Topology of Urban Resistance -Hong Kong -Israel Exchange Project

日期:7月20日(六) 至 8月7日(三)

展場一:活化廳 (九龍油麻地上海街404號地下)
開放時間:下午2時 至 8時

展場二:C&G 藝術單位 (香港九龍太子西洋菜街南222號三字樓)

開幕:7月20日(六) 下午6時 地點:活化廳
藝術家分享會:7月22日(一) 下午8時 地點:C&G 藝術單位


Topology of Urban Resistance -Hong Kong -Israel Exchange Project

Exhibition Date: 20/7-10/8, 2013

Exhibition Venue 1:
Woofer Ten, 404, Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kolwoon, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Tue-Sunday 2-8pm

Exhibition Venue 2:
C&G Apartment, 3/F, Sai Yeung Choi St. South 222, Prince Edward, KLN, Hong Kong
Opening hours: 2:00 - 7:30pm, Thursday to Monday, (Closed on Tue, Wed and Public Holiday)

Opening: 20/7/2013 6pm, Woofer Ten

Artist Sharing: 22/7, 2013 8pm, C&G Artpartment

Enquiry: 62856916


以色列 Israel Team:

策展人 Curators: Amir Pollak, Dan Allon

藝術家 Artist: Dan Allon / Adi Bezalel / Adi Ben–Horin / Shani Brunner / Nitan set / Tziki Eisenberg / Sharon Fadida / Jonathan Hirschfeld / Inbal Hoffman / Ruthie Oppenheim / Ori Carmely Leonov / Hannah Jaeger / Iddo Marcus / Sharon Poliakine / Amir Pollak / Origami / Adi Sened / Yoav Shavit / Lee he Shulov / Jonathan Ofek

香港 Hong Kong Team:

策展人 Curators: 劉建華 LAU Kin Wah, 陳素珊 Sushan CHAN

藝術家 Artist : 張嘉莉 Clara CHEUNG/鄭怡敏 Gum CHENG/陳素珊 Sushan CHAN/程展緯 Luke CHING Chin Wai/方韻芝 Vangi FONG/何梓埼 Kiki Ho/葉浩麟 Roland IP/羅文樂 LAW Man Lok/羅至傑 LO Chi Kit/ MAKE A CHANGE/麥海珊 Anson MAK/生活館 SANGWOODGOON/謝柏齊 TSE Pak Chai/黃乃忠 WONG Lai Chung



Wie soll man leben?
LAU Kin Wah

Art as resistance? While art itself is not resistant to a many things?

Sounding much more attractive then writing a proper curatorial statement, I still remember Amir’s suggestion very early on, that I should write on why I didn’t want to get involved in this exchange project in the very first place. Final decision to co-curating this exchange project has generated so many painful moments in between me and Sushan, as I have foreseen it, but probably also owe to my mindset foreseeing things as such. Behind the instinctive judgment, I am thinking of something really serious and pressing, of what we should do with “art,” but at the same time, something very simple and personal, of what I want to do with my “life.” Both of them, but especially of the later, in a “local” manner, and limited “affordability”.

In these recent years, I deliberately pushed my understanding of political art and its local contextualization to the extreme. For it seems to me, too much things are deteriorating in Hong Kong, our society is at a state of emergency, which demand our constant attention, frequent action, and a drastic value re-formulation. Making a living in the city, managing one’s own life within it, requires every bit of one’s energy already. Keeping one’s principle and staying decent inevitably requires an even greater effort. Art in the scene, gradually seems something too luxurious to me, especially when they were not being mobilized for fighting these battles.

So please pardon me for being straightforward, but as I could foresee my usual wish to channel art resources to the resistances in real life is not much possible on this occasion, I have really not much interested to take on the project. For personally, I am just too poor and strained in life, obsessed with the local, and a farming existence. Overseas art exchange is definitely not of my priority. (The vast distance between Hong Kong and Israel, is itself a signal of funding burden difficult to overcome with local autonomous resources). As local context are always hard to spell out in full, the kind of solidarity bonding gained across the globe often tends towards a weak and symbolic one. I thus felt that art (of even the good-hearted) has really too little to offer to all the different locally meaningful resistances, while having the danger of drawing away the tiny bits of the precious resources which is needy or should reserve for a longer sustainable resisting survival.

Owe its credit to reflectivity (in ties with the autonomous quest and legitimacy problem of modernity), contemporary art gained this image that of being critical, querying things, suggesting alternatives. Therefore, it is not surprising art is often drawn by the anti-establishment spirit and action of activism. But their interests often rest on the resistance strategies, tactics and models, highlighting skills or methodology. They thus often missed what really matters in political art, for form is not just an empty form but a holistic one with a meaning, which is itself the local resistance. They might not always be transferrable taken out of their original context, and becoming meaningless without any personal commitment. The trendy term of “art activism,” just revealed how activism was never assumed a part of art, while people into this activism actually still want a safety retreat in art.

For this show, the curating simply appreciates acts of resistance as much as works by artists to showcase them side by side. Rather then inviting people to see the artistic merits from the former (nor activism intention in the later), I wish people will gradually accept that the art platform should have an openness as such, so activism could freely permeate. As while their inclusion could expand the spectrum of our introspection, the basis for their mingling, could still be resort back to my concern over life as the ultimate field of resistance, no matter ousting art or not.

Urban Resistances? Resistance to urbanity?

The urban topics addressed by the works included urban renewal, cityscapes and people’s livelihood. Artists also make their remarks via protestation and mockery of propaganda and touristic spectacle, production of communal newspaper and reproduction of the mass media as their respective artistic medium. The expected and unexpected moves coming from artists with their complete freedom, demonstrate the different nature of the art platform with that of activism, even when it is a collective venture of public spaces transformation. The playful humour in particularly also remind us of the “happy resistance” spirit of the new wave of the post 80s social movement in town.

The multifold of documentary is also of particular interest: in the case of Anson’s film on musician Ah P, we are able to see not just an example of how an artist’s production and its living environment are tied together, but also the bigger psychological/political picture that ah-P expressed in the film, how by living out his life most fully (illegally) in a factory building, he feels almost daily a sense of victory in fighting against the “land developers hegemony.”

The way of life is equally featured in the photos by Pakchai of “Occupy Central” (Hong Kong’s version of “Occupy Wall St.”) activists, not just via documenting their trip looking for thrown-away food surplus in the city and sharing them with various groups of people, but proactively inviting them, as persons, to produce their “family” album. The portrait series here participates in and serves this Hong Kong unique trial of resistance which tried to tie life and lives together with more humane faces.

Finally, there is this personal favoured specific note on rural farming. While theorists might like to recall people of Mao’s communist strategy to siege cities with rural villages, it is the permaculture idea that start building the interlink between the rural and city, so as to bring forth an edge effect of mutual benefit, such as home waste recycled as compose, and local supplies of organic vegetables. Owe to the opposition to the building of the high speed railway extension from mainland, our city and in particular the younger generations rediscover the rural, so near yet so far away.

In Hong Kong, city urban area under the land policy aimed at maintaining a high revenue, are mostly densely developed, leading even public spaces to be tightly monitored. As the urban are utilized for various sorts of secondary production, and tertiary service industry, the degree of contribution one could make via production is very limited, and that impairs the citizens their degree of autonomy. The act of rooftop farming, transiting oneself back closer to being the primary producer, reducing in secondary consumption, are just the beginning of a change.

Growing rice is undeniably even more symbolic, as Yuen Long where Sangwoodgoon organic farm is located was infamous for its specific species of rice production, but which farmlands however were abandoned for decades, first giving way to cash crops, then to car dumping sites for cash return. But farming here and now, is not simply a kind of nostalgia, but a real act which hence becomes a truly political critique. Farmlands are argued now not just as developing potentials, but the usage itself an intrinsic value, supporting a honoured way of life. And what is most persuasive in defending it than by practicing it?

How Life Should Be Lived?

This tiding suggests a significant change in the value hierarchy of some Hongkongers, for they try to attend to the foundation of one’s independence by restructuring their lives, not resorting easily to the market. The pace of life and production rthymn of farming represent also a new worldview and life-world experience in the making, which many other practices of resistance in the city shares. Hope this short article could explain roughly my present limited affordability for art, and function adequately as a minimum curatorial introduction afterall.