Tai Kwun Conversations: Vital Signs Series

Open Call: Tai Kwun Neon Connection

Tai Kwun Conversations: Vital Signs Series

Neon Metropolis Workshop

Vital Signs

Neon Walk

Neon Insiders

Date & Time

7 Aug - 7 Sep, 2023 7pm – 8:15pm

Location

JC Cube

Price

Exclusive to Tai Kwun Fan, Free of charge

General

Tai Kwun Conversations: Vital Signs Series – Visualising the Ripples of Neon in Arts
Date: 7 September (Thurs)
Time: 7pm – 8:15pm
Venue: JC Cube
Language: Cantonese (with simultaneous interpretation in English)

Hong Kong’s neon has always been a distinguishable character of prosperity and possibilities. With this rich visual language growing and dissipating through the eras, Hong Kong’s neon has created an impression in the eyes of visual artists and designers, giving rise to neon-spawned aesthetics and styles in photography, film, design, arts, even music. Our panellists explore the neon culture in Hong Kong, the inspiration during the golden era of neon, and its future influence in the visual arts world and beyond.

Moderator:
Ying Kwok (Senior Curator at Tai Kwun)

Speakers:
Samson Young (Multi-disciplinary artist and music composer)
Brian Kwok (Associate Professor at the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Anastasia Tsang ( Director of movie A Light Never Goes Out

Tai Kwun Conversations: Vital Signs Series – The Efforts of Neon Conservation
Date: 14 August (Mon)
Time: 7pm – 8:15pm
Venue: JC Cube
Language: Cantonese (with simultaneous interpretation in English)

Hong Kong neon signs have been significant indicators of the city’s economy and tourism prospect. To ensure visibility amongst neighbouring signboards, wider and taller designs were frequently adopted  which collectively created the signature Hong Kong streetscape.

Facing factors of technological advancement, market demand, public perception and urban planning, these colossal Hong Kong neon signs have been disappearing. Fortunately, efforts are being made by local conservation organisations in conserving these symbolic neon signs, including Tetra Neon Exchange (TNX). From negotiating with shop owners, storing the signs after removals, to preparing and showcasing the signs, TNX has paid tremendous efforts in salvaging remaining neon consistently.

Cardin Chan, General manager of TNX will share the conservation efforts made by TNX, and be joined by a neon sign contractor and a sign owner to discuss details of a recent sign removal, restoration and exhibition effort, followed by a conversation to delve deeper into the different aspects of neon conservation. 

Moderator:
Oskar Leung (Former Chief Executive Officer, The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage)

Speakers:
Cardin Chan (General Manager, Tetra Neon Exchange)
Andrew Chui (Managing Director, Tai Ping Koon Restaurant)
Peter Leung (Neon sign contractor)

Tai Kwun Conversations: Vital Signs Series – Exploring Cultural and Architectural Heritage Conservation  
Date: 7 August (Mon)
Time: 7pm – 8:15pm
Venue: JC Cube
Language: English (with simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese) 

The appearance and organisation of a city changes naturally over time. It adapts to new challenges, technologies and needs; it develops. The changes that occur in the course of this process are certainly worthy to be documented, as it defines the city and its people. Their remains form invaluable parts of the city’s history and character until today. It is in this context that Hong Kong neon signs, once a defining part of HK’s streetscapes, are disappearing from the public space as the city morphs.

Whilst Vital Signs displays one possible way of conserving neon, we have invited three diverse speakers to share their efforts in conservation research, consultancy and management, understanding the theories, concepts, considerations, practicalities behind the decision-making process when conserving heritage.

Moderator:

Dr. Christina Bartosch (Founder & Director, Recollect Art Care Asia Ltd.)

Speakers:

Dr. Matthias Beitl  (Director, The Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art)
Prof. Cecilia Chu (Associate Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture, The University of Hong Kong and Founding Member, Docomomo Hong Kong)
Westley Wong (Creative Director of Wholly Wholly, Managing Editor of @nowllloading and Visiting Lecturer in the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)


Speakers Bio

Christina Bartosch
Cecilia Chu
Matthias Beitl
Westley Wong
Oskar Leung
Cardin Chan (General Manager, Tetra Neon Exchange)
Andrew Chui (Managing Director, Tai Ping Koon)
Peter Leung (neon sign contractor)
Ying Kwok
Brian Kwok
Samson Young
Anastasia Tsang

Dr. Christina Bartosch is an internationally educated and experienced art historian. After her studies in History of Art in Paris (BA), London (MA) and Vienna (PhD) and being part of various research and exhibition projects (among others of the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale) she founded Recollect Art Care in Vienna, Austria, offering collection management services to private art collectors and estates. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2022, she has expanded her client base to include institutions and is in the process of developing and adapting her services further to the South-East Asian market. Christina is a member of ICOM and served on the board of the Austrian Art Historians’ Association (VöKK).

Cecilia L. Chu is a co-founder and past president of DOCOMOMO Hong Kong and an Associate Professor in the Division of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Trained as an urban historian with a background in design and conservation, her works focus on the social and cultural processes that shape the forms and meanings of built environments and their impacts on local communities. She is the author of Building Colonial Hong Kong: Speculative Development and Segregation in the City (Routledge, 2022) and co-editor of The Speculative City: Emergent Forms and Norms of the Built Environment (University of Toronto Press, 2022).

Born in 1967 Vienna, Matthias Beitl studied European Ethnology / Cultural Science at University Vienna and export trade at Vienna University of Economics and Business. He completed his final thesis in European Ethnology in Central Ukraine from 1994 – 1999. He has worked at Ethnographic Museum Schloss Kittsee from 1996. 

Beitl joined Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art in Vienna as a curator in 2003. He was appointed the deputy director in 2006, and director in 2014. 

During 2007 to 2013, he was a board member of ICME (International Committee for Museums of Ethnography). He has also been taking the position of Vice president of Austrian Museums association since 2014 and working in cultural projects with his company fourcon. 

Westley Wong is the Creative Director of Wholly Wholly, Managing Editor of @nowllloading, and a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Anticipating the rising trend of integrated design, Westley and his team are passionate about exploring both tradition and innovation. Since 2018, they have worked with over twenty brands in Hong Kong that are more than 50 years old. Their work has been acknowledged by various media outlets and has received numerous awards. 

Academically, Westley is the author of ‘Experiential Branding: Before, Now, and Then’ (Cup, 2023). He is currently completing 'Ink and the City', a research project on the most influential calligraphers in Hong Kong's history, which will be released by the end of 2023.

Hong Kong cultural worker and former Executive Director of The Conservancy Association Center for Heritage.

He is dedicated to promoting the conservation of community cultural heritage and planning and executing related cultural conservation projects. He has published the "Virtue Under The Rooftop" series, documenting disappearing community history and the culture of old shops. In addition, he has also curated the "Typography and the Sea of Words – Study of Hong Kong Urban Landscape", exploring Hong Kong's signage and typography culture to promote the conservation of cultural landscape.

Since her relocation back to Hong Kong in early 2017, Cardin has devoted herself to conserving local culture and is gradually being recognized as the first and only female neon conservationist in Hong Kong. At the invitation of the founder of TNX, she joined the organization in 2020. She transmutes her unwillingness to see neon completely disappear, due to the lack of public awareness, into her main driving force. With her tenacious approach, she has moved and impelled an incremental amount of merchants, people from the local neon industry, brands, individuals, etc to come together to support Hong Kong neon. Empowering local traditional neon workers to find their own voice and positioning is one of her major long-term goals.

Andrew Chui is the fifth-generation heir of Tai Ping Koon Restaurant. He graduated from the Department of Business Administration of the State University of California, and later participated in the management of Tai Ping Koon's business. Influenced by his family since he was a child, Andrew has developed a keen interest in food and catering business. In recent years, he has devoted himself to the study of Chinese food culture and history. 

Since 1990, Peter has been a neon sign contractor, coordinating relevant neon sign installation and removal projects. He has been involved in a variety of duties, from designing, illustrating, bending neon tubes, scaffolding, installing, electrical engineering to applying for licenses and permits. Electrical appliances retailers, banks and watch companies etc. have been his clients. Since the TsuiWah Sign conservation engineering work in 2020, Peter and TNX have collaborated frequently to conserve several intact Hong Kong neon signs.

Ying Kwok is the Senior Curator at Tai Kwun. Prior to her role at Tai Kwun, she worked as an independent curator 2013-2021. Throughout her career, Kwok has worked with a diverse range of art and cultural institutions locally and internationally, from artist’s initiatives to art festivals, public museums and the commercial sector. She continuously synthesises different art forms in contemporary visual art, from site-specific commissions and performances to film and video.

Kwok’s past roles include: Guest Curator for the 5th Audemars Piguet Art Commission: The moon is leaving us by Phoebe Hui, and was the Festival Director of Peer to Peer: UK/HK 2020, Curator for Contagious Cities: Far Away, Too Close for Tai Kwun Contemporary and Wellcome Trust, the Lead Curator of LOOK International Photography Festival 2017, and Curator at M+ for Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief as Hong Kong presentation at the 57th Venice Biennale. Before embarking on her freelancing career, Kwok was the curator at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, UK, between 2006 and 2012.

In 2014, Kwok was awarded the Asia Cultural Council Fellowship. She is an international fellow in the Clore Leadership Programme 2018/19.

Brian is an Associate Professor in the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has a strong interest in visual ethnography and has made significant contributions to the field. Some of his notable publications include "I am a Street Ethnologist: Street Culture in Fa Yuen Street" (2017), "Fading of Hong Kong Neon Lights – The Archive of Hong Kong Visual Culture" (2018), "City of Scripts – The Craftsmanship of Vernacular Lettering in Hong Kong" (2020), "Hong Kong Neon Sign Artworks - Vol. 1 Restaurant" (2021), "City of Scripts 2 —— Hong Kong Type designers" (2023) and "Fading Neon Lights: An Archive of Hong Kong's Visual Culture" (2023).

Multi-disciplinary artist Samson Young works in sound, performance, video, and installation. In 2017 he represented Hong Kong with a solo project titled Songs for Disaster Relief at the 57th Venice Biennale. He was the recipient of the BMW Art Journey Award, a Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Sound Art and Digital Music, and in 2020 he was awarded the inaugural Uli Sigg Prize.

He has exhibited at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Gropius Bau, Berlin; Performa 19, New York; Biennale of Sydney; Kochi-muziris Biennial; Shanghai Biennale; Guangzhou Triennial; National Museum of Art, Osaka; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Ars Electronica, Linz; documenta 14: documenta radio; and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, among others. Recent solo projects include: the De Appel, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; SMART Museum, Chicago; Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art & Manchester International Festival, Manchester; M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Ryosoku-in at the Kenninji Temple, Kyoto; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; and Jameel Art Centre, Dubai, among others.

His works are in the collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, UK; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, Busan; the Israel Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem; Jameel Art Center, Dubai; Kadist Foundation, Paris & San Francisco; ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart & Berlin; Sunpride Foundation and K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Fosun Foundation, Shanghai; SMART Museum of Art, University of Chicago; University of Salford Art Collection, Manchester; Sigg Collection, Switzerland; r/e Collection, Madrid; Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo; Akeroyd Collection, Burger Collection and Living Collection, Hong Kong; and the UBS Art Collection, among others.

Anastasia graduated from the Department of Cultural Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Film Department of Paris-Sorbonne University. After graduation, she started working as a screenwriter and director. Her directorial debut, "A Light Never Goes Out" portrays Hong Kong's neon culture and explores the possibility of preserving Hong Kong's neon lights. The film has received numerous awards and nominations at Asian film festivals and is the only Hong Kong film to be selected for the competition section of the Tokyo International Film Festival. It has also been showcased at various international film festivals, including Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the New York Asian Film Festival, bringing Hong Kong's neon culture to overseas audiences.