As we seek a more equal co-existence between humans and non-humans in the face of climate change and mass extinction, how do we think about knowledge beyond conventional archives and collections? Zheng Bo—artist and scholar in residence at AAA in the fall of 2018—reimagines ways to approach collections from an ecological perspective. He asks how we interpret archives and collections as cycles of knowledge—produced and then composted—rather than as bodies of materials preserved forever. He also looks at gardens, seeds, and genes as sites of knowledge—not only producing but distributing knowledge across time and space.
As part of his residency, Zheng Bo conducts conversations with scientists around the idea of “living collections”; leads a walking and drawing exercise; moderates a roundtable discussion; and makes interventions in the AAA Library.
Walking and Drawing Exercise with Zheng Bo
Saturday, 8 December 2018, 10am–12pm
Please gather at AAA Library on 11/F.
Limited to 8 people
Zheng Bo leads a walk in Sheung Wan and Central, observing and drawing weeds between the cracks. This silent and collective exercise asks how one can slow down in an urban centre, learn from plants, and imagine non-anthropocentric worlds.
Discussion: Living Collections
Saturday, 15 December 2018, 11:30am–1:30pm
Please meet us at the entrance of AAA at 11:15am (G/F), or at the herbal garden of the Museum of Medical Sciences at 11:30am.
We will first walk as a group to explore the nearby medicinal garden at the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, where Rose Mak, the chief gardener, will greet us.
When we return to AAA, Zheng Bo will engage in a conversation with David M. Baker, Assistant Professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong. Baker’s research focuses on ecology, conservation, and biodiversity. Baker and Zheng will explore how non-human beings practice knowledge.
Three respondents will also contribute to the conversation: Michael Leung, artist/designer, urban farmer, and lecturer; Michelle Wong, AAA Researcher; and Özge Ersoy, AAA Public Programmes Lead. Together we will brainstorm how knowledge production can become more ecological, and how knowledge composting might be realised.
AAA Library Interventions
2 February–2 March 2019
Zheng Bo brings in forms of living matter into the AAA Library—small in scale and diverse in nature. These may include winged seeds collected by the late artist Ha Bik Chuen, a small box of local weeds, or a note of gratitude to plants that made paper and electricity. Zheng Bo invites us to see libraries as ecological spaces, and to imagine knowledge as more-than-human endeavours.
All events are free and open to the public with registration.
Zheng Bo lives in Hong Kong. His practice centres on plants and politics. He has worked with museums and art spaces in Asia and Europe, including Parco Arte Vivente in Turin, Villa Vassilieff in Paris, TheCube Project Space in Taipei, and Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, among others. He teaches at the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media.
Zheng Bo’s residency is part of Who Owns It?, a series that considers users as active participants with the agency to change institutions. How do people build a sense of ownership or community around a common aspiration? What unites a seed collector and museum curator, or a refugee camp and an impermanent shrine? AAA asks artists, architects, farmers, and scholars to reflect on users that produce, collect, build, and destroy.
Zheng’s residency is a programme under The Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project (2016–19), generously supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.