HK heritage: "Once lost but now found" exhibition at Oi!

Posted on June 2, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

oi!

oi!

 

In the middle of a busy commercial and residential district in North Point, a Grade II historic colonial-style building surrounded by highrise looks rather out of place here. Built in 1908, this heritage building was the clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club located on Victoria Harbour’s foreshore. But the reclamation project in 2009 changed the area's landscape and now the coastline has since moved northwards.

Located at Oil Street, the building was converted into Oil Street Artist Village from 1990 to 2000, and in 2013, the Government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department developed it into Oi! art space aiming at promoting arts and providing venue for exhibitions.

It was my first visit to the art venue; from afar the green lawn and outdoor seating area looks like an oasis in the busy district. It also appears to be a popular lunch spots for white-collar workers in the area.

 

oi!

oi!

oi!

 

The exhibition "Once lost but now found" explores the geographical history of Oi! and its relationship to the sea. As a witness to the course of time and the evolution of cities, the sea evokes emotions and memories, responds to the development of natural ecology and, at the same time, shapes the cultural ambiance of the city and tells the story of the island.

Four artists Zheng Bo, Leung Chi-Wo and MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix) were invited to explore the relationship between nature, culture and society, examining the history, present and its possible future.

Chinese artist Zheng Bo's text installation "You are the 0.01%" was inscribed boldly on the lawn. The project is based on two publications: In 2011, economist Joseph Stiglitz's published article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.” He writes, “The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year.” Then in 2018, three scientists published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled “The Biomass Distribution on Earth.” They estimated that humans account for only 0.01% of Earth’s biomass, but consume 30% of the biosphere’s total primary production.

Zheng Bo's project aims to address the issues of inequality and biosphere inequality. The grass on the lawn reminds us that we are only 0.01%, and we must protect the rest of the ecosystem.

 

Zheng Bo, YOU ARE THE 0.01%

Zheng Bo, YOU ARE THE 0.01%

Zheng Bo: You are the 0.01%

 

In the main gallery, a conspicuous bamboo installation entitled "Ghost Island", two videos and documentations are installed by MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix). Created for the 1st Thailand Biennale 2018, "Ghost Island" is a 9-metre high bamboo construction covered with piles of ghost fishing nets collected in the sea around Krabi. The installation recalls the particular geology of the surrounding islands formed by the accumulation and stratification of numerous distinct layers. It also addresses waste at sea, and the difficult but necessary labour needed to protect our environment. Reconstructed in Oi! is a smaller version, partially built by Cheung Chau Island fisherman and Hong Kong beach-cleaning volunteers.

One of the video shown at the exhibition records the construction of three artificial islands designed by the artists on a tidal beach near Krabi on Thailand’s Andaman Sea. The other records a fictional day for a fisherman living on the Andaman Sea’s Ghost Island. Both videos are fascinating, and they address environmental issues facing these fishermen, including rising seawater levels due to global warming.

 

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix), Ghost Island

 

In another room, Leung Chi Wo’s "Scratching on the surface" installation is presented in a dark room with a two-channel video projected on a long wall behind a pool of actual seawater installed in the gallery. The videos are reflected on the pool’s mirror water surface.

The installation is based on the notion of memory—our own memory and water memory—a controversial theory devised by French scientist Jacques Benveniste. Using words and imagery of nature and water, the poetic installation was shot in various locations in Hong Kong and Thailand, all connected ultimately by water, which echoes the fluidity of memory.

 

Leung Chi Wo, Scratching On The Surface

Leung Chi Wo: Scratching on the surface

 

In a separate building, architect team Streetsignhk was commissioned to create the ‘Sign City' immersive installations, featuring Hong's Kong's famous neon signage. Various traditional signage and signboards are installed in s small room covered with mirrored walls and floor. Outside of the room, visitors are invited to create their own signboards and get to know the different aspects of this dynamic building component. The craft of neon signage is dying in Hong Kong, and hopefully this exhibition would bring awareness to this unique heritage that makes Hong Kong's streetscape so special. You can read more about this topic via my previous post here.

 

  sign city

  sign city

 

 

 


This post was posted in Hong Kong, Exhibitions, Architecture, Travel, Graphics & illustrations, Art, Architectural conservation, Typography, Hong Kong art, Colonial architecture and was tagged with Hong Kong, art and design exhibitions, architecture, Colonial architecture, heritage, Architectural conservation, typography, Hong Kong art, art, Oi!, street signs

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