This series of home-based, creative exercises reexamines the role of art during moments of crisis in the contemporary world.
In light of class suspensions in Hong Kong during the coronavirus outbreak in spring 2020, AAA has invited local artists to design a range of educational activities for teachers to help students carry out at home. These exercises encourage teachers and students to reflect upon their experience of the virus outbreak, relevant social issues, and the purpose of art in times of emergency.
In response to the phenomenon of panic buying, experienced artist-educator Kith Tsang Tak Ping encourages students to observe, reassess, and make changes to their consumption habits through this performance art exercise.
Teachers are invited to share the process and result of students practising these exercises on Learning & Participation's Facebook group: Contemporary Art in Asia: Teachers’ Community.
- Practise the idea of "Art is life, life is art."
- Use performance art to communicate with family members and improve their relationships with one another.
- Use performance art as a tool to observe, understand, analyse, and improve daily (consumption) habits, and thus to be more well-prepared for surprises in the future.
Task 1: Field Studies
- Observe your family members
Observe and record the living habits of your family members. For instance, you may study the route of your mother’s daily shopping trip, then analyse the shopping receipts (paying attention to information such as stores, shopping items, quantities and prices). Create hand-drawn/electronic maps to record this information.
Interview your family to understand their consumption habits, and record them with text and maps.
Task 2: Online Studies
Go online and gather information on alternative service providers, such as community farms, independent stores, and craftsmen. Create a digital archive by collecting related pictures and links, and adding descriptions to them.
Task 3: Conclusion and Develop a “New Life”
- Hold regular family meetings to discuss possibilities of improving everyday habits, and set up different phases for completion to gradually realise the plan.
- Hold regular family meetings to review and develop diverse daily practices.
- Open a social media page to share the experience and result of your “New Life.” Create an online community to encourage the exchange and sharing of ideas.
Further Discussion Questions
- How does the disease outbreak create fear in our everyday lives?
- We seem to have a lot of choices in our daily lives, but is this really the case?
- Is it possible for us to enjoy "self-sustainable" lives in Hong Kong? Are there any successful examples?
- How has this experience helped you to prepare for the unexpected events or news in the future?
Notes to Teachers
Performance art is the ideal art form for implementing the idea of "Art is life, life is art." The creators have absolute autonomy and agency. They can improve upon themselves and their relationships with others by responding to people, events, and objects with truth, kindness, and beauty—and these acts are not restricted by art forms such as painting, sculpture, and ceramics. The process of creation is a process to get a hold on one’s everyday life, and that is the most important. As for the next moment of crisis, come what may, we would be well prepared for it!
About the Artist
Kith Tsang Tak Ping is an educator of art and design. He is also involved in visual arts, design, publication, curating, and art and design criticism. Tsang taught for twenty-four years in the School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As an artist, designer, and curator, Tsang has exhibited widely in Asia, Europe, and North America. Since 2014, he has been volunteering at the School of Everyday Life to promote art and culture, life education, and environmental education. He is also the mentor of “Life Walker Class,” which promotes mindful youth development. He joined the Lee Shiu Kee School of Creativity as a visual arts teacher in 2015 to implement the first performance art class at high school level in Hong Kong.
Publishing date: 12 Mar 2020
The AAA Learning and Participation Programme is supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited.