Hong Kong’s landscape has been going through tremendous changes and developments. From a small fishing village to a colonial trade port, land reclamation has been an important way of expanding the city in a hilly environment. The Post-WWII population rise triggered new town developments in the New Territories, exacerbating the tension we still have today between rural and urban living. Industries emerged in the 1960s, yet, their decline in the 1980s left us the contemporary issues of post-industrial landscapes with contaminated land and waterways. As Hong Kong develops and excels in its tertiary service industries, we lose our ability to provide our own food supply. We live in a city that relies on an expanded geography of resources, that food and many daily necessities are imported from beyond the physical boundary of our territory.
All these transformations shape a unique, yet, peculiar way of how people in Hong Kong view the concept, the cultural connotation, and the function of land. While some cultures may see land as part of Mother Nature, source of life, heritage, or identity, Hong Kong people’s understanding towards land is inevitably related more to its monetary value.
The genre of Land Art developed in the American/European context in the 1960s tried to question and critique environmental issues at the time, such as energy crisis, industrial landscape degradation, and environmental injustice. Land Art’s emergence, especially the emphasis of creating art work specific to a particular site, brings awareness to the physical landscape. In recent years, land as a topic comes up a lot in Hong Kong’s art projects, understandably because of the stress of its limited supply, high price, and the associated social upheavals it brings. When comparing the legacy land art works in the 1960s to the contemporary land-related art projects in Hong Kong, there are lineages found between the two, yet, more importantly, the differences give us indications of how land as a concept and its physical implications have morphed.
Vincci Mak is a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong. She is also the Program Director of the Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Studies Program. Her academic interest is in Land Art – site-specific art creations that work with the natural phenomena of the landscape. Her featured course is “Shaping the Landscape” – a course that explores how art creation in the landscape can create a platform for young generations to discuss and express environmental concerns and opinions.
Vincci curated the LAND VISIONS: In Search of Land Art in Hong Kong exhibition in 2016, supported by a Project Grant from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC). The exhibition explores Land Art as a genre, and how the process of creating art related to Hong Kong’s different landscapes allows artists and the locals to reveal and voice out their environmental concerns at stake.
Vincci is trained as an architect (BArch USC) and a landscape architect (MLA Harvard). She has practiced in both Hong Kong and London, with projects ranging from urban landscapes to large-scale regional planning.
“In order for nothing to change, all has to be changed”
il Gattopardo (The Leopard)
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa interpreted by Luchino Visconti
The Department of Architecture launches its 2017-2018 Public Lecture Series, on the work of its faculty. The “In-Progress” series will critically examine the relevance of a vast number of issues in relationship to architecture. The Teaching staff will share their most recent work/ research/ publications in a 60 minute talk which, will be followed by a discussion chaired by a person of the speaker’s choice. The respondent will preferably be from other faculties at HKU or outside of the university. We look forward to your active presence and participation.
****No registration is required. All interested are welcome****