Exhibition & Event

Art After Hours 2019

Paid Programme Registration is required

Art After Hours: Karaoke Court by Jack Tan

Time |
Location |
Laundry Steps
Price |
Free of charge

Do you have a dispute with your friend or lover that needs a resolution? Do you disagree with your parents about their world viewpoints? Do you wish your roommate would clean the house as much as you do? If so, bring your case to Karaoke Court and reach a settlement through singing. Karaoke Court is an arbitration process and live performance where participants select, prepare and perform songs as a way of resolving their disputes with each other. The performance is overseen by a licensed arbitrator as the facilitator or 'judge', who invites the audience as 'jury' to decide by popular vote who should win each case. Both the defendant and the accused will be provided with a singing coach or ‘lawyer’ to help them prepare to make their case.


1. What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a flexible cost-effective and efficient way of resolving disputes without needing to go to a court of law. Instead, disputes are resolved by independent arbitrators and through private formal agreements between the parties.


2. Examples of Disputes in Karaoke Court

Travel: Where should we go on holiday?

Friends: Can we go to a different restaurant for once?

Neighbours: Can you turn the noise down?


3. About 'Song Duels'

Karaoke Court is an artwork based on the Inuit tradition of the 'Song Duel' that occurs in different world cultures. In Inuit tradition for example, litigants present their disputes by singing in front of the whole community who is assembled together in a ceremonial igloo or 'qaggiq'. The aim of the Song Duel is to resolve disputes and to restore amicable relations through humour.


Karaoke Court is a work by artist Jack Tan that explores karaoke singing as a platform for resolving disputes. Participants are invited to resolve their disputes by singing karaoke in front of an audience who will decide who wins. The processes and decision of the Karaoke Court are made legally binding via the participants’ signing of an Arbitration Contract. Karaoke Court reflects on issues of community conflict and cohesion, and the integral role of presentation and performance in social and legal judgment. Embedded within community practices and spaces, the work does not just attempt to make new art but to propose new legal norms.

Apply to have your case heard at: learnart@taikwun.hk


Jack Tan uses law, social norms and customs as a way of making art. He creates performances, performatives, sculpture, video and participatory projects that highlight the rules that guide human behaviour. Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil rights NGOs before becoming an artist. Recent projects include Karaoke Court (2014-ongoing) a singing dispute resolution process, Four Legs Good (2018) a revival of the medieval animal trials for Compass Festival Leeds;  his Singapore Biennale presentation Voices From The Courts examining the vocality of the State Courts of Singapore (2016), Law’s Imagination (2016) a curatorial residency at arebyte exploring legal aesthetics, his solo exhibition How to do things with rules (2015) at the ICA Singapore, and Closure (2012), a year-long residency and exhibition at the UK Department for Health looking at the liquidation of their social work quango. Jack was the 2017/18 inaugural Art & Politics Fellow at the Dept of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths College, and has also taught sculpture at the Royal College of Art and University of Brighton.


Art After Hours is an evening event series presented by Tai Kwun Contemporary that will talk with you, sing with you, show and tackle something new every time. Usually held on Fridays at 7pm, Art After Hours aims to sharpen art awareness through talks, performances, and screenings by artists, writers, intellectuals, and curators alike.