USD IconCaretDown
EN IconCaretDown
IconHamburger
IconSearch
IconClose
IconSearch
IconCaretDown
By Medium
USD IconCaretDown
EN IconCaretDown

Back to Artzine


Let There Be Light

Share

by
Let There Be Light
"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

Hong Kong is a fast-paced city where people, either willingly or unwillingly, are constantly on the move. The sounds of the city - traffic lights, horn of cars, and crowd control announcements in MTR to name but a few - forms a peculiar symphony that guides the citizens from destination to destination between which room for detour are minimal. Sometimes people choose to put on masks, play music on earphones or even shut our senses altogether to deal with the boring everyday routines, and the overwhelming pollutions of air, light and sound. In order to break away the regularity of life, it is not uncommon that people opt for different forms of art to spice up their life. However, a good piece of art does not only bring us enjoyment as a pastime, but also sheds light on the valuable but forgotten things that are being squeezed away by everyone’s packed schedules.

In recent years, through large-scale public engaging art projects, Hong Kong artist Kingsley Ng continuously finds ways for his audiences to experience the city in a different way by telling neglected stories of the city. One of the most memorable artworks of Ng was "Twenty-five Minutes Older". Ng transformed two moving trams into camera obscuras, in which the artist turned the stunning cityscape of Hong Kong upside down and invited the audiences to reflect on the “reality” shown by the parallel universe.

"Twenty-five Minutes Older" (2016) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Erin Li.

In November 2017, Ng also participated in Lumieres Hong Kong and presented "Over The Ocean" in Chater Garden, a park located in the busiest district of Hong Kong. He used sound and light to sing and tell the songs and stories of those who have drifted to, from, and around Hong Kong.

"Over the Ocean" (2017) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Erin Li.

In January 2018, with plenty of past experience in creating large public art projects, Ng excited many art lovers with his latest project After The Deluge, which is co-presented with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Although the project lasts from 6th Jan to 31st Jan, all the spaces were taken within 20 minutes after opening for online registration. In After The Deluge, Ng continues one of his core strands of practice of not working in traditional art spaces and cooperates with the Drainage Services Department of Hong Kong to stage his site-specific artwork.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

Participants are invited to gather at the flood water pumping station of Tai Hang Tung Flood storage scheme. Each audience member is given headphones through which they listen to the tour guide telling the story of the Tai Hang Tung Flood storage scheme.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

In the 1980s, Hong Kong underwent a massive process of urbanisation and developed rapidly in all aspects but its drainage system. As a result, for a time during the summer rainy season, Nathan Road and Boundary Street, located in one of the most populated areas in Hong Kong, were so flooded that it looked like an ocean. In order to solve the flooding problem without putting too many of the problems and pressure on the development of Hong Kong and everyday life of residents in the neighbourhood, the Hong Kong government decided to build the first stormwater storage tank.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

Tai Hang Tung Stormwater Storage Tank, with a volume equal to 40 Olympic swimming pools, was completed in 2004 and is still the largest among the other two in Hong Kong. After the introduction, a soundscape is played through the headphone and accompanies the audiences to transform into a drop of rain and flow through the street, which used to be the main ditch in the old time, to the entrance of the Tai Hang Tung Stormwater Storage Tank.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

Returning the headphones to the helpers of the project and putting on a helmet, audiences embark on the journey and enter the tank. Along the few minutes walk toward the centre of the tank, poems are projected on the concrete wall. Lion Rock, white school socks and mottled bed are the motifs in the poems that remind the visitors of the rainy season of the city.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

Passing the tunnel, visitors are led to a stage-like platform to enjoy the multi-sensory installation. A few sets of semi-translucent fabric are hung and weighted down with wire. With multiple fans positioned orderly on the ground, the fabric is blown up and down to form multiple sets of waves. A symphony of sound and blue  LED light activates the dry stormwater storage tank and “submerges the audience under water”.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Mickey Lee.

The tour ends when the fabric and sound become calm again, as if nothing has happened.

"After The Deluge" (2018) by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Organiser: Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Photography: Cheung Chi Wai.

In the name of art, the subtle intervention inside the hidden underground tank is Ng’s tactic to bring citizens to a tank which is not publicly accessible. It situates the audiences between the pillars of the gothic church-like tank and allows them to reflect on the development and the forgotten stories that have happened in the city. It is also the artist’s tribute to the unnamed heroes of the city who work hard to clean the mud and rubbish that comes with the rain, maintaining the function of the drainage system, and most importantly, providing a safe home to the citizens. After the deluge, the land is cleansed. Sometimes, the water washes away things that are worth keeping and remembering. Perhaps, that is the moment that we need artists like Kingsley Ng, who lights up the darkness hidden below the ground.


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


IconCaretDown

Back to Top


Sign up for the latest updates
in contemporary art & design!

Please correct the errors above
IconAvailableOnAppStore

The Artling

IconCaretDown

Customer Care

IconCaretDown

Shop

IconCaretDown

Sell

IconCaretDown
The Artling Logo