LOOK17 might be over, but we are enjoying looking back on some of our festival highlights and continuing to hear from the photographers shown. The first of these posts focuses on the exhibitions and exchange. Curated by Ying Kwok in dialogue with curators based in the North West, the exhibitions programme for LOOK17 presented works by Chinese artists working in the UK, and by UK artists making work in China, to create transcultural conversations, based on perspectives enabled through photography. The exhibitions focused on photography as the international medium for exchange, and the unprecedented opportunities that this now offers for acknowledging a similarity of shared experience and greater insight into unique cultural identities.
Culture Shifts: GLOBAL at Open Eye Gallery
Culture Shifts: GLOBAL featured Hong Kong based artists Wo Bik Wong and Luke Ching, who were commissioned by Open Eye Gallery to create new work in the City for LOOK17, and Derek Mann, a Hong Kong born photographer who has lived in the UK for the past 15 years, returning to make new work.
Wo Bik Wong visited Liverpool in the run up to festival and created new works that focused around the Port of Liverpool. In an earlier interview (here) she spoke of the architectural similarity between Victorian Liverpool and colonial Hong Kong, examples of both she now finds derelict and of interest as a place of memory and unseen human narratives.
Luke Ching stayed at Liverpool’s Victoria Hotel for one week back in March with a very specific project planned – here, he turned his hotel room into a giant pinhole camera, recording giant ephemeral scenes of the city in reverse. You can see more about the process here
Luke Ching’s work has been co-commissioned by Salford University to become part if its permanent collection of Chinese contemporary art – here collection curator Dr Lindsey Taylor, and co-curator of Culture Shifts: GLOBAL describes the haunting, playful beauty of his long exposures.
Derek Mann’s photographs explore the housing crisis in Hong Kong. Viewed afresh from the perspective of someone who has been a UK resident for the past 15 years where he has studied as a student, he returns to his hometown and records the changes that have taken place to the skylines, displacing people further from the utopia of the mega city and dream visions of home. Working with a housing charity in Hong Kong, he meets and photographs representative ordinary families living in extreme and chaotic compact spaces, telling a counterpoint to urban development.
Culture Shifts: GLOBAL continues at Open Eye Gallery until 18 June.
All images and videos courtesy Robert Battersby and Open Eye Gallery
Text by Anna Taylor / www.backburner.org.uk / www.anna-taylor.net