Exhibition Documentation

Exhibition handout

Additional photos of the exhibition


Thank you Winnie, Yulia, Hans and Katharina for your reflections on your work and the workshop. It’s fascinating to read about your comparisons between the expected and the experienced, your thoughts, and also your emotions. Your individual perspectives and reflections are our gold, our core interest.
So for the others, who did not write about their experiences, thoughts connected with their artwork (and if time and energy about others) and their intellectual and artistic process, PLEASE share your gold with us. And please (TO ALL): don’t forget the post some significant images of your work. We have to write a final report for the school and need your contributions on the blog until March 15th.
It was experiment with open outcome – also for us. It was risky and it was worth it.
Even if there were very few visitors: the exhibition was a rich and inspiring experience for us and we hope and believe also for you. We were confronted with a lot of unknown and it was an inspiring challenge to deal with it.
We hope you are well and we will see you all again (the chance is a little higher with the Zurich Students)
Thank you in advance for your contributions we are eager to read
Thomas and Birk


same same but different

After this project I went to Bangkog and from there to Cambodia and traveled through this country. Still with the sensibility from our project reflecting locations and the impressions from Hong Kong and Zurich.

My time in Thailand and Cambodia influenced how i see Hong Kong , a place I reflected before, during and after my visit.
The time before the visits in Zurich, Hanz and me spoke and exchanged our footages. We searched for similarities, so he sent me material that showed resemblance with zurich. I searched for Hong kong in Zurich. The surprise in Hong Kong was big. There were so many differences I didn‘t think about because I didn’t focus on them. When you make a sample, in inklusion there is always exclusion. When I saw Hong Kong I was fascinated about the differences and I saw them everywhere. It was harder to collect similiar images. Before, when I only had my imagination it was much easier. The differences started to pop out now.

If you find similarities, you will find differences. They always will be there. The humans, the habbits, the plants, streets, buildings, air, food etc. Its never the same.
Hong Kong wasn‘t like my expectations and imaginations. In some way yes, but I saw another world when I arrived. I spoke with my friend in Cambodia about my experience in Hong Kong, and when I said, „I was in China..“ he got angry and told me that I haven’t been in china! Hong Kong isn‘t China! Of course I knew that but it makes a huge diffrent what you have seen before and where you came from. He traveled through China for 3 months and arrived in Hong Kong after that. For him it was like he was back in the western world. He had all the infrastructures again. But when I arrived in Hong Kong, I came directly from switzerland and I saw so much that reminded me of China or what I expected China to be.

After all I found a phrase in Thailand and Cambodia which is a perfect conclusion for this projekt.

You hear locals say very often “same same but different”. They also print this slogan on their shirts. This words fit with my experience in this project perfectely. I was delighted to see the humor of our hong kong friends. We laughed about the same stuff, I enjoyed the way of sarkasm they had and we were annoyed about the same things. I felt immediately, we are not that different. Even if I am some years older, live a different life and were raised on the other side of the planet. In many ways we are the same. The connection with our Hong Kong partners was the best part of this project. To work with a foreign partner from another culture was inspiring. To play the touristguides for each other was a chance to see and understand much more. I‘m very thankful for that, especially for meeting Hanz and working with him. Of course i’m also very grateful to have met Karen, Winnie and Alison. It‘s always a privilege to meet locals and to see behind the surface.

City similarities

Video installation from Hanz and Katarina

In a cooperation we recorded visual similarities of Hong Kong and Zurich. We filmed before and after our visits, in each town, together and separately. We mixed imagination with real perception. What do the different scenes of these two places tell us? What are the similarities?

Our search for what is similar in regard to urban structures, public transport and social interaction in public space finally enabled us to discern the subtle differences that only surface by direct comparison and juxtaposition.



The Main enemy is the bourgeois standard / norm. I would shake Roland Barthes hand.

I was very optimistic an looked forward to everything out of the blue. Interesting Program. Thought of a project, showing that, even if there differences do exist (shapes, colors, words- what ever), in the end we are all human – But I let the standard out of consideration. Your standard.

We feel. We think. Taste. Touch. Smell. Our carnal canvas is illustrated by the incidentally culture we are surrounded by, from the first breath we take. We breath in. Like a sponge is not beyond to diffuse water through it’s cells,  we are not beyond to diffuse the culture waters, they water us, let us grow, paint us, appease thirst, tarnish us – obfuscating our mind.

The Gods are calm. No matter if faceless or cow-faced. They lapsed into silence. And left us alone.  Left their name behind to warrant war. Left Language behind to enable us to think in words, not only with the heart – the holy organ – no! With the brain- an pretty useless organ in our head wich leads us to believe we could understand. Could really know something. It’s ridicules. If there is Satan (standing for the very mean, worst). He is a Wordmonster – evil thoughts given us with words, the voice in our head, the devil in our head. I fold my hands in prayer in front of my chest. In front of my heart. I would like to delete the words which help me to describe the world in one dimension.

I am blind – wordblind

I am numb – wordnumb

I am deaf – worddeaf

I am in the worst of taste – wordless

Drink my wine – I made him out of figs.

How does it taste?

There is no truth. No Moral. Just Life. Life and evil words, encasing thoughts.   There is no ascent or descent, just iteration. No coming and going, just turning.

You want me to tell the truth . Perhaps adorned with loveliness. You want me polite. Truth is never polite. Real critic isn’t either. It’s just not judging – but not polite, it’s distinguishing. It’s just your own wounded pride. So pull yourself together.

Take a sip, the wine is excellent. Politeness is a lie.

Culture is the Idol. The golden calf. What shall I compare?How Language tries to remove each – growing distance?Landscapes raped by man hand?

I really shall compare? Distinguishing?

I feel dizzy – It’s not from wine – I am the host.

I like it simple. Simple and pure – I tell you the plain truth.

I don’t know what art is.

The homely girl on the other side of the street . It has happy eyes . Childlike, though adult . It laughs. Yes, look through the window. It knows the art of living. It say’s: Bla, bla… No, It’s not like it sounds. I just guess. My devil finds no words for the sounds of the girl. It’s still in paradise. Like the soul of the birds. Try to whistle in words. No. Don’t sing.

You are offending me. Just words can hurt her.

Let’s drink more wine.

I am thankful. Thankful for my full stomach. Thankful for the trip. Nice people to know. Thankful what my eyes were able to soak up, my hands to touch. Even the things that were strange enriched me. I learnt, I felt – Get high on words. On Impressions.

I got sick. Sick by Jet lag. Sick by food. Sick by people.

Sometimes I felt stupid. Stupid, because of eyes, because of Knowledge, something new, fear, to laugh with all my heart.

I felt unfree.Cramped. Misunderstood. Allowed to do what rather be not allowed. I still can’t fly – not even from the highest skyscraper. Just fall. Just my feelings can grow alike.

My words – the tower to babel. My soul, an innocent child.

Fly Ka – Maat will show you the netherworld of the lords.I ate figs – I drank there wine. I know it’s wrong. My heart is fig. Heavy of Knowledge. It doesn’t know what to do with.Too heavy of thoughts.Too heavy of words.

Let me calm down.I wont believe.I wont think.I wont write.I wont talk.

I wont take response.Let me forget.Let me fade.Let me breath.Let me calm down.

The program is over.

Data will be deleted… … …

A 阿 ā

B 贝 bèi

C 瑟 sè

D 德 dé

E 耶 yē

F 艾弗 ài fú

G 给 gěi

H 哈 hā

I 伊 yī

J 尤特 yóu tè

K 卡 kǎ

L 艾勒 ài lè

M 艾马 ài mǎ

N 艾娜 ài nà

O 哦 ó

P 佩 pèi

Q 酷 kù

R 艾儿 ài ér

S 艾丝 ài sī

T 特 tè

U 乌 wū

V 法欧 fǎ ōu

W 维 wéi

X 伊克斯       yī kè sī

Y 艾普瑟轮 ài pǔ sè lún

Z 贼特 zéi tè

Ä 诶 ēi

Ö 俄 é

Ü 玉 yù

ß 艾丝贼特 ài sī zéi tè


following is the text for the final assignment. i wrote it a little longer to ‘make up’ the silence during the final critique. i just need more time.
– – –

Perhaps They Are All Beautiful Mistakes
from YAN Wai Yin, Winnie

And this marks the end. After almost half a year of collaboration between students from Zurich (ZHdK) and Hong Kong (CityU), Reflecting Locations featured five art pieces at Connecting Space Hong Kong in early February. As the title might have spoken for itself, Reflecting Locations explores the possibility to stimulate imaginations, to reflect, and to compare upon a foreign place with regards to the participating artists’ own location. Followed by a series of remote Internet collaboration and communication between the partners, all artists would travel to another location for further discussions and on-site research before presenting their final outcomes.

Being a rather timid and absent-minded person, I, till now, cannot imagine myself being one of the participating artists. Despite the tempting travel offer, the rare overseas collaboration opportunity, and all the other fascinations and excitement about meeting other creatives in such occasion, the experience still seems frustrating somehow. What if I could not understand a thing in Zurich and become totally miserable? What if I could not stop asking and prompt to make something throughout the entire process? What if I, in any circumstances, cannot produce a work after all?

Where there’s a will, there is a way. Observing how the five works are being developed and shaped to its final presentation throughout the past two weeks of intensive in-person meetings and discussions, I found such pretty convincing. From installation, video, and photography, all collaboration works uphold their own distinctive interpretation towards exploring the known and unknown about “locations”.

Location means a place or position. How a place is shaped? How can we distinguish one place from another? City Similarities, consists of two CRT televisions stacking one another, is a dual-channel video installation collaborated by Hanz Au Lok Hang and Katarina Stephanivic. Showing various scenes from Hong Kong and Zurich, the work illustrates a direct and rigorous conversation between the two. What does the advertisement sign look like at your place? What about the roadblocks, or the teller machine?

From shooting huge infrastructures to little details in the everyday surroundings, the pair demonstrates their journey, filled with curiosity and wonder, through this series of moving images. The scene which draws attention to the back of air-conditioners is particularly standout, whereas a massive clutter of colorful memos were sticked on that conditioner from Hong Kong’, there was just a single piece of dried leaf hanging on that from Zurich, not only does this interesting comparison reflect how space is being used in corresponding location, it also suggests a brief visual summary of Hong Kong and Zurich being the city of neon signs and that of the Swiss woods.

Behind the stripped glass walls is another video installation. Joanna-Yulia Wierig’s Hong King Kong brings a cozy home setting space to the gallery for the audience to wander around her own imaginative world. Separating herself from the fictional character she created in this video work, Joanna reads aloud a diary piece from the persona alongside her own construction of space using with the video footages collected from both places. Recalling the first time when I was told about the idea of combining footages of Umbrella Revolution and that of the pop song from Rihanna, I was a bit skeptical, “It might be really risky,” I said. Handling informative and descriptive footages is never a piece of cake. Yet watching her work is something different, it is peculiar, and unspeakably intriguing. It reflects a self-indulging and enclosed parody. She deconstructs the materials collected, from her daily routines, advertisements, dramas and cartoons, to a level of superficial surfaces and clichés. She is a tourist from both places. She mocks about the existing, and creates an alienating world of her own.

What makes a journey memorable? Taking selfies at the reknown tourist spots, or enjoying exquisite cuisine in a fine dining restaurant? What about spending a moment of silence and appreciate the beauty of a rubbish bin located in one of the backstreets in Zurich? Why not? By overlaying the map of Hong Kong together on that of Zurich, Alison Hun Yun and Diana Morena Buser pinned down the positions of their favorite spots to another map and proposed an unusual method of sightseeing in a foreign place. Off the Map displays a compilation of ten video documentations of their journeys projected on the white drawing papers, which illustrates the corresponding traveling routes. Positions are twisted, so are the locations. A bar in Zurich might indicate somewhere in the middle of the sea in Hong Kong, while position of a school in Hong Kong might end up being the perfect spot to watch a classy horse and carriage ride in Zurich. I wonder if they have ever got lost while in searching for the right spot? What would they do if the pinned spots were literally unreachable? “What would be next?” I always asked, “What could be next?” Though the installation might not capture the essence of the project, the verbal presentations of the intention and process from the two artists throughout the entire program were always full of energy and surprise.

On the contrary to some light-hearted journeys presented by Alison and Morena, Jelena Pavlovic and Karen Hau Kau Lam’s Cages is unsettling. Having two LCD monitors installed slightly above the floor, the dual-channel video installation highlights the artists’ visual perception by means of comparing the architectural resemblance between the two locations. Accompanied with the audio from all the participating artists in the program about their reflection towards the opposite location, Cages infuses a sense of heaviness, and in some way, a sense of imposition by introducing extraneous audio interviews to a visually substantial collage. The audio materials are edited and fragmentary, thus, do these audio fragments still represent their owners’ personal opinions? Or, are they being transformed and become another voice evolved from this collaboration? I was constantly thinking back and forth while I viewed this piece. Sometimes I was just travelling mindlessly in different geometrical cages, sometimes I was simply listening to the interviews, sometimes I was just standing in between the two monitors, and never did I do these simultaneously.

Not having a clear end seems to be a common characteristic in all the exhibiting works. They appear to be still in progress, and have a room for further explorations, if not experimentations, to spice things up. My work, Merry-Go-Round Round and Round, Chinese Gardens is Out of Town, for example, could be extended up to three months, if not more, until I can no longer be recognized as a tourist in legal terms, or in more practical considerations, that I would have been physically drained. Throughout the process of drawing maps and asking the locals to draw me some, I realize the difference in the information drawn by me, as a tourist, and that by my friends, as a group of residents who might have spent most of their lives there. While I might be more prompted to record visually eye-catching items on the map, they, on the other hand, would also provide background information about that particular kiosk, or that specific street. I enjoyed drawing every single piece of maps, despite how painstaking it was to draw when I was extremely worn out after the day. I am also grateful for all the Swiss friends who spent their precious time and drew these maps for me, with so much sincerity and patience, during my stay in Zurich.

“I don’t know,” and “Ai-ya,” are always my catchphrases. This journey undoubtedly puts me into quite a handful of uncertainties, struggles, and dilemmas. “Don’t you think my work is stupid? What if I have never met that drunk man and received that bizarre map?” I yawped, devastatingly, at the bar one day, “Why am I in bloody place, making terrible decisions and repeating all sort of mistakes?”

“No-o-o-o-o, my friend,” she slurred and smiled.

“Don’t you think it is a perfect place to start? Perhaps they are not mistakes, they are all “Meant-to-be”s.”


Chaos Magic

And than it is 3:58 am in Hong Kong. Reading about Psycho Geography for my work with Allison I found this thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_magic
I still don’t understand. Even the green tea Kit Kat is not helping. I think on Sting singing Message in a Bottle.

Just a cast away an island lost at sea-o

HOng Kong. I am not lost in this see.
I am neon color, high, high buildings, loud laugh, Winnie, I am those streets a bit brazil a bit new york. I am being push by the gaps I find in my expectation of this place.
Curiosity. I speak with the cashier from the night market.
Karen and all the trees growing from the concrete. No order.

I stopped to search for known words, old words, in my vocabulary to explain the new. Yes, the other, the new, that I eat, that I feel, that I digest in a search for new words, experiences. To expand.

Walked out this morning I don’t believe what I saw
A hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone in being alone
A hundred billion castaways looking for a home

I am not alone, I don’t feel alone. I sent my bottles, and magic… they, they got it.

Schedule Exhibition

Dear all,
here is our final schedule.
For the exhibition handout: Every team writes a short text (max. 700 characters) about their work. What is the intention? Background knowledge if needed. Title of the work, technical data like duration, names of the authors.
Deadline was a few days ago.
Installation of the works, check all your needed hardware today!
Opening: 19.00
We have to be in the gallery in shifts of 1 or 1,5 hours teamwise. Let us know who takes which shift.
10.00-11.00 shift/team 1
11.00-12.30 shift/team 2
12.30-14.00 shift/team 3
14.00-15.30 shift/team 4
15.30-17.00 all: final discussion of the projects
For the final discussion we ask you for short text on the other works. You can write these during your shift on Saturday and we want you to present them as part of the discussion.
What do I see in the work? What appeals to me? Why?
What do you learn about making images of locations and about the locations themselves?
Four times 800 characters. Two minutes talk.
(to be published on the blog later)
As part of the final documentation we ask you for a reflecting text about your own work (written in teams).
What did I do? Why? What where the difficulties? What were the major (conceptual, material etc.) changes in the process? How was the collaboration? Which new insights did you get (during the process, through the finished work)? In which way your expectations and imaginations about the other location and the shooting of images have changed?
About 3000 characters.
(to be published together with photo documentation on the blog until February 29th)
Thomas & Birk