Creative Writing | Artists Interview
Bring Tranquility Back To Tai Sang Wai──Chan Pak Kin
Written by CHAN Hiu Tung Ada
Taking "relational art" as the central axis for his creation, Brandon often participates in different community art projects, including the Fishpond Sustainable Art Festival last year. As a person who lives in the countryside, the homely atmosphere is the most remarkable to him. "When the aroma of food permeates the village every evening, and the villagers will ask about the dishes made by others and be solicitous about one another's.”The friendliness in the village has fixed Brandon's mind. This year, Brandon cannot sojourn in the village under the pandemic. At the same time, Hong Kong people, who are not allowed to travel abroad, have more time to explore different hotspots in Hong Kong. During the peak period, two to three hundred people visit Tai Sang Wai in a day, which results in a disturbance for the villagers. Thus, annoyed villagers decided to close the village to outsiders. As an ex-resident for two months, Brandon understands the villagers' decision. But compared to his close relationship with the villagers last year, the limited opportunities to get in touch with the villagers before devising the idea of the current works made Brandon feel somewhat regretful.
"You must familiarize yourself with the population distribution of the place, the names of the people and the stories behind, regardless of community type. Dialogue can only be initiated with mutual respect under a long term relationship." Bradon made this remark on participatory community art. He had many opportunities to interact with villagers last year, but the circumstance this year made this impossible. "It’s hard to gain insight without taking time to experience." Therefore, Brandon visited the village, sat by the fishponds and immersed himself in thought without disturbing the villagers. The distance between people is widening. How can we respond to such a situation with an artwork derived from nature? The handcrafted wooden single chairs with eaves along the fishponds are Brandon’s response. By letting participants experience the atmosphere of Tai Sang Wai alone quietly, his work "Seat for One, Thanks! "embodies not only his feeling to the social distancing due to the pandemic but also his regret at the absence of food tasting in the festival this year.
When asked about the expected impact brought by his artwork, Brandon gave an unusual answer, "I don't expect the work to bring much impact on Tai Sang Wai. It should make no differences to Tai Sang Wai at all. The place is not a tourist attraction but the villagers' home." Nevertheless, Brandon will be satisfied if his work can bring tranquillity back to Tai Sang Wai and restore the villagers' daily life by allowing the participants to experience Tai Sang Wai's life and spend enough time to feel this small and peaceful community.