Over 60 Hong Kong designers and designs were showcased through multimedia during the recently held ‘Constant Change’ exhibition at La Triennale di Milano at Milan Design Week. We hear from its chief curator, Nille Juul-Sørensen.
16 April, 2014
Last week, visitors to the Hong Kong: Constant Change exhibition in Milan were invited to walk down a miniature street in Hong Kong. On both sides were giant video walls capturing everyday scenes of the city. Using their mobile devices or tablets, visitors were then able to capture QR codes, which would bring them to recorded interviews with Hong Kong designers. There was even a smartphone app, which visitors could download to review all featured designers and design works coming from a diverse range of creative disciplines.
“Hong Kong is always changing and it changes so fast,” says Danish architect Nille Juul-Sørensen, who is also the chief curator of this exhibition. “ ‘Change’ is the essence of Hong Kong. When you walk on the streets of Hong Kong, you are able to see what happened 20 years ago and what may happen in the next 20 years. It appears to be a very modern city, but at the same time it’s full of contradictions: it’s crafty and digital, traditional and breaks tradition – all at the same time. Through this exhibition, we want to capture ‘Change’ and demonstrate how this city’s personality has shaped our designers and their works.
“If we were to make an exhibition with a lot of objects, the objects would be taken out of their context. So the idea was [about] how we could bring the feeling of Hong Kong to Milan… I would have liked to have been able to [incorporate] the smell of Hong Kong [if I could]!” adds Nille, who has been visiting Hong Kong every year for work since 2004.
“I wanted the visitor to be part of the city,” Nille continues, “So we did all these movies to show Hong Kong, not in a glamorous way…. This is Hong Kong with no filter. The idea was that it would be up in your face, like how the city is. It was also to show that this is a city that is always changing.”
Nille says the idea too, was for the visitor to be able to experience the exhibition both on site and back home. “I know a lot of people, once they are finished with Milan, end up with a lot catalogues that they throw away, because they [don’t want to bring] them on the plane. So here, [we’ve given you] the apps and when you return home you can go onto the website and read up all about Hong Kong and Hong Kong design.”
While multimedia takes centre stage in this exhibition, it’s also not entirely devoid of ‘objects’. Displayed at one end are the city’s iconic street lamps – a representation of the city’s past and present. At the other end, a wooden table, benches and metal boxes by local studio Miro underscore a fading craft in Hong Kong, while lamps by Kevin Cheung made out of recycled bottles explore the issue of waste in a consumerist society.
For more on Hong Kong: Constant Change, visit www.constantchange.hk
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