Sunday, July 30, 2017

'No holiday' - Chi Ma Wan

During the development stage of the performance 'No holiday', I experimented with different formats and locations and originally I had singled out the Chi Ma Wan peninsula on the south side of Lantau Island in Hong Kong as being a good location. However, I discovered that the mobile coverage there was intermittent and in several places the connection dropped altogether.

As the performance would be live-streamed to Toronto later that month (January 2017) I decided to switch locations across the channel to Cheung Chau Island. As it happened the curators of the festival introduced a Chinese New year theme and so the new location seemed to be more appropriate as I would be exploring one or two of the small temples on the island.

The work-in-progress on the Chi Ma Wan peninsula had been recorded so that the day's activity could be reviewed later and so I have now decided to edit the footage into a logical presentation and this is now another film version of the 'No holiday' performance.

In the future I am still hoping that I could conduct this performance in other locations.

'No holiday' - Chi Ma Wan, Lantau Island, Hong Kong - 5th January 2017

The recording can also be viewed on my channel here:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Students' Cultural Film Project

After a semester teaching Aesthetics and Semiotics to students of Film and Television, Visual Communication and Digital Music and Media I was invited by my Film and Television students to take part in one of their group projects.

The group project had focused upon the last tradesman making hand-painted signs for the mini-buses of Hong Kong, Mr. Mak of Hawk Ltd - M/F, 39 Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. They interviewed me and asked me several questions about how I felt regarding this phenomenon and if I felt that the decision to create smaller souvenir signs would help to promote the man's business and keep the tradition going.

It is heartwarming that Hong Kong youngsters are interested in these craftsmen and women and wish to raise awareness in order to preserve Hong Kong culture.
The students involved in this project were: Tso Kwong Chi, Chung Sum Yuk, Ng Sze Yung, Yam Yi, Lam Tse Wai, and Cheung Ming Fung.

I was flattered that the students wanted to interview me and also that they called me a 'cultural scholar' in the video...I would have liked to give them a hand with the subtitles though! Joking aside, I do enjoy teaching and interacting with the students and experiences like this make it seem worthwhile when the activity of teaching is becoming harder and harder due to the discouraging actions of management.

Mr Mak's company Facebook page can be found here.

The Film and Television students' youtube page can be found here.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Path to Enlightenment - July 2017

I had been working on different projects that related to the Sisyphus myth and eventually one group of experimental threads coalesced into a resolved performance piece.

It is said that in order to reach a state of enlightenment and experience nirvana, we must first rid ourselves of worldly delusions. Nirvana literally means something like 'extinguishing' or 'quenching' and the flame that we must extinguish is that of greed, hatred and other selfish and worldly obsessions.

I wished to demonstrate such a struggle and in this performance I found a simple, I should say simplistic, method of encapsulating this struggle. In the performance, I act as another Sisyphean character attempting to extinguish the candle that represents the delusions that must be quenched, and as is the nature of the Sisyphean experience, each attempt fails...the candle relights itself. After a period I try again, only to fail again (shades of Beckett's famous line from Worstward Ho: 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better').

This struggle could continue for ever but, thankfully, the candle eventually extinguishes itself after running out of wax and paraffin vapour. So is this the end of the struggle? Perhaps not because as often is the case in life, these tasks are set not by others but by ourselves. We often bring on these torments to ourselves without even realising it.
The beginning of the performance alludes to this, as I am the one who lights the candle thereby initiating the process, which is why I incorporated the lighting of the candle into the performance.

'The Path to Enlightenment' - 2nd July 2017

The recording can also be viewed on my channel here:

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Etching demonstration for the HK Art Promotion Office

Recently, while sorting out some of my things which had remained boxed up for quite a while I discovered a DVD produced by the Hong Kong Art Promotion Office in 2009, which was made to coincide with an exhibition organised by the Hong Kong Graphics Society, held in the HK Visual Art Centre and Ho Man Tin Plaza shopping centre.
The DVD presented several different printmaking media so my section was quite brief and only allowed for a very superficial introduction.