IN SESSION 4 - NG Ka-chun
pretend that I live in here
IN SESSION 4 –
from July 31, 2015
from Sept 8, 2015
pretend that I live in here | 假裝我住在這裡
NG Ka Chun (b.1985) is a Hong Kong-based artist. His art unsettles city dwellers' relationship with nature. In many of his works, he puts a spin on ready-made objects, presenting an alternative perspective that challenges the commonly accepted way of life. He also responds to social issues concerning fast-paced development in the city and preservation with interventional installations. In recent years, he has participated in several public/community art projects.
NG Ka-chun (aka Ah Hei) carved a chair out of a tree stump two years ago in response to Ping Che villagers’ multiple accounts of what a chair in the Ping Yeung School (坪洋學校) used to look like.
I have always known by word of mouth about Ah Hei’s excellence in wood work, but I didn’t know him well. When I emailed him through a friend’s introduction, he said, “Hi Yang. I am here :)”
Y: Yeung Yang
H: Ng Ka-chun
On first encounter (via Facebook)
H Wow, it’s an amazing space. I like it.
Probably I will visit it tomorrow.
Look forward to more and more interesting things happening there.
H i come up with an idea which is to transform the space into a flat living space and work/ live inside to create improvisation, based on 9am to 6pm working hours for 1 month. It’s about improvisation of space construction and staying in the space. i don’t think the final work would be the same as i expect. When do you think is the best time to start this project? Do you think i can start from Sep?
Y Sep is wonderful. If there is something that could stay after you leave, we could think of this being ‘in session’ for a while more, through October. I have some extra IKEA wood you can use, and there are a few pieces in A3, too. Let’s meet at A3. I need to go downtown (出城 ) a bit sometimes, just like you.
H At some point, maybe in October, I would like to do a house-warming! My friends keep saying they want to visit me and my baby in Kam Sheung Road, but it’s so far away. So perhaps they could come and see us here in Causeway Bay.
Is Hei a ‘dreamer, a roamer, a drifter’ (borrowed from a book which I now do not recall)?
Hei regards Shop A3 as a two-dimensional ‘cardboard space’ which has the width of his shoulders. He puts himself in place by measuring it with his body, or, by having his body measured by the space. I think of how Pak Sheung-chuen perceives the temperature of a fellow, anonymous body on the MTR by measuring his body with the heat of a seat just vacated.
Hei also finds the space ambiguous. He asks, “Can I develop this ambiguity further to make people wonder if someone actually lives here?” His question is a reminder of how this wonder may have been forgotten, for urban space is so fenced, walled, closed, barricaded, that on street level, one sees predominantly consumption and state control. Ordinary activities that make what living is – and with them, living human beings – are banished from our eye-level street experience.
RETREAT/ RESEARCH/ SEARCH
In Real Presences, George Steiner invites us to “imagine a society in which all talk about the arts, music and literature is prohibited.” (4) (So I must stop what I am doing now.) “In this society,” he furthers, “all discourse, oral or written, about serious books or paintings or pieces of music is held to be illicit verbiage.” Would the consequence be a “blank and passive silence […] around the life of the creative imagination?” His answer is a firm No, and he goes on to make the case that all serious art is a critical act, “a criticism of life”. Hence, as the artists make with their hands, they are always already critical of their own products and of its precedent.” (12) In this proposition, Steiner takes the artists awareness of their precedents as given and in their act of making, they critique them as “real presences” with a “penetrative authority”. (13)
So far, Hei has not spoken about his precedents except himself, his own habits of making as the object of response in his improvisation at A3. This is in itself interesting, in that while one may call this past self of Hei still Hei, it is also possible to figure this as a precedent like any other that is not-Hei. This is one level of his work I am curious to find out more about.
At the same time, if Steiner’s idea of precedent is opened up to include all those that come before the work, non-art included, the critical act he is exercising could be understood as directed to the systematic production of apathy by society through commodification of everything. There is nothing new I have to say about such processes here, but Hei’s work in A3 is a specific and singular act bounded by A3’s particular time-space that shows where apathy does not hold.
The second line of thinking has been the artistic process as an activity of domestication. By this I do not mean making a home for the sheltering of an individual and her immediate network of loyalties. Rather, I mean the construction of a self-sufficient, self-contained, and relevant ecology that may or may not result in the representation of home, but more, the borderline between the desire to domesticate and its continuous frustration, for being unending.
Our conversation continues on Oct 24 at ACO (participation by invitation only)