When artist Lau Hok Shing Hanison was invited to participate in the exhibit “Multimedia Exhibition: The (non) Existing Memory of Hong Kong in Literary Text,” he created three works in response to Xi Xi’s My City. The exhibit was displayed at 4/F of Exhibition Venue at Comix Home Base during 9 – 27 March 2016 and was sponsored by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
The works are entitled “My City”, “Pineapples” and “Y”, and they were inspired by chapters 13, 12 and 9 of My City. The interpretations below are based on the artist’s own reflections about each work.
“My City” (2016) is a wooden sculpture shaped like Hong Kong Island. It is surrounded by an ocean made of epoxy resin, the seabed is a distorted 1974 map of Hong Kong in 1974, echoing Xi Xi’s depictions of Hong Kong in the 1970s. Just as the sculpture is small enough to be held in the palm of one’s hand, the artist hopes that Hong Kong people can learn how to grasp their local culture. The artwork is based on the conversation between Fruit and his mother when he came back from a trip in chapter 13 of My City. The experience and feelings of his mother fleeing from the north are intertwined with Fruit’s local travels. This conversation reflects the alternation of the “passerby” mentality and local consciousness in 1970s Hong Kong.
“Pineapples” (2016) is composed of real pineapples and fake pineapples (including a toy pineapple, slippers with pineapple design, clothes, and so forth). The real pineapples refer to those stolen by Silly in My City, which themselves symbolize the homemade bombs or “pineapple” that were found during in the 1967 riots. There’s a paragraph in My City, narrated by pineapples themselves, who claimed that they are real fruit, sweet and fragrant, and they are not going to eat the kids’ mouth and fingers–an allusion to the siblings killed by bombs during the riots. Another part of the artwork presents a box of fake pineapples, sprinkled with red paint like blood stains.“Y” (2016) is based on the concept of “Yes” in Chapter 9 of My City. The story describes how dead bodies were placed in the train cart bearing the word “Yes” and transported to the place of burial. At the end of the story the narrator observes that “Every day, in this city there are always some things or other quietly bidding us farewell, and then gradually disappearing.” The artist put a number of wooden beads into a wooden box, with a map of Hong Kong pasted on the bottom. The rolling and tumbling movement of the wooden beads provides a metaphor for the passing of Hong Kong’s cultural values.
(Photos are provided by Lau Hok Shing Hanison.)