PMQ Corner #30

Man-made Art

Bloom., Weaving Words, Tommy Fung

Written by Kit Chan
Translated by Wendy Yiu
Photos from PMQ, Kit Chan, weavewords & Tommy Fung

An ordinary artifact until the presence of people uncovers significance. The interaction in between becomes dynamic and connects people to space; that is how an artwork comes to life. We, as the final touch, endow profound implications with the artwork and ultimately complete it.

“Simple as it may seem but the process can be frustrating and strenuous.” is the subject that deTour 2017 Creative Festival would like to explore. The process of “creating it out of nothing” is a crucial element that cannot be neglected in the appreciation of art. So in this year’s deTour, we particularly selected masterpieces that fully demonstrate the enigmatic interplay between men and art, after all communal involvement of people is part of the art.

A Hong Kong based installation artists and architects collective Bloom stimulates us with a spectacular 14-meter high lighting installation named Confluence, standing picturesquely in the atrium, appeared as a Chinese character 人 (man). When stepping on the floor filled with LED sensors, a tower of light then instantly responds to the spectators’ movement as a visual dialogue, addressing the major theme of unification within men, space and art.

Do you expect some visitors stomp around at will that can easily become chaotic? “It’s best when chaos takes place.” said Richard Wood, one of the artist collective members, with a mischievous smile. In a city where different languages and dialects mix in like Hong Kong, everybody gets together and all squeezed in the hallway; communicating with the ones around only with visual language would perhaps be a new and exciting experience.

Another featured piece of art is brought by new media artist Keith Lam, namely “Heliocentric”. Borrowing the nostalgic design form of Shing Wong Temple and The Government Central School, Keith chooses to present the world through Taoist ideas. As you walk into the light installation consisted of 3 circular structures in different dimensions, the dialogue between universe, knowledge and mankind unfolds, luring visitors into feeling the dark power of abyss.

Imagination knows no boundaries. A group of British artists from University College London have brought us a fascinating machine that can translate utterance into visible patterns, namely Weaving Words. Patterns are then inked onto yarn and woven together over course of the festival to create a rich tapestry, which somehow reminds us of a poetic exhibit at Art Setouchi – “Les Archives du Coeur” by French artist Christian Boltanski, houses recordings of the heartbeats from around the world which is exotically romantic.

When it comes to Hong Kong style art, “Real or Surreal” exhibition by Tommy Fung can surely arouse collective joy and excitement. Tommy discovers a “new” Hong Kong through editing and retouching photographs into surreal and amusing images. His compilation of images certainly amuse everyone in all ways - “Flying taxi” that pays tribute to the classic 80s sci-fi “Back to the Future”, distorted skyscrapers in central business district of Hong Kong, sitting cross-legged on the ferry in Victoria Harbor etc. Among all his works, the image of Leung Tim Choppers’ knife-like signage hitting the road looks so real that it was reposted predominantly by netizens, challenging the authenticity of people’s knowledge about the city.

Tommy bluntly expresses his primary motive on photo reappropriation and editing is to entertain the city, “Hong Kongers are so under pressure. Life’s all full of negative emotions but why can’t we be more optimistic and try to see things in a positive way?”

Exhibition aside, Tommy has also designed a fun game for visitors to “re-construct” Hong Kong in their way. By selecting different magnetic graphics, visitors can create a surreal collage of Hong Kong cityscape – Mobile softee truck landing on the Moon, egg waffles clouding a historic monument. Beyond imagination, collective memories stay in everyone’s mind and never fade.

Whether it is real or fabricated, online or offline, we can freely create and think big even with a tiny mobile in hand. “Some people think that they cannot create without knowing Photoshop, but it really isn’t the case. Once you come up with an idea, you can create anything anytime with any tools.”Tommy added.

In some people’s eyes, Tommy’s work is considered as cheesy and overrated memes. His working attitude has evolved little by little from solely for fun to endeavoring to make an impact on society. In response to the sudden drop of blood inventories earlier, he created and posted his work to appeal to members of the public for donation. Community associations concerning violence against women also invited for collaboration to promote zero violence and gender equity through photo-editing.

Photo by Tommy Fung

Creation is ubiquitous. Each art piece is like seeds that can grow and bloom gradually when falling on good soil.