逆棲-都市邊緣中的對話與重建 香港 大阪 台灣 三地聯展 Reverse Niche – Dialogue and Rebuilding at the City’s Edge An exhibition in Hong Kong, Osaka and Taiwan


展覽地點/ 鳳甲美術館
展覽開幕/9.14 2~5PM
展覽期程/ 2013.9.14-10.14

策展人/柯念璞 Alice Ko

參展藝術組織 /Art group

香港/活化廳Hong Kong/Woofer Ten
日本/大阪COCO ROOM Osaka/Coco room
高雄/台灣影音展演藝術產業工會Kaohsiung/ Taiwan Studio, Exhibition and Arts Labor Union


「逆」字作為迎向、迎擊之意,具有抵抗及革命意味。「棲」則作為動物安居巢穴之棲居空間,在生物學中常以生態棲位(ecological niche),代表生物在環境中所佔據之地理空間並賴以維生的基本生命單位;各生物種類依其生活習性,繁殖、衍化與活動,建構出自身生命本質的生存空間。猶如人類為了生存而棲居於城市各個角落,因地置宜,生活就是在此時此地生長出來的。同Lewis Momford所述,一個健全的城市皆由不同的社區(Neighborhood) 所構成,這些社區按照自身的各種需要,自然而然地發展出它的面貌,當中的生活設施、空間分佈,乃至商業或非商業性質的活動,皆因為當地人的生活習慣,以及人與人之間的聯繫互動所建立起來的社區空間。


在城市現代化的過程中,製造一種去除貧窮、創造資產累積的想像,許多人移居城市尋求晉身中產階級的機會。然而都市發展主義的社會裡,視覺化的想像總是掩蓋住都市長期存在的社會問題,排除、隔離、移民與貧窮人口的棲居之地。近年來則在都市規劃與土地分區劃分的命運下,被公權力強制拆除建造綠地、大樓與商場,或放任讓其自生自滅。這些被景觀(spectacle)所壟斷的都市處境,正隱含了將整體都市文化簡化為中產階級的純粹敘事。


因此當藝術與資本攜手合作彼此淋漓盡致之時,藝術家開始試圖突破藝術與社會疏離內向藝術創作,轉為一組積極實踐,朝向一個與公眾連結的藝術關係與過程。因此以「逆棲」做為雙重意象的隱喻,不僅標誌現代城市發展下被排除的邊緣群體,一種兼具被拒斥在外的生命處境與其形成的抵抗生存模式,同時也作為關注這些生命狀態的藝術行動者,強調以基地發展一種長時間對話、參與式創作,來開啟有別於主流藝術生產的實踐。


本展覽以地方作為一種提問,透過半年的時間對三座城市與藝術組織進行田野調查,並以三組城市/藝術組織/社群的相互對話與行動,試圖呈現在特定都市發展脈絡下,這些尚未被歷史歸檔成文件的藝術行動作為溝通與連結的媒介,如何以不同面向來回應各自都市治理的背景,並企圖開展這些被排除,貧窮、少數、弱勢的城市文化?藝術家設計何種對話框架誘引、邀請參與這些社群,並以此作為搭建公共領域的橋樑?以及社會公共議題如何藉由藝術重新彰顯並且得以作為一種追尋進步的政治討論與實踐?

香港/活化廳

香港自2005年反WTO運動以來,青年藝術家與社會運動者經過保皇后碼頭、反西九龍文化園區、反高鐵與菜園村運動等累積能量的展現於都市空間。面對香港城市文化逐漸走向企業管理的局勢,活化廳一方面回應藝術生產結構問題,並構築眾多關於反對市區強迫重建的藝術展覽。

隸屬於香港藝發局的上海街視藝中心在2009年,更名為活化廳。由一群關心社會、政治與公共議題的藝術家們所組織,重新思考藝術與社會、社群以及公共生活之間關係的如何創造、連結以及激發新類型的社群想像。面臨政治與經濟上交錯的困境。香港城市空間資本化不斷剝奪個人居住權,以及回歸後本土身分認同與政治上非自由的處境,活化廳的藝術家開啟另一種別於鬥爭現場的抵抗,以藝術與展演活動搭建起日常的公共討論平台,作一種長時間與居民對話的文化運動。


大阪/ココルーム

在日本戰後經濟起步後,社會的全盤西化,政府與企業攜手重建了現代化的都城,大批的現代式建築在土地上萌芽。如此龐大規模的建設背後所仰賴的臨時勞工全聚集在「寄せ場」 ,臨時勞工在此等待「手配師」也就是仲介人員,每日招募港口或工地所需的勞動力衍如地理上的勞動力市場,這種日雇工形成特殊的地理區域,在日本共有三處,東京的山谷、橫濱的壽町以及大阪的釜崎,而釜崎同時也是其中最大的勞工聚落。而在日本最大臨時勞工聚集地大阪釜崎,於2007經營非營利藝術空間「COCOROOM」(「こえ」(聲音)、「ことば」(語言)與「こころ」(心))。這展現出藝術家在以貧窮、暴力的隔離之地,開啟對話的企圖。

藝術在此地視為一種溝通的媒介,能連結被外界逐漸剝奪交流與溝通機會的勞工及流浪漢,創造出一個能彼此自由且無拘束地溝通交流的公共空間。運用詩、藝術邀請流浪漢、失業勞工、青少年以及婦女等弱勢族群的參與,在與藝術家敘述地方歷史與生命經驗,也產生一種對話關係,藝術家在對話的過程中建構了地方認知,同時在地的居民也在此過程建立自我認同。透過文學創作、詩詞、藝術活動重新認識這塊被汙名化與閒置隔離的區域背後的文化與生活故事。

高雄/台灣影音展演藝術產業工會

高雄原為台灣南島港口之都,配合台灣經濟發展在日治時期的工業發展,近年來對於台北城市發展的自我複製,以文化藝術之名,拆遷剷除抑或遮掩工業廠址之汙染。高雄大林蒲社區三面是臨海工業區的工廠所圍繞,一面是填海造陸的南星計畫,環境污染程度剝奪居民環境自主權力。台灣影音展演藝術產業工會先是從攝影班開始,一方面訓練社區居民使用影音工具,用來監督環境以及訴說自己的故事,另一方面也吸引年輕影音工作者與媒體,來認識這個地方,生產影片與報導,這些作品很多都直指環境污染問題。活動過程也重新連結了部份在地青年跟原本不相往來社區團體,期待未來的行動能更有集體性。目前海馬小組的組成,包括紀錄片、藝術、劇場、電影等工作者,以及各種社會議題的行動者與學生。


Reverse Niche - Dialogue and Rebuilding at the City’s Edge 
An exhibition in Hong Kong, Osaka and Taiwan

To “reverse” something implies engaging it with the intent to resist, and has connotations of revolution. While “niche” refers a space in which an animal can nest and take shelter. In the study of biology, the term “ecological niche” is often used to describe a geographical space and environment that an organism occupies and relies on for its sustenance. Organisms reproduce, diversify, and actively construct a space that is essential to personal survival. Similarly, humans construct their lives in various sections of a city to fulfill the necessities for their ways of life. Specific lifestyles evolve at a specific temporal and spatial nexus. As Lewis Mumford once described, a healthy city is composed of different neighborhoods. The unique appearance of these communities develops organically based on the needs of each community. From recreational facilities and spatial distribution, to commercial and non-commercial activities -- all result from the living habits of its residents, while communal spaces are constructed from the interpersonal connections and interactions present in each community.


In the process of modernization, cities provide a fantasy that rejects poverty and creates material accumulation. People flock to cities in search of opportunities to join the ranks of the middle class. However, in a society governed by doctrines of urban development, this visual fantasy ultimately conceals long-standing urban social problems, as well as excludes and isolates the spaces inhabited by migrant and impoverished populations. In recent years, with their fate decided by urban planning and zoning, these spaces face being forcibly torn down by governments to build parks, high rises or marketplaces, or else are left to fend for their own survival. The urban contexts that have been monopolized by landscaping (spectacle) conceal the pure narrative that reduces the overall urban culture as one of middle class.

As mutual cooperation between art and commerce fully plays out, artists have begun to attempt inwardly focused artistic creations that are alienated from society; a transformation into a set of proactive and practical artistic relationships and processes of public connectivity. Hence, a “reverse niche” has a dual meaning, not only symbolizing the exclusion and resistance undertaken for survival by groups marginalized and disadvantaged in the process of urban development; but also highlighting the works created by art activists concerned with these living conditions that emphasize the development of a base for long-term dialogue and participatory creativity which will initiates an alternative practice of art production outside of the mainstream.

This project will be exhibited in the specific context of urban development. These acts of artistic activism that have not yet been categorized by history have become a conduit for communications and connections. How do we respond to and rebuild the urban culture of the excluded, the poor, the minority, and disenfranchised? What types of enticing framework for dialogue can artists construct that would invite the participation of these groups and become a bridge to rebuild the public arena? And how can art highlight social public issues in order to move toward a progressive political discussion and practice?


Hong Kong/Woofer Ten

In 2009, the Shanghai Street Art Center of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council changed its name to Woofer Ten. It was organized by a group of artists concerned with social, political and public issues, in order to rethink the relationship between art and society, community and public life, and to create, connect and catalyze a new community imagination. They were faced with a confluence of political and economic obstacles: the capitalization of urban spaces continue to deprive individual rights to shelter; while the process of reunification had taken away freedom to express local identity and politics. The artists of Woofer Ten opened up another type of resistance that is removed from the site of conflict, and constructed an everyday platform for discussion using art and exhibition activities to provide a longer term cultural movement with the public.


Osaka/Coco room

The non-profit art space “Cocoroom” (こえ (sound), ことば (language) and こころ (heart)) was established in 2007 in Kamagasaki, Osaka – the location of the largest community of temporary laborers in Japan. This demonstrated the artists’ intention to begin dialogue in a space removed from poverty and violence. Here, art is perceived as a communications medium that connects with laborers and the homeless who have been gradually deprived of opportunities to interact and communicate with the world-at-large. A public space where they can communicate and interact freely without inhibitions has been created. Disenfranchised groups including the homeless, unemployed laborers, youth, and women, all participate through art and poetry. This process of describing the local history and life experiences with the artists creates a relationship of dialogue. This dialogue enables artists to construct a local identity, while area residents also establish a self-identity in the same process. The cultural and life stories of this stigmatized and alienated region are rediscovered trough literary compositions, poetry, and artistic activities.

Kaohsiung/ Taiwan Studio, Exhibition and Arts Labor Union

As the largest city in Southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung has replicated the urban development of Taipei in recent years. Pollution caused by industrial factories have been demolished or covered up in the name of arts and culture. Kaohsiung’s Dalinpu District is surrounded on three sides by factories of the coastal industrial zone. On one side is the land-reclamation South Star Plan whose environmental pollution has deprived area residents of their environmental autonomy.

The Taiwan Studio, Exhibition and Arts Labor Union began with photography classes which not only trained area residents to use recording tools to monitor the environment and to tell their own stories, but also attracted a number of young video artists and the media to the area to learn, to produce films and to report. Many of these works directly address the environmental pollution issue. In the process of this activity, they have connected previously disparate groups of local youth with community groups. It is hoped that future actions will be even more collective. At the moment the Seahorse Team has been assembled and includes those who work with documentary, art, theatre and film as well as social activists and students.


「逆棲」―都市辺縁部における対話と再建
香港・大阪・台湾 三都市合同展示会


「逆」という字には立向う、迎え撃つという意味があり、抵抗及び革命を表す。「棲」は動物が安心して棲息できる空間、すなわち各生物の習性、繁殖、派生変化など、自身の生命を構築する生存空間を意味する。ルイス・マンフォード(Lewis Momford)が述べているように、健全で完全なる都市は異なるコミュニティー(Neighborhood)から構成されており、住民による各種の需要により自然と形成されたもので、生活施設、空間分布あるいは商業または非商業的活動はすべて住民の生活習慣によって形成されているのである。つまり、「逆棲」は二つの意味を持つメタファーとして、発展する現代都市下において排除されているマイノリティーや弱者を表すだけでなく、ある種の排除された状況や抵抗という意味をもそなえており、同時にこれに関心を注ぐアーティストとして、対話、参与型の創作を通じて、主流の芸術生産とは異なった角度から開拓する新たな実践なのである。逆棲は一種の新型公共空間としてのメタファーとして今、新公民運動の活性剤となっている。

現代都市は貧困を取除き、資産を創造するイマジネーションを提供している。経済発展至上主義を強調する社会では、素晴らしいイメージは常に都市に長く存在している社会問題を覆い隠しており、スピード、衛生、整然とした居住環境を強調し、移民、貧民層の住んでいる地域を排除している。70年代に出現した新自由主義が徹底的に国家政府(State)の役割に変化をおこし、管理主義から企業主義への転換を導き、最終的にグローバル経済市場において相互に補完し合う役割を演じることとなった。

グローバル化の発展に伴い、拍車がかかった都市競争により、グローバル都市としての地位を獲得するために、更に市場的、競争的な都市発展の策略に転向し、大型の個人資本の投資を求め、都市風景と都市文化の塑像は絶好の手段となった。都市風景の簡素化は視覚で独占する支配性風景の生産で、その都市発展政策に芸術文化などの要求と主張を組み合わせているが、その背後には都市全体の歴史を視覚体験として簡素化するという意味合いが隠されている。この視覚体験は一方である都市の中産階級の純粋で歴史の深さのない平面的な視覚風景と、もう一方ではこうした簡素的な都市の歴史のイメージに迎合するため、かつてこの時空に存在したあらゆる手がかりが無意味に浄化緑地にとって換わられてしまった。これがもたらした結果はあらゆる都市空間の歴史的元素が脈絡化され、自身の存在のために声をあげたり、自身のがいる時空経験を見分けることができなくなったのである。

商業と芸術の完璧な結びつきが余すところなく表現されたとき、アーティスト達は行動家として表へ出て、芸術と社会との隔離された内向的な芸術創作を打ち破り、直接世界との対話を積極的に実践しようとするグループへと化し、民衆とつながりのある芸術と過程に向かう。同時に実践を通して、都市において排除され孤立した状況で芸術に果たせる役割とは何かを思考する。カトリーヌ グルー(Catherine Grout)は芸術が公共空間としてパブリック広場の機能を発揮できる媒介であるとし、アーティストは時間と空間の両者を観察し思考したのち、アートを創造する重要な役割であるとしている。芸術は知覚的な特性を喚起しコミュニケーションの媒介とならしめ、空間において非強制的なコミュニケーションや分かち合いの関係を形成しやすく、アーティストの自由と創意を通じて、公共空間において個人と社会の交流を促し、作品と地域間の結びつきから各界に感情的な束縛あるいは理性的な批判にかかわらず、ディスカッションを発生させるのである。(Grout,2002)

グラント・ケスター(Grant H. Kester)は更に対話型アートの核心はアーティストが一つの脈絡の提供者としてであり、内容の創造者ではないと芸術におけるコミュニケーションの本質を分析している。この類の対話型アート創作品は論述の交流や協議の過程とみなされる。遂行的(performative)なコミュニケーション過程を通して出展した作品は参加者をして従来の固定的なアイデンティティーや型にはまった印象に疑いを持たせる。ケスターはフェミニズムからヒントを得た「connected knowing」という一語を用いてハーバーマスの公共性論における権力差異の軽視と欠陥を補っている。

アーティストと参加者とのコミュニケーションは対話型の芸術創作時において往々にしてに社会運動と結びつき、ここでの芸術は誘引の媒介となり、流動的な対話空間を提供する。こうしたタイプのアート創作は崩壊、辺縁化した都市空間とエスニックグループを明るみにだし、再建していこうとする。しかし、アーティストが手間ひまをかけてアートを産み出しても、その特質から往々にして痕跡を残すことは難しい。西洋の芸術学者がこうした美術館の壁外でのアート活動及びその正当性に注目し始めたのに対し、アジアにおけるアート活動は如何に異分野が共同し、コミュニケーションをはかりあって社会へ浸透させ、発信させていくかが課題である。日本大阪のココルーム、香港活化庁及び台湾高雄の都市芸術行動のアーティストは特定の都市発展の脈絡のもと、アートをコミュニケーションと結びつきの媒介として、これまで排除されたてきた貧困・少数・弱者の都市文化を再建させている。同時に対話の枠組みを設定し、これらのコミュニティーへの参加を促し、アートを通じて公共分野の架け橋となっている。

本計画では特定都市の発展の脈絡のもとに出展し、これらの未だ嘗て歴史資料として記録されていない芸術活動をコミュニケーションと結びつきの媒介としてこれまで排除されたてきた貧困・少数・弱者の都市文化と如何に対話し、再建していくか、アーティストがどんな対話の枠組みを設定し、コミュニティーへの参加を促し、これらを通じて公共分野を再建する架け橋となりうるか。また、社会問題を如何にアートを通して再び明らかにし、かつ進歩を求める政治討論と実践となすかをつきつめていく。

本プロジェクトは六ヶ月間、香港活化庁・日本大阪のココルーム及び高雄大林浦社区芸術行動団体を対象とし、現地の社会環境と芸術参与対話の調査ならびに現地のアーティストへのインタビューの録音制作の参加型アートの創作理念と過程を「逆棲」をテーマとして同時に討論し、現地のコミュニティー、公共問題と都市脈絡の参与/対話式芸術作品に対応する。

同場加映﹕從活化廳看藝發局處理的公共藝術空間

明報,2014年1月5日


路過上海街,總會途經一個滿佈手寫字或裝潢妙趣橫生的店,招牌寫「活化廳」。「活化廳」不賣東西,有時候辦展覽,更多時候聚滿街坊的笑聲。場地本身是香港藝術發展局管理的藝術空間,2009年「活化廳」進駐,四年下來,街坊鄰里打成一片,至去年在兩年一度的公開招標中告落敗,不能繼續營運,部分成員拒絕遷出,認為藝發局應帶頭在香港為社區藝術開闖更廣闊的生存環境,兩年一約的輪替措施,最終白費藝團的努力。

中標接手的藝團早前發聲明表示支持留守者的看法,有藝發局委員亦同意審理程序需考慮社區藝術要持續累積才有成果,承諾會在會議上跟進。


信念:藝術由下而上

「活化廳」位於油麻地上海街404號地下。該址乃是藝發局自1999年起,向政府繳納年租1元租下,以每兩年公開向藝團招標方式,營運視藝空間。有別於過往經營上海街視藝空間的藝團,「活化廳」沒有純粹把該空間當成展覽場地,而是把它發展成一個與社區交流對話的平台,銳意深入社群,以街坊為目標觀眾,街坊皆自出自入,與人傾計、看電視、開大食會,關係親密且平等。展覽活動活潑又大眾化,如「知音何處──街坊鄭生唱碟收藏展」、「你敢學,我敢教」工作坊、甚至是運動會等等,另有街坊傾偈會、每月發行《活化報》,希望建立紮根式社區藝術。「活化廳」創始人之一的李俊峰說:「我們一直相信社區藝術應該由下而上發起的,希望引發街坊本身的能量、潛能,與我們一起參與創作;而不是我們搬一隻黃色鴨仔放在這裏,然後告訴你這就是藝術。」

新續的兩年期約本至上年十月,「活化廳」三位成員葉浩麟、李俊峰、方韻芝決定拒遷留守,日前他們收到藝發局的警告信,要求他們在去年底前遷出。三人接受訪問時說,他們留下是為挑戰藝發局租借藝術空間的政策及它作為藝術發展促進者的角色。方韻芝說,藝發局只要空間繼續存在,由不同藝團營運,已經是累積和延續了。「但每兩年轉一次團體,中斷了我們辛苦建立的社區網絡和關係,得再重頭來過,這算什麼延續?」李俊峰亦指,藝發局每幾年轉換一次經營藝團的政策看似公平,但同時也使前任者在社區的血汗努力歸零,街坊又得重新適應一個全新的藝術空間。

困惑:兩年後血汗歸零?


過去每次招標藝團反應熱烈,營造資源匱乏大家爭崩頭的場面,方韻芝指出,對藝術機構來說,最困難的是負擔租金,若沒有藝發局資助,要租一個舖位搞社區藝術幾乎是不可能的事情。其實藝發局於1999年向地政署以象徵價租下油麻地區6個空置單位加一個地舖,但一年後以資源不足為由向地政署交還大部分單位;據她觀察所得,目前大部分單位仍然空置,藝發局可跟地政總署商量,重新利用這些單位作藝術空間。「希望藝發局也能明白他們的角色是什麼,他們不應只是一個批錢的機器。藝發局叫作『藝術發展局』,理應認真想想藝術發展是怎樣的一回事。」另一留守成員葉浩麟亦表示,他們不一定要在原舖繼續營運,但希望可以爭取到藝發局開放更多同類社區空間,和多點支援。

成功投得下年度上海街視藝空間營運權的社區文化發展中心,總幹事莫昭如日前發表「活化廳與我」公開聲明,稱他們願意先等「活化廳」的問題處理好才遷進;聲明中提及莫曾在「上海視藝空間」經營四年的朋友廖淑嫻,當時她亦為未能續租感到可惜,廖後移居冰島並建立Listhus國際藝術基地,經年發展後,更成為冰島藝術奇葩——這正正反映了藝團需要長久發展的環境重要性。莫昭如並反問藝發局﹕「油尖旺區是否只需要一個進行社區藝術的單位?」

反思:屬於街坊的藝術?

「活化廳」的去留仍是未知數,不過這小小的空間揭露了香港藝術空間的發展問題:到底藝發局在豪擲數百萬搞藝術發展獎、為油街實現在巴士賣廣告時,有否積極為中小藝團開拓更多藝術空間?街坊需要的,是一個掛現代藝術作品的藝廊,還是一個可參與、可寫揮春、可玩遊戲的社區藝術空間?是讓不同藝術團體也有機會投標策展重要一點,還是建立一個聚焦社區、紮根社群的藝術空間重要?藝發局視覺藝術組委員陳錦成認同,社區藝術不同一般藝術,其受眾多為社區人士,變數很大;取得街坊的信任、並與之互動、交流需要很長時間,已在油麻地發展四年的活化廳也才在起步階段,而藝發局似乎只把上海街視藝空間看成一個普通的兩年場地租貸計劃,而不是一個長遠的社區藝術發展計劃。他稱會將把上海街視藝空間問題放進議程,優先處理,希望能改寫公開招標的邀約計劃書,加入更多社區面向。

藝發局藝術評論組委員盧偉力認為,藝發局的社區藝術資源不應是限額配給,應視乎社區發展而增進。「活化廳這個上海街視藝空間只是一個試點,但其他有意發展社區藝術的人也應有其他試點。」

藝發局早前曾向「活化廳」表示,當局沒有資源發展社區藝術,留守者表示不接受此解釋,希望與當局重新展開對話。藝發局回應本報查詢時重申,評審小組對於藝團的甄選準則,包括「申請者管理視藝空間和策展的經驗和往績」、「計劃內容能否提升公眾對藝術的興趣及認識」、「計劃書能否清楚表達申請者對社區和目標受眾的理解」、「財政預算」等,並稱藝發局將會展開開拓同區空置單位的討論及收集意見等工作。

當局於1999年向地政總署租用油麻地7個單位發展成視藝展覽室及工作室,惟因其後單位結構出現問題,本局為顧及使用者的安全,至2003年只維持租用2個單位。及至2010年增加租用1個單位,以擴大可使用空間。現「上海街視藝空間策展及管理計劃」所租用的單位共有3個。

文 × 吳世寧

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)
開放時間:下午2時-7時30分,逢星期四、五、六、日、一,(星期二、三及公眾假期休息)

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

查詢:62856916


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

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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


FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/182814441888350/

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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.