Art cannot change the community overnight, but it can trigger people’s change of mind. The magic happens when one’s perspective shifts. Art can enhance your experience of life in a community. Such experience will give you a more holistic perception of the community. It works just like how multiple perspectives an ancient Chinese handscroll can provide. The intention to use the old saying “A mountain seen is a mountain being” from Zen Buddhism into understanding community, is to break down the conformation defining it. Under the umbrella of “mountain no mountain”, different art experiences will provide a whole new level of reading, understanding and feeling things, thus unfold the many different points of view about a community that was monotonous.
Imagining the future, making space for choices
Art creation is about imagining the future. Artworks don’t always project fantasies, but they do present hope underneath. The hope for bringing changes for the future. Artists/creators act like magnifiers for the society, they bear acute sensitivity, they can always discover unusual or unexpected scenery/phenomena in daily life. Art encourages the public to depart from the norm. The observation, discovery and reflection induced may perhaps annotate at some point in their life chapter.
The project adopted different art mediums/forms to provide various participatory experiences. The public will see how the artists/creators and participants envision what their good-old community could become. People will be able to acknowledge the possibilities to think out of the box and choices to live life are up for us to make.
Choices may not lead to drastic changes inside out, but the nuance of art is how it can touch your consciousness and senses. Once the mindset is changed, one would be able to see things differently.
Diverse ways of participation and art experiences present diversified ideals
There are many community art projects tailored for specific “needy” groups of people or areas, but not all communities carry “problems”. Art is not necessarily a tool for “problem-solving”. There are many more approaches to present more diverse ideals for the future.
Community arts could simply bring aesthetic experience by rediscovering the intriguing parts of the mundane surroundings and routines that people are so used to. It is like a glimpse of a brand new world enhancing daily life with a poetic touch. Community arts could also bring interference and reflection. A little change in some usual practices could let the public aware of what they have taken for granted in their way of living. Community arts could often hoist a sense of coherence: Empower specific group of people by uncovering their special quality and ability.
There are lots more to be discovered about approaches and ideals of community arts. We look forward to more participation from other artists and comments from different critics. Finally, we would like to thank the six participating artists for creating six different art experiences originated from their very own specialities. We would also like to thank the three invited critics, Cheung Mei, Chan Sai-lok and Ky Wong, as the “observers” for this project. Their unique views will unfold a whole new level of understanding about community arts.
方韻芝 Vangi Fong
Graduate from HKBU Academy of Visual Arts and minor in Humanity; Vangi works for design coordination, art education and public participatory projects, focusing on the issue of community, development and land. She is good at guiding young people and public to experience possibilities of art creation. In 2019, she attend Teacher Orientation Course organized by RTC Gaia School and start questioning the nature with the youth.In 2012 co-found Yaumatei Gardener that tried resisted city development via gardening, initiated projects included 'Yaumatei Gardener', 'Yaumatei Leftover Guide' & 'Pick It Good', all related to leftover cycle in urban city. She was also a member of Wooferten (community/art space) and So Boring (Community Kitchen) based in Yau Ma Tei. Other co-curated project focused on public participation including 'MaD@Westkowloon', 'FreespaceFest-Collaborative Programmes 2012', ''FreespaceFest- Construction in Progress 2013' and 'Creative Market in Partnership- The Free Marketeers (2014-2016)'. From 2015-2018, Vangi was team leader of education program of Blue House, curated programs about community education, cultural conservation as well as public open space workshops. Co-curate “A Page A Wish” at Oi! in 2019-2020, let the public experience the possibility of combining art into daily life. Another exhibition “The Practice of Every day Life” questions the feasibility of embedding environmental-friendliness into our daily practices.
黎蘊賢 Orlean Lai
成立 orleanlaiproject (www.orleanlaiproject.net)，強調「混雜協作」的跨域合作，探索不同展現方式的混種可能，模糊藝術類型框框、媒界的分野。
此外，2018年初製作了《肖像曲》，串連 Nerve與卓翔將「紀錄」從影片延伸到劇場，化為混種歌劇，從中探視崑曲、能劇與西方歌劇表演者的創作生平。2017年策動了多頻道演出《親密 Claustrophobia》與創作人馮程程、譚偉平及袁卓華共同實驗了一次裝置聲域平行敘事演出。
2018及2019年，獲香港藝術發展局委約，為賽馬會藝壇新勢力策劃了兩個跨媒介演出系列，分別為「風平草動」－ 於中環大館的監獄操場內進行的場域回應式演出系列，及「游山行」系列－ 於中上環一帶的古蹟歷驗演出之旅。
2019年成立另一機構 No Discipline Limited，希望發展更多跨領域的合作計劃及文化交流。並嘗試邀請不同文化藝術工作者參與，聯合策劃不同項目，以更寬闊視點、模式及討論，去探索對當代藝術/演出的理解與實驗。
Orlean Lai founded her production unit – orleanlaiproject (www.orleanlaiproject.net), focuses on curating hybrid collaborations across performing art and visual art, in exploring new possibility of presentation formats and fuse the boundary of art forms and mediums.
Orlean has curated Zoo as Metaphor (2014 at Oi!), which has attempted to adopt exhibition space for an experiential journey of narrative and performance; while the new edition of Zoo as Metaphor 2 (2018 at New Vision Arts Festival) has evolved from a crossed form of exhibition and performance into an experiential journey of social experiment.
Other collaborative projects include: Songs of Portrait (2018) with Nerve and Cheuk Cheung expanded the medium of documentary beyond the screen to live performance on stage, illustrating the lives and practices of performers from the traditions of Kunqu, Noh and Italian opera. In 2017, orleanlaiproject also featured the intermedia collaborative performance, Claustrophobia with Vee Leong, Tam Wai-ping and Yuen Cheuk-wa, which experimented with integrating installation, sonic writing, and soundscape into a parallel narrative performance.
In 2018 & 2019, orleanlaiproject was commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council to curate the Finale programme series for the Jockey Club New Arts Power. The projects were: Swim Walking (2018) – a series of art journeys held in the Central / Sheung Wan district; and Wild is the Grass (2019) – a series of site-responsive performances held at the heritage site of Tai Kwun.
In 2019, she founded another organisation – No Discipline Limited, aims to foster more intermedia experiment and cross-cultural collaboration. NDL tries to invite other cultural/arts practitioners to share the curatorial, with widening the perspectives in mind, practices and discussion on contemporary arts/performance.
Orlean was Asia Cultural Council Fellowship recipient of 2016.