Freespace Fest in Pictures

16 12 2012
Freespace Fest!

Freespace Fest!

I’ve been told that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

I concur. 

But free space? There’s lots of it – and at Freespace Fest, it’s all being put to great use. 

Live music. Dancing. Performances. Art. Boutique stalls. The open sky. Friends. Food. Grass. 

Bliss. 

Hong Kong’s creative potential. Right here. 

And now, a taste of it in photos…enjoy.  *Click on the photos to enlarge. 

The sun sets on Freespace Fest - but the music, dancing, food and life continues!

The sun sets on Freespace Fest – but the music, dancing, food and life continues!

Plenty of beer to go around, too.

Plenty of beer to go around, too.

People. Grass. Open sky. Music. Happiness.

People. Grass. Open sky. Music. Happiness.

Eat your greens!

Eat your greens!

DSC_0385

A super acrobatic dance performance. They were hardcore - literally.

A super acrobatic dance performance. They were hardcore – literally.

Dancing on exercise equipment? You bet!

Dancing on exercise equipment? You bet!

A lovely, innovative bamboo structure.

A lovely, innovative bamboo structure by the water. 

Sit and chill under this bamboo structure by the sea side.

Sit and chill…come to think of it, this would be a big hit with pandas! 

DIY eco-friendly organic detergent made only of orange peel, sugar and water, fermented all together in an airtight bottle for 3+ months. You end up with a sweet and refreshing Dettol-like liquid, but without all the chemicals! Great for dishes, the floor...cleaning in general. You've got to keep the Earth clean while you're cleaning, too.

DIY eco-friendly organic detergent made only of orange peel, sugar and water, fermented all together in an airtight bottle for 3+ months. You end up with a sweet and refreshing Dettol-like liquid, but without all the chemicals! Great for dishes, the floor…cleaning in general. You’ve got to keep the Earth clean while you’re cleaning, too.

An gory organ vending machine...

An gory organ vending machine…

Flags: pick one, add you own design, plant it.

Flags: pick one, paint on it your own design, plant it in the ground. 

Spread your wings and fly away...

Spread your wings and fly away… (Sadly, when I visited again on the second day, the pole had toppled over and the bird had fallen down. An accident or a creative intention? A veiled reference to the bird flu epidemic? An implicit allusion to the trampling of freedom? 

Another stall featuring works by a local artist.

Another stall featuring works by a local artist.

Lots of stalls featuring products by local designers and artists.

Lots of stalls featuring products by local designers and artists. Here, handmade cloth bags 西拐角. 

The ICC in the background.

The ICC in the background.

A clay workshop, open to all.

A clay workshop, open to all.

Freespace. Lots of free space. Relish in a wave of creativity.

Freespace. Lots of free space. Relish in a wave of creativity.

An intricate web made entirely of rubber bands.

An intricate web made entirely of rubber bands.

Take the stage.

Take the stage.

 





Movement, Balance & The Art of Being Still

5 12 2012

Silas House, in his essay The Art of Being Still, expresses beautifully the delicate equilibrium between movement and stillness.

Writing is a very active pursuit: there is the fluid flow of words, the vivid visualisations, and perhaps some brain rattling to squeeze out those ideas onto the written page.

Mr. House points out one jarring problem, however: “too many writers today are afraid to be still”.

Like me, Mr. House is constantly in motion. But he also knows there can be movement in stillness: “We writers must learn how to become still in our heads, to achieve the sort of stillness that allows our senses to become heightened.”

We must ingest and digest simultaneously, as Eddie from the movie Limitless put it, and as I explained here.

Most tellingly, the Chinese word for movement is 動靜 – dong jing. Dong means movement, jing means stasis and quiet. Put together you have a beautiful word that perfectly exemplifies the equilibrium between the two. Movement and stillness are not polarities – they are in fact forever in balance.

Mr. House gives his essay a roaring finale with these fine words:

I give it to you now and hope that you will take it out into the waiting world, pushing forth through all of your daily work and joys and struggles with a bit of your mind focused on reality and the larger part of it quiet, still, and always thinking like a writer.

Yes, move. But stay still, too. And hang on tight – it’s going to be a hell of a ride!





A Few Street Shots Around Hong Kong

29 01 2012

A nice Sunday morning – time to stroll around town and look for stories.

Do let me know what your favourite photo is – why does it work for you? I’d also love to know which photos didn’t work out so well, and why.

You can also look at the photos my Flickr photostream.





SoHo Gallery Ramble

22 07 2011

SoHo. Photo by Ed Kruger.

Here’s a little activity that I’ve grown to like more and more over this summer: rambling around SoHo and taking my pick from the many boutique-y art galleries dotted all around the vibrant district.

The whole district feels like a humongous, open air art museum, and walking from one gallery to the next is like visiting the different rooms of a museum. There’s documentary photography over by that street, and contemporary conceptual around that corner. Sandwiched between these  are paintings, sculptures and videos too. And thrown into the whole mix is none other than the delicious wafts of good food being cooked, served and consumed.

I myself went on a small ramble today and visited a few interesting galleries.

I started with (S)EXPOSURE by Kiribane at the Fringe Club’s Fotogallerie, which showcased a series of photos that play on different camera exposures.

Then, I made my way up to the Sundaram Tagore Gallery for the ‘Continuum’ exhibition. The work of thirteen different artists are showcased, working in diverse mediums including oil, acrylic, metal, paper and photography. At the moment, I’m not too interested in non-photographic works so I didn’t spend much time at Sundaram Tagore.

Next stop – the Culture Club Gallery for the a photography exhibition entitled “Tibetan Colours”. What I really liked about it were the powerful red hues that ran through all the photos. That passionate reds gave the photos a sense of warmth, energy and…movement.

Wandering on, I stopped by the Blindspot Gallery on Aberdeen Street where the current Gallery Artists Group Exhibition was presenting the photographs of four mainland Chinese artists. My favourite piece – hands down – was Jiang Pengyi’s award-winning Unregistered City which depicts the “city, still objects and massive skyscrapers reduced to miniature sizes” to  communicate the themes of “excessive urbanization, redevelopment and demolition in the Beijing city.”

Unregisterd City, No. 2 by Jiang Penyi

To wrap up my ramble, I finally headed to the gallery Contemporary by Angela Li for the exhibition Once Upon a Time where there was a mix of photography, sculptures and video works.

Phew! What a nice stroll around five galleries in Soho. Content with my dose of photography, art and walking for the day, I happily made my way home…

 





Outwardly walking, inwardly sprinting

1 07 2011

On my flight to Amsterdam, I picked up  Ian McEwan’s novel Amsterdam in which he describes one character as “outwardly walking, inwardly sprinting”. I thought, that sounds a whole lot like me!

There are two forms of movement referred to in the quote: walking (slow, calm) and sprinting (rapid, hurried). There’s an allusion to a hurriedness that’s intrinsic to one’s behaviour (sprinting), masked at the same time by an illusion of calmness (walking).

In certain ways the quotation really fits me quite well. I’m mostly calm and composed, but also always wanting to do more, see more, move more. There’s not a lot of walking and waltzing in me. It’s more of a brisk walk, often speeding up into a sprint – sprinting for everything.

Spending a few days in Amsterdam and visiting museums made me think a little more about this whole ‘movement’ thing.

What do we really get from museum visits?
I’d like to think that there is movement involved: an intellectual kind of movement, a kind of unconscious soaking up of knowledge which may (or may not) come in handy later on. Also, a kind of spiritual movement (in art museums anyway) – looking at the artists’ creative process, trying to understand what they wanted to express, putting myself in the artists’ shoes and attempting to look at the paintings from their viewpoint.

There’s also movement in that we’re allowed a glimpse of how the concept of beauty has moved and evolved over time. I think the

Still life by Adriaen van Utrecht

Dutch masters of still life are great for this. Nowadays a lot of us have taken to taking photos of our food and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr. whatever. We do this beacause the food is what we look at, and also what we want others to look at. It’s important enough to us to be worth of a picture shared to the world. Perhaps we find, unconsciously, some intrinsic beauty in our food which compels us to record it.

Photo posted on Twitter by @dotsmy

To a large extent, I think the Dutch still life masters did the same thing. Intricate paintings of potatoes, wine glasses, flowers, fruits…meticulous attention paid to light and shadows: these were what the Dutch still life masters saw and painted. In this sense I find it fascinating to move back in time and look at what these Dutch masters spent their days examining closely.

OK. So there’s all this movement everywhere – but then what?
I’m not too sure what it is that I take away from each of these museum visits. It probably isn’t any kind of profound inspiration, because I don’t know enough about the paintings to relate properly. I’m not even sure if I take away any concrete form of knowledge either, because as much as I’ve been exposed to these new forms of artistic stimuli, I don’t think I’ve learnt anything – not consciously anyway.

What I do think I take away from these museum visits is a kind of slowing down. The artworks (try to) make me stop my inward sprinting, and to slow it to a run, a jog, maybe even a saunter. They make me stop, look, examine, attempt to appreciate and understand – slow down to take it all in.

So perhaps that’s what I really take from museum visits: to outwardly walk, and to inwardly reflect, ponder, and…slow down.