Week by Week – Hong Kong I

Week 5

In a nutshell

  • Introduction of HK team and lecturers: Nuria Krämer, Kaho Yu, Chi-Sui Wang and Kingsley Ng
  • Lecture: author Dorothy Tse Hiu Hung and translator Natascha Bruce on Playing with Words in Colonial Hong Kong
  • Lecture and Workshop: Chi-Sui Wang on the Illusion of Life and on Piecing Cultural Memory
  • Studio visits: artists Tung Pang Lam and Warren Leung received the group in their studios in Fo Tan
  • Workshop: Sound walk with the art collective Soundpocket

Typhoon Mangkhut welcomes the new arrivals with signal 10. Photo by Florian Geisseler

Day 1

Because typhoon Mangkhut had raged over Hong Kong this past Sunday the program could not begin until Tuesday when the group met at this year’s principal location on the Kaitak Campus of HK Baptist University. First of all, some of this year’s team members and regular lecturers introduced themselves. Namely: Dr Chi-Sui Wang, assistant professor at the School of Film and New Media of Taipei National University of the arts; Kaho Yu, assistant professor at the School of Creative Media of HK City University and Kingsley Ng, assistant professor at the Academy for Visual Arts of HK Baptist University and Nuria Krämer, responsible for the TC program in the Hong Kong and Shanghai sections. The afternoon was reserved for a campus tour.

View from Kaitak Campus. Photo by Florian Geisseler

Day 2

The morning of day 2 was led by the local fiction writer Dorothy Tse Hiu Hung and her regular translator Natascha Bruce. They explained the subtlety, playfulness and particularities of their writing and rewriting work with a focus on the chances and challenges of translation – especially when working between highly unrelated languages like Chinese into English. The session involved long plenary discussions and Q & A about the process of translating literature and poetry, about the limits of a given language when approaching or “copying” another one and about the political (and linguistic!) complexity of Hong Kong’s past and present. In the afternoon local students guided their colleagues to some of their favourite areas of the city.

Lost in Translation. Photo by Franziska Meierhofer

Day 3

On Thursday morning, Chi-Sui Wang introduced her work in more detail. She shared some video material (see below e.g. the work 2nd hand reading by William Kentridge and How I animate by Joanna Quinn) from different animation artists in order to illustrate and underline some of her key concepts like existential in-betweenness, memory and the construction of the past.

 

The workshop part of the morning aimed at uncovering the unspoken stereotypes about the countries represented by the group participants. This also revealed how much of an impact certain stereotypes have on our perception of each other and of “the other”.

Each time you recall an event you distort it. – Maria Paul

In the afternoon the group went on an excursion in order to visit two studios. The artists Tung Pang Lam and Warren Leung opened their workspaces in Fo Tan and shared some of their concepts and working methods with the group. 

Studio visit in an old Fo Tan warehouse. Photo by Florian Geisseler

Day 4

Friday morning was spent with further explorations of the location. In the afternoon the group reconvened for a workshop conducted by the local art collective Soundpocket. The workshop encompassed exercises that used body language for communication only as well as mindfulness and attention practices regarding active listening when confronted with an unfamiliar surrounding and, lastly, also fundamental questions concerning communication like the possibilities of communication with non-human creatures or with non-living objects.

First explorations of the location. Photo by Florian Geisseler

Week 6

In a nutshell

  • Lecture and workshop: Petula Sik Ying Ho on alternative knowledge processes for transcultural collaboration
  • Field trip: NGO visit and group talk with a local sex worker
  • Group building, beginning of team work and mentoring
  • Studio visit: Kacey Wong

Day 1 & 2

The week was initiated by the group building process, further information about the Shanghai exhibition site as well as a first team work day on Tuesday. Six groups were built. Some remained more or less in the same constellation as in Phase 1 (Zurich) in order to further develop the first results, others decided to set up new collaboration teams in order to work with other disciplines and backgrounds.

Day 3

Wednesday encompassed a long lecture morning on the Kaitak Campus of Baptist U. The guest lecturer was Petula Sik Ying Ho, Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Adminstration of the University of Hong Kong. Her talk focused on the methodology of an ethnographic research that makes use of film and performance to research and represent such different subjects as the intimate lives of middle aged Hong Kong women, the performance of masculinity in times of political turbulence or the therapeutic use of theatrical re-enactment for socially scolded female activists of the Umbrella Movement.

In the afternoon the group went to the Mongkok area to visit a not-for-profit organisation that serves as a point of encounter, help desk and social support for local sex workers. A responsible of the organisation as well as a sex worker and a translator received to group at their base camp to answer a myriad of questions around the daily lives, legal struggles and clandestinity of sex workers in Hong Kong.

Day 4 & 5

On Thursday there was again time for team work as well as for the first mentoring sessions together with some of the TC program’s core staff. These were held until Friday at noon and the last afternoon of the week was reserved for a visit to Kacey Wong’s studio. Wong is a Hong Kong-born visual artist and educator. The group had a lot of questions for him and stayed for hours on his beautiful terrace discussing life, art and politics.

All photos by Claudio Rainolter

Week 7

In a nutshell

  • Lecture and workshop: Streaming the Trace and Collaborative Collage by Ian Woo
  • Teamwork and mentoring: intensive phase
  • Studio visit: Steve Hui at Foo Tak artist hub

While Monday, Wednesday and Friday were reserved for intensive team work and mentoring sessions, on Tuesday and Thursday the group welcomed the Singapore-based visual artist and educator Ian Woo. Woo talked about the meaning and potential of collage for the expression of the ephemeral and fleeting. He introduced several corelating concepts concerning the notion of streaming, trace, systems and fragmentations. Read more about it this interview that develops further on topics he mentioned in his lecture.

On Thursday, the group also paid a visit to the experimental musician, composer and DJ Steve Hui at his studio in Foo Tak building at Hennessy Road in Wan Chai. He shared some of his music as well as his visions for the underground local music scene and for his newly opened studio that intends to become a non-commercial, curious and unconventional listening space for music lovers of the excentric sort.

Foo Tak is a rare project in the cultural landscape of Hong Kong island as it is a bustling art hub full of affordable studio spaces for local artists. Each studio is rented by individuals or collectives from all artistic backgrounds for a maximum of four years.

Week 8

In a nutshell

  • Teamwork and mentoring: intensive phase
  • Workshop: Zhao Chuan on censorship

In the last week before the departure to Shanghai the collaborations have been running on full speed. Individual mentoring sessions, in-depth conceptual work, logistic preparations and, last but not least, packing. The week was rounded off by a workshop and discussion around censorship moderated by Zhao Chuan.