Where to go ? Where to come from?

Title:   何處來? 何處去?
Digital Video Installation : 3 monitors / projections
Length : 2 mins (lopping)
Format: HD Video 1920 x1080
Year: 2012

Video Introduction / Video Demo

Introduction: (summary version)

作品的引子是創作人 洪 強 於2006 年時首次踏足美國,在紐約居住的那數個月所接觸的 ‘自由’, ‘理想’ , ‘民主’ 與 ‘身分’ 的價值觀經驗!象徵著一個時代所期望的理想!
當 洪 強 遇那麼多千奇百怪的美國自由神像時,腦海不自覺地浮現那絲毫不差的毛主席像!兩者都在同一個年代代表著某一個【理想】!但不同地方嘅人民對【理想】所能行使的詮釋權卻大有逕庭!回看今天,創作人只能以兩個問題作為此作品的題: 何處來? 何處去?

The genesis of my idea to create this piece could be dated back to my first visit to America in 2006. To me, this statue represents a dream and an ideal world at a certain point in history. But, as an artist new to New York, I felt stunned and surprised to encounter so many different kinds and types of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ in the city. Such an experience was amazing to mm which recalling my first impression of my first visit to Mainland of China 20 years ago. When coming back to Hong Kong, I could not help comparing these two different experiences. Different people from different countries are offered different rights to interpret each figure respectively. This is a simple observation, but one that touched me a lot, which lead me to further question: Where we are going? Where are we coming from?

Introduction: (full version)

作品的引子是藝術家於2006 年時首次踏足美國,在紐約居住的那數個月所接觸的 ‘自由’, ‘理想’ , ‘民主’ 與 ‘身分’ 的價值觀經驗!那就是自由女神;或,自由神像!象徵著一個時代所期望的理想!創作 人十分感慨當時他在紐約市所遇到的自由神像都可以自由地以唔同嘅形式出現!有偏鼻,有Q版,有銀色,有五官不全?,又有歪口歪鼻,仲有唔同膚色,各式各 樣,蔚為奇觀!

在那一刻!令藝術家不期然勾起廿年前 – 1986 – 第一次踏足祖國土地的視覺震撼,滿眼所見既都係一同位人物既圖像!這人物圖像出現次數比廟宇中既神像多。但最有趣的,是這人物的所有造型都必須依據中央所規定的官方標準,無論係畫嘅,印嘅,立體嘅,通通係對這人物有著特定的標準和無誤差嘅描述! 絲毫沒有任何誤差!

回到2006年,當創作人遇那麼多千奇百怪的美國自由神像時,腦海不自覺地浮現那絲毫不差的毛主席像!兩者都在同一個年代代表著某一個【理想】!但不同地方嘅人民對【理想】所能行使的詮釋權卻大有逕庭!回看今天,創作人只能以兩個問題作為此作品的題:
何處來? 何處去?

Title: Where to go ? Where to come from?
Digital Video Installation : 3 monitors / projection
Length : 2 mins (lopping)
Format: HD Video 1920 x1080
Year: 2012

The genesis of my idea to create this piece could be dated back to my first visit to America in 2006. In my perception, I always have one idea of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ [1]in my mind since I was a kid. This perception has not changed until I first arrived in US in 2006. I had been living in the US for three months as an ACC fellow [2], and since then had reinterpreted the concept and the value of “freedom/liberty” and “democracy/ republic”, “a dream / ideal” ;  identity.
To me, this statue represents a dream and an ideal world at a certain point in history. But, as an artist new to New York, I felt stunned and surprised to encounter so many different kinds and types of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ in the city. The appearance of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ can be freely visualised and transformed with any kinds of idea and methods, ranging from color, shape, proportion, etc. For example, I saw the skin of the ‘Statue of Liberty’ painted in black, orange and silver; I saw the eyes, nose and mouth merged together; I saw her skinny or fat; I saw the figure performed by an actor in the street, etc.

Such an experience was amazing to mm which recalling my first impression of my first visit to Mainland of China 20 years ago. In 1986, when I was sixteen, it was the first time I visited China officially, the most impressive experience was to see the same image of Chairman Mao widely spread out in the different cites, and the quantity of this figure is certainly more than the statues in the temples. In the past, there was an old Chinese saying: ‘statues are full of the sky’; but today, I could feel this saying had another meaning. The most interesting thing was, I noticed that every versions of this statue are absolutely identical. This figure can be found everywhere through different medium of pictorial representation, such as sculpture, printed matter, badge, painting and poster, etc. But no matter the difference in medium, shape and proportion, the figures are all visualized precisely the same – as all need to be centralized and standardized by the rule and the law.

When coming back to Hong Kong, I could not help comparing these two different experiences. Different people from different countries are offered different rights to interpret each figure respectively. This is a simple observation, but one that touched me a lot, which lead me to further question:  Where we are going? Where are we coming from?


[1] The ‘Statue of Liberty’, a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886, is the starting point. It is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, and it has become an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States.

[2] Asian Cultural Council Fellowship 2005-06

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