Interview with Kit Chan at Islander’s Space

Introduction

This blog post marks a return to the originally intended subject matter of my recently-completed PhD – that being a study of the physical spaces for the performance of experimental music and sound art in China. Such was my original direction, before the outbreak of COVID-19 forced performance spaces to close (temporarily or, in some cases, permanently), and all public gatherings to be restricted, a situation which led me to consider live-streaming as a space of performance for many of the same artists under these conditions. So here we are, in the long-tail of COVID-19, and while in the near future I plan to return to Mainland China to resume my fieldwork, in the meantime there are spaces in Hong Kong, where I live, that I can learn from.

The interview below stemmed from my first visit to Peng Chau, one of the outer islands of Hong Kong and an hour’s ferry trip from the main urban area of the city. That trip was for a performance by Karen Yu and Olivier Cong, part of a series of experimental music events organised by the musician Nelson Hiu and hosted by the Islander’s Space bookshop. Through Nelson I contacted Kit Chan, one of the owners of Islander’s Space, and had a conversation with him about the space and its relation to the performance of experimental music, and the island’s overall social dynamic. Many thanks to Kit for his time and patience on this.

Continue reading

new book on alternative practices from apexart

new book on alternative stuff

just arrived from NY, includes a text by Biljana Ciric on “Searching for Tomorrow’s Alternative China, Vietnam and Cambodia”.

Marc Augé – Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity

…and the abundance of verbiage and documentation really does make it possible to identify Chateaubriand’s holy places as a non-place, very similar to the ones outlined in pictures and slogans by our guidebooks and brochures…

The spelling out of a position, a ‘posture’, an attitude in the most physical and commonplace sense of the term, comes at the end of a movement that empties the landscape, and the gaze of which it is the object, of all content and meaning…

In my opinion these shifts of gaze and plays of imagery, this emptying of the consciousness, can be caused – this time in systematic, generalized and prosaic fashion – by the characteristic features of what I have proposed to call ‘supermodernity’. These subject the individual consciousness to entirely new experiences and ordeals of solitude, directly linked with the appearance and proliferation of non-places…

Clearly the word ‘non-place’ designates two complementary but distinct realities: spaces formed in relation to certain ends (transport, transit, commerce, leisure), and the relations that individuals have with these spaces…

The link between individuals and their surroundings in the space of non-place is established through the mediation of words, or even texts…

Certain places exist only through the words that evoke them, and in this sense they are non-places: banal utopias, clichés. They are the opposite of Michel de Certeau’s non-place. Here the word does not create a gap between the everyday functionality and lost myth: it creates the image, produces the myth and at the same stroke makes it work…

‘Anthropological place’ is formed by individual identities, through complicities of language. local references, the unformulated rules of living know-how; non-place creates the shared identity of passengers, customers or Sunday drivers…

Supermodernity (which stems simultaneously from the three figures of excess: overabundance of events, spatial overabundance and the individualization of references) naturally finds its full expression in non-places…

The community of human destinies is experienced in the anonymity of non-place, and in solitude.

Augé, Marc (1995), Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, translated by John Howe, Verso.