, leaving instead environmental damage that is irreversible. Spiritual development, therefore, is more important. It is achieved through learning to care for and bless each other.

Biography

Ducky Tse Chi Tak was born and lives in Hong Kong. Early in his career he worked as a professional photojournalist for over 15 years. Currently, he is an independent photographer and visual artist. For many years, his main focus in photography is to record environmental and spatial changes in Hong Kong.

Ducky participated in and organised the first Hong Kong International Photo Festival in 2009. He has been the recipient of many awards including being a winner in multiple years of The Society of Publishers in Asia – Excellence in Feature Photography. His work has been presented in various exhibitions in Hong Kong, Japan and France and has been acquired by private collections and by museums.