12-16 May 2021
Curatorial statement 展覽介紹
Our living space is a small box, and the rules of allocation of living space are also like distribution of boxes. People are keen to talk about the interior of our living space as boxes, but mentally people can be limited by boxes as well, as they fail to reflect upon the rationality and justice of the distribution of living space.
How should space be distributed? It seems reasonable to mark a price for living space if one chooses to ignore social justice. In Hong Kong, like many other big cities, the rules of the allocation of housing are odd. During the first half of the last century, people without the ability to acquire living space might build their own living spaces illegally, occupying some areas within or outside of the urban area. Are they rule-breakers or victims? Public housing in Hong Kong is social welfare, which are part of the effective governance and the implement of social justice. Of course the quality between public housing and luxury private housing could be dramatically different, but most residents of public housing should be grateful.
What about people who do not get this social welfare, people continue to suffer this unfair gap between the rich and poor. The people should complaint is the street sleepers who are unable to find a private living place at all.
So our exhibition focuses on the works of Hong Kong artists and presents three types of living spaces: squatter, public housing, street sleepers. The exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the citizens and their living space in Hong Kong, with humanistic care reflect upon the allocation of living space, the related legal provisions and social governance.
上世紀前半，沒有能力獲取生活空間的會“非法” 在城市空間建造房子，他們是違規者還是受害者? 公共住屋是社會福利，亦有助有效管治，體現了管理的人性和社會正義，儘管公共房屋與私人居所在質素上可以有天淵之別。
LIFE BETWEEN URBAN CANYONS
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated metropolises in the world, largely attributedto her inherent topography, spectacular history and rapid development. “Urban Canyon”isaterm to describe a canyon-like environment where buildings/skyscrapers surround the streetsto produce man-made “concrete canyons”. As Hong Kong’s iconic vertical cityscape is atypical example of a giant assemblage of urban canyons (especially in old districts andcommercial hubs), this scale and density may also affect living and commuting conditions between both sides of these narrow canyons.
< Life Between Urban Canyons > 2018
Forms of local canyons and ordinary movements/gestures of city dwellers down at the canyons are showcased. This series also hopes to echo the motto of the exhibition place “HOW to live well” regardless of one’s situations and living conditions, as well as to encourage the audience to rediscover the existing beauty of this ever-changing city.
After the Second World War, returnees and new immigrants came to Hong Kong after taking refuge, which led to a rapidly increasing population of Hong Kong. Due to the shortage of housing and the high rent, many new immigrants lived on hillsides or open land, using iron sheets and boards to build wooden houses. At that time, about a quarter of Hong Kong residents lived in wooden houses. The Mount Davis wooden house area appeared in the 1950s when some immigrants temporarily lived in Mount Davis on the westside of HongKong Island. They were penniless and could only rely on the Mid-levels to build simple wooden houses.
This work reproduces the scenes of the old Hong Kong squatters, portraying the squatters of the colonial era, and stimulates the audience’s understanding and memories of the life of the lower class.
There was a big fire in the squatter area of Shek Kip Mei on December 25, 1953. More Than 2,500 wooden houses were burned and more than 50,000 residents lost their houses. Therefore Prompted the government to build public housing to provide housing benefits for the lower-class citizens, and to build 29 7-storey H-shaped resettlement buildings on the original site of the disaster, which later became Shek Kip Mei Village.
This miniature model was created by Hung Fai Chan who is a miniature artist. He spent two years to complete this model, which showcases the local characteristics of are settlement estate built on a slope where the lower class lived.
1953 年 12 月 25 日聖誕夜，石硤尾寮屋區發生大火，逾 2,500 間木屋燒燬，約5萬多名居民頓失家園。大火促使政府興建公屋為低下層市民提供住屋福利，並在災場原址興建 29 棟 7 層高 H 型徙置大廈，即後來的石硤尾邨。
These two photographs show the bustling urban scene of Hong Kong, which is in sharp contrast to the other works we have selected: One City, Two Lives.
The series of SimSky is a collection which wants to express a concept of boundary. Also, this is a living experience in Hong Kong city. Society has always attempted to apply mathematical logic to quantify the structure of material and immaterial substances with units of measurement and try to use this kind of thought to build equality. However, could such rules really show equality or is it just a ‘box’ that traps the human being?
Concrete stories – Carpenter
‘Concrete Stories‘ documented stories of inhabitants on the rooftop. These marginal groups make use of possible available space in a cramped city, even the living condition is tough. The scarcity of land leads to the pull-down of all the low-rise buildings, which in order to leave space to taller and more modern ones. However, the rooftop inhabitants are either totally unaccessible or well-secured to be accessed to the new building, so they will face losing their home.
《Concrete stories》紀錄了一個個舊區大廈天台的故事。在這些舊樓的天台生活著一群特殊住戶，在這城市的狹小空間夾縫中生存，度過酷暑嚴寒。在土地問題嚴重的香港，低層舊樓推倒重建高聳住宅的情況屢見不鮮。而清拆之時，新建築高昂的房價讓他們無法繼續居住 在原區，而他們最終面臨的可能是流離失所。
If you were a photographer, where could you stand and take pictures of the life inthe subdivided room? It seems that no place to… The toilet-sized space support a whole family, and people are forced to complete all activities on or around the bed sleeping, cooking, playing, studying, writing letters, eating, etc. When can we escape from life trapped in cage?
How Heavy is the Night
< How Heavy is the Night 夜未央 > 2016
Ma Yujiang 馬玉江
The artist Ma Yujiang spent more than a year collecting the receipts of the Mcrefugees in McDonald’s and turned all the receipts into an exhibition. The receipts not only show the poverty- stricken life of the Mai refugees from the economic perspective, but also show the stories behind, which show the tough living energy of them. The “box” where the Mcrefugees live has moved to a public space, which is no longer a private residential space. This marginal group “steal” the public temporarily to survive in the cramped city.
< Record 9 紀錄 9 > 2011
Chan Wai Kwong 陳偉江
Photography | 227 x 151
Photographer Chan Wai Kwong said, “Recording is the basic of being a photographer. I just want to record things around me. The intention, content or password of the photo is upto the viewer to read.” The black-and-white footage of the lives of homeless people highlights how they are incompatible with Hong Kong’s booming economy. In the social environment, they cannot fit into any boxes (home) and had to live on the street with distress.
Night time ‘Mcrefugees
Indian photographer Suraj Katra began a series of documentary photography of Hong Kong’s “McRefugees” in 2013. For Mcrefugees, public space is difficult for long term survival, and private space cannot be entered. Can the homeless claim the right of space from the government and society?
Night time ‘Mcrefugees’是印度攝影師 Suraj Katra 的一組紀實攝影，拍攝了麥難民們的夜晚生活。在住房短 缺的問題之下，麥難民們在公共空間難以長久生活，而私人空間又進 入不了，無屋之人能否向政府和社 會索取擁有一處生存空間的權利呢?
Curatorial Team 策展團隊
Che Xuesen 車學森
Li Qi 李其
Liu Qijing 劉綺菁
Lin Xiawen 林夏文
Wang Caiyang 王彩洋
Wu Fei 吳非
Prof. Ho Hing Kay Oscar 何慶基教授
Chan Wai Kwong
Phoebe Ching Ying Man