When watching a site-specific performance, audience members can make use of all their senses to experience the space. It is common for people to be puzzled by the theme or other elements of a performance. Wong encourages them to express their views actively and says the artists are open to communicating with the audience.
Leung and Wong are not alone. In recent years, more young dancers have been trying to do experimental performances at various outdoor sites, including factories, parks and shopping malls. “It is amazing because young artists are attempting to merge art into our daily life,” says Wong as he talks about one of his students who performed in Victoria Park. “In the past, we wanted to perform on stages like the Fringe Club or the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. That is quite different [for us].”
In a city where walking a dog and even playing ball games are banned from public parks and beaches, site-specific art shakes up preconceived ideas of space and invites the public to question their experience of space. For Wong, that is the value of art, to alter deeply rooted ideas. He believes art can turn impossible spaces into the possible.
Nonetheless, the movement has limited space to develop in money-oriented, market-driven Hong Kong.
“I think Hong Kong people do not have the time and interest to develop those [industries] without commercial value, such as art and the aesthetics,” Wong says, “Why can’t we deal with social problems like the debate about how we view and use public space in an artistic way? No one is willing to spend time to understand art in Hong Kong.”
Editor: Shannon Lam