Video documentation | They Come in Droves: In Search of Lo Ting with The 20/F

In 1997, the mythical half-human, half-fish creature, Lo Ting, made its entrance into Hong Kong’s cultural landscape when Oscar Ho commissioned authors and artists to create portraits of Lo Ting for the exhibition Hong Kong Incarnated—Museum 97: History Community Individual. The project later evolved into a trilogy that included Hong Kong Reincarnated: New Lo Ting Archaeological Find and Lo Ting: New Discovery on 1197 Massacre. Despite the project’s mythical context, the exhibitions reflected Hong Kong’s anxiety surrounding its post-handover identity.  

As a “species indigenous to Lantau Island,” the Lo Ting is a fitting embodiment of the coastal lifestyle of island communities—that of living off the land and the water, of thriving off both sides, yet not belonging to either. Between the land and the sea, human and creature, hidden and exposed—what exactly is the myth about? The forgotten past? The collective silence of the present? Or the revival of the future?  

This conversation will explore the curatorial concepts of Lo Ting’s trilogy of exhibitions, followed by a discussion with members of the art collective, The 20/F, who participated in them. The discussion will reflect on the project’s creative processes that appropriated history for other narrative purposes, the exchanges that occurred among artists, and the nature of myth itself: is it to be taken seriously, or is it merely a farce?  

This event is part of the Hong Kong Room talk series. A key feature of AAA’s new library, the Hong Kong Room is a display and meeting place that activates and develops AAA Collections focusing on Hong Kong artists, art spaces, and publications. We currently hold over 20,000 records dedicated to Hong Kong, documenting the activities of over 7,000 individuals and organisations in the local arts community. These range from reference books, exhibition catalogues, journals, and independent publications from the 1960s onwards, to the personal archives of key figures such as Ha Bik Chuen, Oscar Ho Hing Kay, Frog King Kwok Mang Ho, Ellen Pau, and Nigel Cameron. 

Speakers: Ng Tsz-kwan, Phil Shek and Annie Wan Lai Kuen

Moderators: Anthony Leung Po Shan and Vivian Ting 

This talk will be conducted in Cantonese.

Anthony Leung Po Shan is a writer and critic on topics such as art ecology, city space, cultural politics, and art labour. She is published in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, InMedia (Hong Kong), City Magazine, Ocula, as well as in various Chinese language publications, including LEAP, TANC, Artouch, and initium media. Leung is the founder and honorary secretary of Island Studies Network (HK). Leung holds an MPhil and PhD from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an MA in History of Art from Leeds University. 

Ng Tsz-kwan is the co-founder and executive creative director of yucolab, specialising in multimedia art and commercial design. Since 2000, Ng has been applying new media technology in projects spanning art, commercial exhibitions, and museums. His works explore how media technology and presentation methods affect human cognition. Ng studied fine art in Hong Kong and the UK.  

Phil Shek is a photographic artist with a keen interest in documentary photography. Through his practice, he investigates the artistic possibilities of the photographic medium, ranging from traditional aesthetics to emerging digital immersive technologies. Phil Shek graduated from the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University. He earned an MSc from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and an MA in Philosophy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a recipient of the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Award. 

Vivian Ting is an independent curator and researcher interested in how public life in Hong Kong is shaped through diverse cultural imaginations and consumption patterns. Vivian has participated in art projects such as Here and There: Re-imagining Hong Kong Landscapes (2022), Via North Point public art programme: Social Generic Outcomes Assessment (2020–22), and 20/20 Hong Kong Print Art Exhibition (2020). Ting graduated from the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and holds a PhD in Museum Studies from University of Leicester. 

Annie Wan Lai Kuen is Associate Professor of the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University. Her work is collected by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, as well as art institutions internationally. She received Hong Kong Arts Development Council’s Artist of the Year Award in 2018, and was the winner of the Philippe Charriol Foundation Art Competition Award in Sculpture. Born in Hong Kong, Annie obtained a BFA and MFA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Island Studies Network (HK) serves as a platform for members and the public to exchange knowledge and practices related to islands. Island Studies Network (HK) welcomes of academic scrutiny, social innovation, technological experimentation, and creative praxis as a means to produce knowledge about or via the island. Located in Hong Kong, an island connected to the world through bodies of water, the Network acts as a bridge linking regional and inter-regional parties to open up new horizons for island studies.  

 

This talk is co-presented by Island Studies Network (HK) and Asia Art Archive.

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Mapping Identities: The Art and Curating of Oscar Ho
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