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The HKAC 40th Anniversary flagship exhibition Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense

Venue: Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre (4/F and 5/F) 
Date: 2018.09.30 - 2018.11.04
Time: 10am – 8pm 
Price: Free Admission 

Culminating in its 40th year celebrations,The Hong Kong Arts Centre(HKAC) is delighted to present Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense, an exhibition that explores and celebrates Hong Kong’s cultural and artistic identity as seen through the lens of one of Hong Kong’s most iconic city districts, Wan Chai. Curated by guest curator Valerie C. Doran and the HKAC curatorial team, the exhibition will be held at Pao Galleries, HKAC from Sunday 30 September to Sunday 4 November 2018.
 “Since its foundation 40 years ago, the Hong Kong Arts Centre has fostered artistic exchange, forging connections between the arts of Hong Kong and the rest of the world through a wide range of programmes and collaborations. Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense is both a continuation and celebration of that heritage, and presents a new perspective that forms urban cultural identities,” says Connie Lam, Executive Director of the HKAC. 
Hong Kong has been uniquely shaped by a crucible of economic, political, ethnic and cultural influences, resulting in a vastly diverse heritage and identity, which is in turn made up of and influenced by the localised personalities of distinct districts within the city. The exhibiting works in Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense look at the bonds formed across generations, multiple languages and artistic genres that establish community and a love of place. The exhibition has been curated to examine personal, historical, and experiential responses to Wan Chai and features works by 18 artists local to Hong Kong, or intricately connected through international ties to the city. The exhibited works also explore the role Wan Chai plays in forming Hong Kong’s artistic identity, and its image in the eyes of both local and international audiences.
“Though varied in their responses, each of the artists presented in Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense shares an interest in the idea of place and how this is formed by individual interactions, past, present and future. The dialogue generated between the works opens doors to a new, more layered understanding of Wan Chai as a historical space, a cultural hub and a centre for community engagement,” Says Valerie C. Doran, exhibition guest curator.
During the exhibition period, Thematic tours around Wan Chai will be arranged and will narrate the history of the area, illustrating connections between the district and the artworks presented in Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future TenseArt Experience Workshops will shed new light on the district’s past, present and future, as well as the history of the HKAC as a cultural hub that has consistently over 40 years generated artistic dialogue. Programming will also include a Film Showcase on Wan Chai for audiences to experience the district's charm in a cinematic dimension. Creators and artists who are fans of these films will also talk about how their works have been influenced by Wan Chai.

Guest Curator: Valerie C. Doran (Hong Kong; b. USA)
Featured Artists:  Gaylord Chan (Hong Kong), Luis Chan (Hong Kong; b. Panama), Choi Yan Chi (Hong Kong), Chu Hing Wah (Hong Kong; b. Guangdong), Mark Chung (Hong Kong; b. New Zealand), Xyza Cruz Bacani (Hong Kong; b. The Philippines), Ho Sin Tung (Hong Kong), South Ho Siu Nam (Hong Kong), Phoebe Hui (Hong Kong), Firenze Lai (Hong Kong), Jaffa Lam (Hong Kong; b. Fujian), Leung Mee Ping (Hong Kong), MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix, Hong Kong; b. France), Cédric Maridet (Hong Kong; b. France), N. S. Harsha (India), Frank Tang Kai Yiu (Hong Kong), Yeung Tong Lung (Hong Kong; b. Fujian), Trevor Yeung (Hong Kong; b. Guangdong)





The Pocket Park Series Sound Performance

Plastic Diorama of a Natural Soundscape


Artist: Frank Tang Kai Yiu

Sound composer: Charles Kwong

On every Sunday during the exhibition period, 16:15 & 16:45



Tai Wo Street Playground


Queen's Road/ Sawton Street Sitting-out Area


Dominion Garden


Queen's Road/ Sawton Street Sitting-out Area


Tai Wo Street Playground

Free admission



Learning and Engagement Programme 

Public Guided Tour

Guided Tour: A 45 min guided tour of Wan Chai Grammatica: Past, Present, Future Tense
Date & Time:  
Cantonese Sessions: On every Saturday and Sunday during the exhibition period, 15:00-15:45 & 17:00 – 17:45 
English Sessions: On every Sunday during the exhibition period, 15:00-15:45
*An additional guided tour will be provided on 01/10/2018 (Mon) National Day and 17/10/2018 (Wed) Chung Yeung Festival from 15:00-15:45 (Cantonese)
Capacity: 20 people per tour
Gathering Point: 5/F Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre
Free admission on a first-come, first served basis. No registration required.



School Tour

Please refer to Chinese version. 


Thematic Tours

Thematic Tour — Garden Party 


After a day of busy working life, we need some space to take a rest. In Wan Chai, one of the districts with the least resting space per capita, a resting area can arise from just a small open area in between packed buildings with signages and benches.

Chop Suey, an art group formed by artist Frank Tang and composer Charles Kwong will be giving a sound performance in parks of Wan Chai , composing musical pieces using realistic animal sounds in the form of scherzo, so as to remind audiences the lost sound of these parks.

Chop Suey is formed by Tang and Kwong in 2018, and their creation is formed by music, sound and visual arts. Their recent artworks include Art Actually as well as Our Audible City.

Date: 13/10/2018 (Sat); 27/10/2018 (Sat)
Time: 13:30-14:30

Gathering Point: 5/f, Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre
Capacity: 15-20 people per tour

Free admission on a first-come, first served basis. Conducted in Cantonese. 


Thematic Tour — Re-Discover Wan Chai
Urban Legends, Little Known Facts & Artsy Corners of an Iconic District

The Hong Kong Arts Centre’s 40th anniversary exhibition is a great occasion to (re)discover one of the city’s oldest and most iconic districts: Wan Chai.

In the exhibition, artists from different generations, backgrounds and origins have created unique art works, each one conveying their experience with or specific view of Wan Chai.

This accompanying walking tour is inspired by various art works in the exhibition. It will take you on a little journey through Wan Chai. Discover what triggered the art works, hear the stories behind them and learn all about the history of this fascinating district along the way, too.

Amongst many others, the following questions will be answered:
• Why is a temple for a water goddess so far from the water?
• How does a Chinese shophouse, aka “tong lau”, look from the inside?
• Why is Nam Koo Terrace the most haunted place in Hong Kong?
• What did the Hopewell Centre do to improve its feng shui?
• Where was Wan Chai’s original coastline?
• Where to eat Wan Chai’s best pineapple buns?

Stops along the tour will include:
• Tin Hau temple
• 7 Mallory Street (formerly “The Green House)
• Tai Wo Street Playground
• Blue House
• (Haunted) Ship Street
• Star Street Area
• A walk along the streets of Wan Chai’s red light district
• Hong Kong Arts Centre

Come, join our tour and fall in love with Wan Chai.

Date: 7,10,19,26/10/2018 ; 2/11/2018
Time: 15:30-17:30
Gathering Point: Behind the entrance gate of the Tin Hau Temple Garden
(next to Ming Tak Mansion, Tin Hau Temple Road, closest MTR: Tin Hau)
Capacity: Max. 8 pax per tour
Language: English ONLY
Price: HKD 280 per person

What to bring:
• Comfortable walking shoes
• An octopus card (we will take the tram for part of the way)
• Headphones (we will use transmitters/receivers for the tour, so you’ll be better able to hear in those noisy surroundings) 


Art Experience Workshops 

Fotomo Workshop 
Engraving the lost past into the 3D World 

What happened disappears in a flash, whereas moment can only be stored in memories. If you have never experienced histories, can you recognize the real stories by looking at the old pictures? Veron Sung, a local photographer who studied in UK and France, back to Hong Kong in 2010, found fotomo can capture the history, starting to record the old Hong Kong and her precious culture by fotomo.

Fotomo is a portmanteau of Fotografie (meaning photography in German) and Model. When making a fotomo, you have to turn 2D photo prints of real-world scenes into 3D models, reconstructing the history into reality. In this workshop, Veron Sung will go through the history and the characteristics of Wan Chai district with the participants, teaching them to turn Wan Chai old pictures to a tailor made fotomo. Gathering these fotomos, a mini old Wan Chai will be recreated into reality.

Date & Time: 21/10/2018 (Sun) ; 13:00-16:00
Venue: Room 1604, Hong Kong Arts Centre

Date & Time: 03/11/2018(Sat) ; 13:00- 16:00
Venue: Eric Hotung Studio, LB/F Hong Kong Arts Centre

Capacity: 15 people per session
Price: HKD100 per person

Conducted in Cantonese


Polaroid Tour

Re-examining the current Wan Chai through the  Polaroid Camera

Polaroid was the fastest method for us to capture the picture in front of us. However, once digital cameras and smartphones were launched, the reality can be digitized within a second, the speed of instant-photography has been redefined.

Polaroid Tour is organized by Instant Tours Hong Kong, will take us with our polaroid cameras to explore Wan Chai, from past to present, from corner to corner. Waiting for the contingent surprises, then we press the shutter, capture the moment, stay until the image shows itself and witness the stream of time passes. Reality in the photos, has already switched to another actuality. Is time runs faster than our expectation, or is the speed of the city blurred the boundary between the present and the past?

Technologies progresses while city advances, everything comes and goes, only the intuition and emotions of the moment you take the picture would never change.

*A vintage Polaroid camera will be borrowed to each participant and 8 Polaroid Originals films (white frame) will be provided. Participant can pay HKD 180 for an extra box of films (8 films). Photos are for reference only.

Date: 14/10/2018 (Sun); 28/10/2018(Sun)
Time: 13:00 – 15:30
Gathering Point: Main Entrance, Hong Kong Arts Centre
Capacity: 10 people per session
Price: HKD100 per person
Conducted in Cantonese


Film Showcase

Date & Time Title
14/10/2018 8pm Freezing Night.Tram Depot
My Name Ain't Suzie (FULL HOUSE)
21/10/2018 8pm Lonely Moon Tram
Crazy N' The City
28/10/2018 8pm Runscape
Ghost in the Shell 1995 (FULL HOUSE)
Freezing Night.Tram Depot + My Name Ain't Suzie (FULL HOUSE)
14/10 (Sun) 8pm*
Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre (UB, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
* Director Angie Chen and actor Anthony Wong of My Name Ain’t Suzie will attend After-Screening Talk. (Conducted in Cantonese.)

Freezing Night.Tram Depot
Visual and music: Choi Sai-ho
Poem: Ya Si (Leung Ping-kwan)
Hong Kong | 2014 | 6 mins | In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles | MPEG4 | Colour

With the sound collage technique of musique concrète, the iconic "ding-ding", horn and braking sounds of the Hong Kong tram is sampled - a type of contemporary, electrified "tram music" is created. The collaging and mixing of the poetry reading refers to the structure of Ya Si's poetry, allowing for an aural display of these literary works.

Freezing Night.Tram Depot was commissioned and premiered at the 2014 Hong Kong Arts Festival.
My Name Ain't Suzie
Director: Angie Chen
Cast: Pat Ha, Anthony Wong, Angela Yu Chien, Deanie Ip
Hong Kong | 1985 | 96 mins | In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles |MPEG4 | Colour
Won Best Supporting Actress, Hong Kong Film Awards 1986
Made by emerging Hong Kong filmmakers in the 1980s, this film is a tribute to the old times of Hong Kong. With a new cinematic vision, director Angie Chen and scriptwriter Chan Koon-chung have reenacted the red light district in Wanchai in the 1950s and 1960s. Leaving her life as a fisher girl, Mei-li moves from Tai O to Wanchai to pursue her dream of becoming a bargirl. Drifting through the exotic colours of Wanchai, half-Chinese half-American Jimmy looks for his father.

Free admission. Registration required.
Lonely Moon Tram + Crazy N' The City
21/10 ( Sun) 8pm*
Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre (UB, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
* Director-scriptwriter James Yuen, co-scriptwriter Andy Lo of Crazy N' The City and arts, film and culture journalist and critic Vivienne Chow will attend After-Screening Talk. (Conducted in Cantonese)
Lonely Moon Tram
Director, Animator: Stella So Man-yee
Hong Kong | 2005 | 7 mins | No dialogue and subtitles | MPEG4 | Colour
Following the departure of the last tram from the city terminal, the Lonely Moon goes into service, taking the city’s old days to the time-frozen eternity and, at the same time, safeguarding the city’s soul.
Hong Kong Arts Centre I-City Festival 2005
Crazy N' The City (IIB)
Director: James Yuen
Cast: Eason Chan, Joey Yung, Francis Ng
Hong Kong | 2005 | 99 mins | In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles | 35mm | Colour
Film of Merit, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards 2005
Won Best Screenplay, Golden Bauhinia Awards 2006
Nominated for Best Screenplay, Hong Kong Film Awards 2006
Tensions arise when Chris, a spineless constable who regards his work as a job, not a career, is partnered with an energetic and conscientious policewoman, Man Liu. When a serial killer appears in Hong Kong, Man Liu swears to catch him. Chris is impressed by her bravery and decides to secretly protect her.

Not Suitable for Young Persons and Children

Ticket: $75/$60*
*Tickets for full-time students, senior citizens, aged 60 or above and people with disabilities
20%off for each purchase of 4 or more standard tickets.


Runscape + Ghost in the Shell 1995 (FULL HOUSE)
28/10 (Sun) 8pm*
Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre (UB, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong)
* Comics and animation artist Kongkee and writer and editor Fatmoonba will attend After-Screening Talk. (Conducted in Cantonese.)


Directors: Gutierrez + Portefaix
Hong Kong | 2010 | 24 mins | In Cantonese with English subtitles | MPEG4 | Colour
RUNSCAPE is a political response to the current privatisation and militarisation of our cities. When running remains the only unbounded space in the urban field, a young man is constantly running in Hong Kong back alleys and left over spaces, revealing alternative route to the globalised and controlled urban spaces.
Ghost in the Shell 1995 (IIB)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Voice actors: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka, Koichi Yamadera, Tamio Oki, Maaya Sakamoto
Japan, United Kingdom | 1995 | 83 mins | In Japanese with Chinese and English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Won Best Screenplay, Yokohama Film Festival 1996
In New Port City in 2029, Major Motoko Kusanagi leads the assault-team Public Security Section 9 to investigate a murder related to the mysterious hacker Puppet Master. She finds out that Puppet Master can hack into human brains through networks and control human memory. Public Security Section 9 discovers that Puppet Master is non-human along with some shocking secrets. The main locations of New Port City are adapted from the past sceneries of Hong Kong. In the film, one can easily find images of trams drifting in Wanchai.
Not Suitable for Young Persons and Children

Ticket: $75/$60*
*Tickets for full-time students, senior citizens, aged 60 or above and people with disabilities
20%off for each purchase of 4 or more standard tickets.

Donors: Anonymous; CL3 Architects Ltd.; Mr. Nelson Leong; Mr. Bryant LU, JP; Trevor & Dominica Yang

Supported by: Hong Kong Arts Development Council

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