If history is totally related to the past, there would be no so-called contemporary problem or historical problem. However, many different contexts remain that are still affecting our lives. We cannot ignore historical problems, somehow we have to deal with them head on. People from every generation have their own problems as a result of history. As a “post-80s” man and a son of a stowaway, there is no doubt I identify myself as a Hong Konger. But in relation to China and identity, I find myself in a paradoxical situation. I often ponder on this issue even though it always confuses me.
Understanding my father’s experience of sneaking into Hong Kong has helped me to have a better grasp of my identity. However, I can only project based on his memories which are fragmented and indistinct, and other times based on his facial expressions and conversations.
Inevitably, the “past” is fading away, we cannot capture every moment of the past, but we can try to re-experience it and it might be the best method for me to rediscover my identity. From the personal history of my father to the collective memories of those stowaways interviewed by Bingan Chan, a Shenzhen journalist, my personal research does not only complement his but also allows my concerns to emerge at a personal level. I believe that part of forgotten history affects every stowaway and their descendants, and perhaps to an extent, the whole of Hong Kong. This is about identity, but more importantly, it determines what Hong Kong is, the core values that we often refer to.
This is an art project that is neither biographical nor documentary in nature. Perhaps currently it is a reflection of my father; but it could also be used to trace the origins of Hong Kong people or even linked to other things beyond my imagination.
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 2014, he won the WYNG Masters Award on the theme of “AIR”. In 2010, Siu presented a solo exhibition “Metropolis Chlorophyll” (K11 Art Mall, 2010) and in 2015 he presented “The Elusive” (Lumenvisum, 2015). He has also joined a number group exhibitions, including “780S” (Blindspot Gallery, 2014) , “WYNG Masters Award Finalists’ Exhibition – GASP” (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2014), “Pingyao International Photography Festival 2013” (Pingyao, 2013), “Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards 2012” (Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2013), “Hong Kong EYE” (Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 2013), “Image on the Run” (City University of Hong Kong, 2013) and “Dine at Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate” (2009). His works are collected by The Legislative Council of Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong and various private collections. He currently lives and works in Hong Kong and teaches at various art institutes and universities.
Reviewing photo images from the mass media, we contemplate the presence of all those unidentified minor figures or those who were accidentally captured for a grander narrative. But Roland Barthes’ noeme of photography suggests that anyone who was photographed, no matter how minor s/he was, must have been there. Although we don’t know them at all, they have already occupied a place in our past. By posing as those who appeared in the found images, we hope to challenge the authority of the grand narrative portrayed by the media on one hand; and also shed light on the poetics of photography through our own presence in the newly studio-shot photograph. The impossibility to identify an unidentified person in the past has become our romantic encounter with the history in a most humble but vivid way.
Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong’s collaboration started in 1992. Their previous work City Cookie was exhibited in Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, as well as Queens Museum in the USA and Museum of Image and Sound in Brazil. In 2015, they had their solo exhibition at Blindspot Gallery in Hong Kong. Leung and Wong, both born in Hong Kong in 1968, graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and co-founded Para Site in 1996.
Individually, Leung had solo exhibitions at OCAT Shenzhen (2015), Rokeby London (2012) and ISCP New York (2013). He is currently Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong. Wong’s recent exhibitions include a group show at Pearl Lam Gallery (2013) and a site-specific installation at the Oil Street Art Space (2013) in Hong Kong. Wong is also a practising landscape designer and currently a Senior Lecturer at the Hong Kong Design Institute.
Thousands of millions of “I”s on the earth, “I” am the one and only.
But “I”, am more than just one –
“I” am a protester, also a counter-protester;
“I” am a man from the outside, a woman from the inside;
“I” am soft and hard-nosed; “I” am also gentle and cruel.
“I”, am blurring in the fast-paced world. Who has ever really known the every “I” inside us?
Are they just a fantasy, an expectation of self?
Are they the same and single id, or diversified egos?
“I”, am lights that never ever stop in the air without fail. Every kind of encounter and cognition is breathing light and shade. Wearing in and wearing out, “I” keep switching.
Between the whites and blacks, blacks and whites, colours of every “I”s leak from the cracks of light.
It is a self-dissection of every “I”, of which multiple “I”s constantly blending, molded into a subtle symphony on the prints.
Remmus Ha, Hong Kong artist, has investigated multifarious fields. His aim is to experience and to decode, in greater depth, the complexity of this glamorous city; in an attempt to dig up an alternative view of this city.
Living in an economically driven society, we encounter people from all walks of life; every day they come and go with straight faces, our minds are not quick enough to digest everything. By recording every voice and face through the lens, Remmus believes it can act as a bridge, linking up individuals with the world instantaneously. The entire universe is frozen, prolonged so that one can seek an alternative, balanced perspective from the subjective world. Feelings and expressions are captured and brought to life again, without boundaries or barriers, exposing the real self through images.
The Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li, takes it’s inspiration from the memories of the artist’s own mother. Originally told as bed-time stories, his mother’s memories have since become Li’s memories. In 2001, Li worked in collaboration with her, using each other’s recollections as starting points. Embarking on many journeys together, they have attempted to exact the sites of her history. Comparing the actual with figments of their imagination, identifying old haunts transformed in time and the potential of discovering what remain fixed.
Dinu Li’s colour photographs teases out fragmented moments in time, charting rural traditions in a 1920’s China and of communist ideologies during the late 1940’s. Spanning two decades from the mid 50’s, Li turns his attention to a Hong Kong at a stage of transition, morphing from fishing villages into the beginnings of an urban metropolis. Under British administration, it was a time of sweatshops and western influences. And finally, Li focuses on Britain, from a family resettlement in the 70’s era of strikes and de-industrialisation, through to the start of the millennium, of multiculturalism and globalisation.
Aided by family snapshots and Li’s mother’s narration, The Mother of All Journeys triggers a sense of repetition and nostalgia, invoking glimpses of the times we live in. At the core of Li’s work, is a voyage into time, revealing what we remember of a place and what a place might remind us of. It is a sum of the many influences that shape our existence and how identities are formed. Sites loaded with life experiences, lying dormant, waiting to be excavated, examined and reclaimed.
Dinu Li is a British based multi-discipline artist working across photography, video, installation, archives, found objects and performance. Throughout his practice, Li places himself in a variety of circumstances, responding to his immediate surroundings in an attempt to understand the many cultures he encounters. Li’s output offers a visceral reaction to the world around us within the context of the times we live in. He explores the nuances of the everyday – its many rituals, routines and patterns, in relation to local and global concerns. Recent works have been situated between modes of representation, the vernacular, specific geographic and historical contexts and the intersection between the personal and the political.
Li’s work has been exhibited internationally, including: the 53rd Venice Biennale; the 3rd Bucharest Biennale; the 2015 DongGang International Photography Festival, South Korea; Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden; Oldenburger Kunstverein, Germany; Alternative Space Loop, Seoul, South Korea; Danielle Arnaud, London; Chalk Horse, Sydney through Para/Site Hong Kong; Petra Rietz Salon, Berlin; SVA, New York through Artprojx; Rivington Place, London; White Space 798, Beijing and Christian Roellin, Zurich.
He has undertaken residencies with OCAT in Shenzhen, China; ArtSway Production Residency in Hampshire and Chengdu, China; and a Cornerhouse and Space Artists Exchange Residency in Central Asia. His work has been included in publications such as ‘The Photobook: A History Volume III by Phaidon in 2014; The Chinese Art Book in 2013, also by Phaidon; whilst in 2007, his own monograph The Mother of All Journeys was voted in The Sunday Times by Martin Parr as one of ten most important international photography books that year. He has been a guest speaker for Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum, The British Museum and is Senior Lecturer of Photography at Falmouth University in the UK.
The plight of refugees in Hong Kong, is the consequence of a system that isolates and leaves them with an endless wait, out of sight from the rest of the population in unsanitary slums.
About 10,000 refugees live in Hong Kong, mostly originating from the Indian subcontinent, but also from Vietnam, Indonesia or the Horn of Africa. Most of them fled persecution in their country, hoping to find refuge in Hong Kong.
But the city isn’t the haven they were hoping for. Hong Kong has signed the Convention against Torture and cannot repatriate people at risk of torture back to their home countries. Yet, only a very small number of them obtain refugee status.
Upon their arrival in Hong Kong, refugees are registered as asylum seekers or as victims of torture and their passports are confiscated. Normally, it takes three years to process their applications, but some are still waiting after eight years and are not allowed to work.
Refugees have access only to tiny rooms in slums in the New Territories. Initially these slums were not made for housing, these were shacks, pig or chicken farms built or refurbished by unscrupulous owners.
Emmanuel Serna was born in Lunel, France in 1973. After graduating from a photography school in Paris, he spent time photographing in the Balkans mainly in Bosnia, Kosovo after the war and in Serbia, where he made a long-term project about the Serbian youth. Since then he has focused his work in China. Apart from his personal exhibitions, his photos have been exhibited in photo festivals in France. Some of his reports were published in the press and online media. He likes photographing individuals, their relationships with each other and with their environment. Since 2010, he has been living and working in Hong Kong as a freelance photographer.
Since the first barricades were erected as a form of neighborhood defense in the 1500s, these makeshift structures have maintained their significance as a powerful symbol of protest and uprising well into modern times, most recently in Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement, during which major intersections and roadways in the city were blocked off by protesters demanding universal suffrage. The impromptu barricades in Central were erected with great expediency and resolve as a response to forceful police action taken to disperse the crowds. Over the course of the occupation, their configurations were continuously reshaped like communal sculptural objects that are perpetually works in progress.
These provisional, adaptive structures are viewed as a type of vernacular expression arising from protest culture, representing the material and metaphorical emblems of an anonymous, ideological collective.
Set against a backdrop of Government buildings and monolithic office towers, this somewhat nostalgic mode of resistance created a singular “privatized public” space, underscoring the dialectical relationship between traditional power structures and their subversive counterparts.
Johnny Gin is a Hong Kong-based copywriter who has embarked on a second career as a photographer. As a member of the first intake at SCAD HK, he has been working part-time towards an MFA in photography since 2010. He is expected to complete the program and hold his thesis exhibition in June 2016.
His photographic interest lies in the examination of urban spaces and vernacular environments and the ways in which these spaces inform us about the culture and identity of a city. His work has been exhibited in Hong Kong and in the US, and is part of SCAD’s permanent collection. The Architecture of Insurgency, completed in 2014, was selected for inclusion in a showcase of 18 Hong Kong and Taiwanese photographers in the Angkor Photo Festival 2015.
The words “In” and “Out” are always put in binary opposition. Are you in or are you out? In or out? Are you coming into my body or out of my body? Yet between “In” and “Out”, there is a third space in the middle, shared by the two poles. Partially visible and partially exposed, this “In & Out” place offers me the possibilities to explore sexuality.
Through the “In & Out” project, I want to give a voice to lesbians and let them explore their fantasies with their gestures. For the past few months, I interviewed over forty self-identified lesbians about their sexuality, ranging from 20 to 60 years old. Given minimal instructions, they imagined their partners’ bodies and restaged how they have sex with the other females using their hands.
This act of exposure is personal and political. On the one hand, each photograph is a unique portrait that reveals each lesbian’s sexual desire. On the other hand, the phallus-like gestures act as a space that subverts the patriarchal hierarchy.
Under the rule of the British administration, Hong Kong once had an ordinance prohibiting male-to-male anal sex, which involves the insertion of the penis. Penis insertion is such a strong factor to determine if one engaged in sexual intercourse. Nowadays, male homosexual activity has been decriminalized in Hong Kong and in China, yet lesbian visibility still comes into question.
I began to trace to the history and questioned the so-called definition of sex when defined as penis insertion. My investigation centered around this question: So how do two females have sex? The In & Out project unfolds this question.
Through abstracting their performance of sexual activity from an intimate private space to a public space, the question of lesbian sexuality and visibility is brought to light. With the act of exposing this intimate gesture through photography, the performers become a community whose participation in this project helps to recontextualize lesbian sex.
Ho Yan Pun Nicole is a Hong Kong artist using photography, video and performance to explore queer identity and desire. Her work involves collaborations with strangers. She is a curious person so she reveals hers or others’ darkest secrets through her lens.
She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2014. Her work has been exhibited in Circus Gallery in Los Angeles; Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles; SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco; McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga and JCCAC in Hong Kong.
I lived in Hong Kong until I was 11 years old, when my mother sent me to a boarding school in a small town in Northern Ireland. She had no idea how far it was from Hong Kong until 3 years later she came to visit. When she arrived at the school gate after 15 hours on a plane and 3 hours by train, she cried. She blamed herself for sending me so far. Later in my life I had 2 spinal surgeries. She sees my scar but she has no idea how much pain I feel, just like she could not imagine distance until she experienced it.
Irving Cheung is currently studying Master of Fine Art in the RMIT University in Hong Kong. She has been working in the film industry as an art director for over 10 years, she was nominated for the best art director for the movie Rigor Mortis in 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards. Irving returned to Hong Kong after studying in Northern Ireland, London and Berlin in 2005 when she graduated in Chelsea College of Art in London for a Fine Art Degree. She is also a founder of an art direction company “Everyone is lost until they are found”.