Reviews & Articles
我們是那0.01% -責無旁貸 | We are the 0.01% - and responsible
at 2:31pm on 24th April 2019
1. Map Office，《安達曼海的鬼島嶼裝置》
2. Map Office，《在海水潮漲時在刷牙的漁夫》
1. Map Office, Ghost Island installation in the Andaman Sea
2. Map Office, Fisherman brushing teeth in rising seawater
3. Zheng Bo, You Are The 0.01%, in-situ installation on grass lawn
4. Leung Chi Wo, Scratching on the Surface, gallery installation
(Please scroll down for English version)
1960至70年代的大地藝術運動，主要是對商業藝術與市場的回應。大藝術的作品特意設於戶外，並使用戶外空間，通常都在遍遠或臨水之處。早期的藝術家先鋒計有Robert Smithson、Richard Long、Andy Goldsworthy、James Turrell和Ana Mendiata。早年支持這項運動的亞洲藝術家，則有來自菲律賓的David Medalla和Roberto Villanueva。隨著大眾對全球暖化及環境問題的關注已不再限於科學界，特別是在過去10年，大地藝術由擁有戶外藝術的美學演變成有關環境、強而有力的論述。「環境藝術」通常採取的藝術方針均與實地裝置相關，但箇中訊息才是重中之重：對於我們身處世界每況愈下的環境，強烈地表達與提出社會及政治意識。
展覽的政治背境由鄭波的文字裝置設定，他以深綠色的草在油街實現較淺綠色的草坪上種出了以下字句：「 YOU ARE THE 0.01%」（你們就是那0.01%）。
22/3/2019 – 28/7/2019
We are the 0.01% - and responsible
by John Batten
The first inspiring art I saw that complemented nature – indeed, was part of nature – were the Aboriginal rock carvings in the sandstone outcrops beside water holes in the beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, twenty-five kilometres north of Sydney, Australia. Dating back thousands of years, these rock engravings were simple, outlined depictions of the surrounding nature, including fish, birds, boomerangs, the human foot. The simplicity of these images predated later drawing and engraving techniques by thousands of years. Humanity’s presence and balance within the natural environment was especially awe-inspiring.
The Land Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s was predominantly a reaction against commercial art and the marketplace. Land Art was artwork intentionally situated within and using an outdoor space, often in remote rural or water locations. Early artist pioneers include Robert Smithson, Richard Long, Andy Goldsworthy, James Turrell and Ana Mendiata; early proponents in Asia were the Philippine artists David Medalla and Roberto Villanueva. As community concern about global warming and environmental issues moved outside scientific circles, especially during this last decade, Land Art evolved from having an outdoor art aesthetic to be a strong commentary about the environment. ‘Environment Art’ often uses the artistic approaches related to site-specific installation, but the message is always central: to strongly express and raise social and political consciousness about our world’s degraded environment.
Originally located on Victoria Harbour’s foreshore, Oi! in North Point, is perfect for the exhibition Once lost but now found, featuring three thoughtful installations about the environment by Hong Kong artists Leung Chi Wo, Zheng Bo and MAP Office (the artist duo of Valérie Portefaix and Laurent Gutierrez).
Setting the exhibition’s political context is Zheng Bo’s text installation using dark green grass growing on Oi!’s lighter-coloured lawn; his text bluntly states: YOU ARE THE 0.01%.
In 2011, economist Joseph Stiglitz identified that 1% of wealthy Americans controlled 40% of USA wealth. Later that year, Occupy Wall Street adopted as a slogan: “We are the 99%” - Zheng further explains: “In June 2018…a study estimated that humans account for only 0.01% of the total biomass on earth, but consume about 30% of the biosphere’s total primary production. While many of us are the 99%, we are also actually the 0.01% of the biosphere. We need to fight against inequality AND against biosphere inequality. In (my text artwork), the plants tell us that we are only the 0.01%.”
As we allow the world’s environment to further degrade, we are all responsible for the consequences - and individuals, and communities, in the future will need to manage their own survival.
MAP Office show two eloquent videos and an installation entitled Ghost Island. Their video, The Birth of Ghost Island, records the construction of three artificial islands designed by the artists on a tidal beach near Krabi on Thailand’s Andaman Sea. The experienced contracted workmen are adept with bamboo and build the artificial islands from scratch: strips of tied split bamboo and fishing nets found abandoned in the surrounding sea give strength, shape and form; and these new bamboo islands mirror the shape of the beautiful surrounding karst islands. Reconstructed in Oi! is a similar bamboo island, partially built by Cheung Chau Island fisherman and Hong Kong beach-cleaning volunteers.
A second video records a fictional day for a fisherman living on the Andaman Sea’s Ghost Island. In early morning, we watch this wiry fisherman wake as water laps beside his hammock. His morning activities of preparing and cooking fish on a charcoal stove (precariously balanced on a floating platform), brushing teeth, and washing himself, are all done in waist-deep sea water. As the day progresses, the tide retreats, sand becomes a floor and the platform becomes a work space: the fisherman repairs nets and makes fish traps. At the end of the day, he rests in his hammock, smoking. At night, the islands are lit by solar-powered lamps. Finally, the fisherman sleeps as the tide, again, rises - and, again, water laps against his hammock. These videos skillfully present one of many environmental issues, including that seawater levels due to global warming will drown vulnerable islands.
Leung Chi Wo’s installation takes a different approach. Depicting pristine nature, a two-channel video projection of a changing landscape of flowing water sits behind a quiet pool of actual seawater installed in the gallery. The videos are reflected on the pool’s mirror water surface. Intermittently, a tree brush falls onto the surface of the water and suddenly breaks the water’s stillness and our concentration. Leung’s installation is ostensibly a series of observations and layers about memory. Or, to be more precise, our fragile, momentary grasp of our memories, with “water echoing the fluidity of memory”. The artist uses a camera to record images of the beautiful natural world, but even he is skeptical about the tool he uses: “I like photography, but it interferes with my memory….”
This fine exhibition could have more impact, especially for children, if you arrive by catching a cross-harbour ferry between the nearby North Point ferry and Kowloon City ferry terminals. Then, Hong Kong’s impressive development can clearly be seen to have overwhelmed the fragile natural environment.
Once lost but now found
22/3/2019 – 28/7/2019
Oi!, 12 Oil Street, North Point, Hong Kong
This article was originally published in Ming Pao Weekly, 13 April 2019. Translated by Aulina Chan.