All posts filed under: Insights

Tea with Zhao Chuan

Zhao Chuan is a writer, curator and theatre director of Grass Stage, an independent Chinese theatre collective. The alternative, socially engaged performances of his theatre productions take place in public spaces: They turn restaurants, construction sites or lecture halls into stages. At the end of each performance, the audience is invited to talk about the work. Zhao Chuan explores, challenges, critically questions and criticizes different social aspects. Liv, Tobi, Aline, Duy and Colin met him for an open talk on the terrace of the old villa where the programme’s Shanghai exhibition took place. Liv: Tobi, Aline, Duy and Colin, you have been invested in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and your work in Shanghai also evolves around it. Given the political situation, the museum officials have stressed that we are not allowed to touch sensitive topics. In the first mark through you had to come up with a cover story. How do you deal with the tie of not being able to address the subject of your work?  Aline: My feelings towards the censorship …

Urban Co-habitation in Disappearance: Street Cat Photography and Animal Advocacy in Hong Kong

Dr. Fiona Y. W. Law, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong In the age of digital photography, online social media has been devoted to sharing and circulating ‘cute’ images of the animals we encounter every day. Responding to this urban phenomenon, this talk addresses the relationship between visualization of street cats, aesthetic trends in animal representations, global consumerism, and urban renewal through examining various street cat photos taken in Hong Kong. While taking photos of street cats is often understood as a habit voyeuristic pleasure (like the cat version of moekbang, live streaming cats checking out food areas), many of these image also capture the difficult lives of street cats who struggle to survive in the concrete jungle (especially in times of tear-gazed neighbourhoods). The talk also discussed how these images often juxtapose the fragmentary (omni)presence of these feline residents and ruin-like environment of the old districts, resulting in a photographic critique of both the city’s ignorance to animal welfare and a visual reminder of how the city itself has been undergoing mutations …

Problem Solving in the Collaborative Process

Working collaboratively can be inspiring and challenging at the same time. Working in a transcultural group, in which you don’t share the same mother tongue and have different approaches to work processes and ethics can be even more demanding. Thus, the questions on how to deal with idea exchanges, defining roles, group dynamics such as communication and feedback culture and how to manage expectations are crucial to talk about in advance. The students each discussed a set of problems or challenges they might face in working together and tried to come up with different solutions. Some approaches were a little more playful than others. The left column defines a potential problem, while the right column suggests a possible way to deal with it. Challenge/Problem  Possible Solution When do we define tools, before or during producing? The question is hard to answer generally. The times to define tools differ for each project or discipline. It might be best to just try out new and different tools; ask yourself what you can do and what you want …

Hong Kong Identity as a Global Laboratory

Gordon Matthews, Professor of Anthropology The Lecture discussed how cultural identity in today’s world is shaped. He distinguished between the discourse of the state, that “you must love, cherish and defend your country”, and the discourse of the market, that “one can buy, do, and be anything in the world that one wants.” Most people in the developed world take both of these discourses for granted; but many people in Hong Kong have only known one, the discourse of the market. The talk considered Hong Kong as a laboratory for the world in terms of cultural identity. Are many Hong Kongers, in their inability to comprehend “loving one’s country”, blind in a world where everyone else can see? Or are they sane in a world where everyone else is insane? The discourse of the state is about loving your country. The discourse of the market means you can buy, be and do anything you choose. Every country makes different sense of loving their country as much as every individual chooses differently what they are and do. Most …

Socializing the Common Denominator

Dr. Mark L. Gandolfi, Psychologist How do we connect with the world around us? With all the different layers? How does it relate to the sense of belonging? How do we connect to things, for example devices? How do we relate to nun-human beings? How are we bound or tied to thing we do? To our work? In all areas of life, whether aspiring to be or being an artist, a commercial pilot, a heart surgeon, an elementary school teacher or a chef, every aspect of working life has psychology embedded in its processes. Concurrently with people in work and people in our social – personal life worlds, being with others –  or not being with others – all have psychology as the common denominator. So whether we are binding with a job or trying to bind with a new friend, there is a new way of understanding the ties and bonds of with the experiences in our life. The talk took a slice of Bonds & Ties in the context of how we as …