Art spaces in Hong Kong

– A short research about its development.

From 2001, more and more visual artists were renting apartments in industrial buildings to make artwork. Artists who rented a studio space in Fotan, in Hong Kong, once attempted to develop an artists’ village. (梁寶, 2008) However, the tribe diverged into 2 groups when they started receiving organizational funding support. Some of them perceived organizational support as an intervention to freedom of expression. When the funding ended a few years later. They quitted the location or refused to open to public. Those who stayed or opened to public have been struggling. Fundraising from organizations did not seem always feasible in Hong Kong setting.

Starting from 2015, there were several art spaces moved in a district called Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong. In 2017 Standnews published 3 featured articles, which interview 3 different individual art spaces about their operational strategies under the premise of not applying any organizational funding. ‘100ft. PARK’ (Standnews, 2017a) operation cost was covered by owners’ art practice such as selling art work or undertaking commission art project. ‘Things that can happen’ (Standnews, 2017b) convinced private sponsors for supporting operation cost. ‘Common Room & Co.’ (Standnews, 2017c) sustained by selling coffees. Two of them did not sustain for more than 2 years. ‘Common Room & Co.’ reformed and then became ‘Openground’. Their stories illustrated a common difficulty in paying rent and bills without organizational funding support.

Recently, the enactment of security law in Hong Kong has great impact on freedom of expression to Hong Kong based artists. Whether staying in or leaving Hong Kong, artists reported their concerns about white terror as there was risk of committing a crime on vaguely defined national security grounds. (林芷淇, 2020; 黎家怡, 2020)

Together with the precarious situation of COVID-19, more consideration should be made to start an art space in Hong Kong. Possible solution could be a virtual art space on the internet. The advantages were that the cost to rent and bills would be limited to internet domain address, server capacity, and bandwidth. However, virtual gallery owners would face the challenge of marketing and promoting their art space and artworks. Your web would easily be overlooked among tens of websites browsed in a day. Owners should be hyper aware of the internet culture, for example, use of #hashtag and corresponding platform to market their potential audiences. Some people have been using platform like ‘Patreon’ or ‘Medium’ to publish their art project. Startup artists could also look for sponsors (crowd funding) around the globe on the internet such as ‘gogetfunding’ or ‘kickstarter’. What is your plan? 

References

Standnews. (2017a). ‘理想須務實執行 何兆南:用實業滋潤藝術’, 27 September. Available at: https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E8%97%9D%E7%A9%BA%E9%96%93%E6%B5%AE%E6%B2%89%E9%8C%84-1-%E7%90%86%E6%83%B3%E9%A0%88%E5%8B%99%E5%AF%A6%E5%9F%B7%E8%A1%8C-%E4%BD%95%E5%85%86%E5%8D%97-%E7%94%A8%E5%AF%A6%E6%A5%AD%E6%BB%8B%E6%BD%A4%E8%97%9D%E8%A1%93/ (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

Standnews. (2017b). ‘生存遊戲不能突破 李傑:放棄實體空間轉做游擊’, 29 September. Available at: https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E8%97%9D%E7%A9%BA%E9%96%93%E6%B5%AE%E6%B2%89%E9%8C%84-2-%E7%94%9F%E5%AD%98%E9%81%8A%E6%88%B2%E4%B8%8D%E8%83%BD%E7%AA%81%E7%A0%B4-%E6%9D%8E%E5%82%91-%E6%94%BE%E6%A3%84%E5%AF%A6%E9%AB%94%E7%A9%BA%E9%96%93%E8%BD%89%E5%81%9A%E6%B8%B8%E6%93%8A/?fbclid=IwAR22GRjM-G3Dkt3HCF-459Eq5SuCZkFsVuX7DBGPbrDKpA0wSr94wuUuvn0 (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

Standnews. (2017c). ‘藝文空間賣物非死罪 林欣傑:可持續發展才算健康’, 3 October. Available at: https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E8%97%9D%E7%A9%BA%E9%96%93%E6%B5%AE%E6%B2%89%E9%8C%84-3-%E8%97%9D%E6%96%87%E7%A9%BA%E9%96%93%E8%B3%A3%E7%89%A9%E9%9D%9E%E6%AD%BB%E7%BD%AA-%E6%9E%97%E6%AC%A3%E5%82%91-%E5%8F%AF%E6%8C%81%E7%BA%8C%E7%99%BC%E5%B1%95%E6%89%8D%E7%AE%97%E5%81%A5%E5%BA%B7/ (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

林芷淇. (2020) ‘國安法下自我審查 漫畫家 Cuson:或不再畫政治題材 情願做順民也不願離開’, Standnews, 15 July. Available at: https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E5%B0%88%E8%A8%AA-%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%89%E6%B3%95%E4%B8%8B%E8%87%AA%E6%88%91%E5%AF%A9%E6%9F%A5-%E6%BC%AB%E7%95%AB%E5%AE%B6-cuson-%E6%88%96%E4%B8%8D%E5%86%8D%E7%95%AB%E6%94%BF%E6%B2%BB%E9%A1%8C%E6%9D%90-%E6%83%85%E9%A1%98%E5%81%9A%E9%A0%86%E6%B0%91%E4%B9%9F%E4%B8%8D%E9%A1%98%E9%9B%A2%E9%96%8B/ (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

梁寶. (2008). ‘西九的時代降臨─藝術家作為生產者’, 28 January. Available at: https://www.inmediahk.net/node/293543 (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

黎家怡. (2020) ‘漫畫家柳廣成:我將帶著愧疚離開香港’, Standnews, 13 July. Available at:https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%89%E4%BE%86%E4%BA%86-%E5%89%B5%E4%BD%9C%E4%BA%BA%E7%9A%84%E5%8E%BB%E8%88%87%E7%95%99-%E6%BC%AB%E7%95%AB%E5%AE%B6%E6%9F%B3%E5%BB%A3%E6%88%90-%E6%88%91%E5%B0%87%E5%B8%B6%E8%91%97%E6%84%A7%E7%96%9A%E9%9B%A2%E9%96%8B%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF/ (Accessed: 18 July 2020).

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