Learning Curves/Shing Mun River, Hong Kong
project by Alessandro Carboni
I spent two months studying, through an interdisciplinary approach between visual art, geography and architecture, the Shing Mun River as Place of contact between two points – the natural landscape and the urban and cultural landscape
The new stage of Learning Curves takes place in Hong Kong and focuses on the Shing Mun River. The project intends to focus the research on the transformation of the landscape caused by major land reclamation that irrevocably changed the Shatin area.
The dramatic human activity around the Shatin area, which started at the beginning of the 1970s due to land reclamation and extension over the sea, transformed the villages into the biggest residential urban agglomerate in Hong Kong.
Research Process# “Mapping Shing Mun River”
24.01 to 06.04, 2013
Installation #Sound Topography around Shing Mun River
5.4.2013 (Fri) | 11.00am – 7pm
6.4.2013 (Sat) | 10am – 6pm
@ open area near Pai Tau Village, Shatin, Hong Kong
Performance #Dialogue on Maps
6.4.2013 (Sat) | 11.00am – 12.30pm
@ Shatin Rural Committee, 248 Pai Tau Village, Shatin, Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s dramatic urban transformation, from the late 50s until now, has changed the city’s face and identity. The anthropic activity on the Shatin area, that began in the early 70′, after land reclamation and extension of land over the sea, has cancelled a many rural villages creating the biggest residential urban agglomerate in Hong Kong.
Alessandro Carboni, a visual artist in residence in Hong Kong, tells us about these transformations starting from his explorations around the Shing Mun River, the river that runs through Shat Tin area. The river becomes the place of contact between two points, the natural landscape, in particular the coastline, the river and the mountains, and the artificial landscape, that is the effects of production activity, social, cultural and environmental life in the various neighbourhoods starting from Tai Wai up to Tai Po. The river, according to the artist, is the central element of the transformation, a tangible landscape system, that is an element in balance where all natural and artificial elements can be variably connected.
After two months of residence, Alessandro presents the research materials in a public presentation. The artist chooses the Shatin Rural Committee, the place where the representatives of the indigenous residents of villages discuss the welfare of in Shatin. For the artist, this space becomes the ideal place to meet, discuss and show his research path. The space is located around a square nearby Shatin Mtr Station.
During the event, Alessandro presents the installation “Sound Topography around Shing Mun River”. It is a recount of a travelogue conducted in different locations around Shing Mun River. Alessandro explored the areas of Tai Wai, Tai Po, Pai Tau Village, Siu Lek Yeun Village, Fo Tan and Sam Mun Tsai village with the practice of soundwalks that involves listening and recording while moving through a place at a walking pace. While recording, Alessandro wrote a diary concerning with the relationship between his perception and the surrounding sonic environment. The installation, composed by six audio players with headphone and six chairs, is located outdoor around a square nearby Shatin Mtr Station. Local people, visitor, passing by people, in response of it becomes a listener of the space that incorporates alessandro perception and experience around Shing Mun River.
During the residence, Alessandro Carboni met Mr. Choy Hon Sum, an elderly Tai Wai villager. After several meetings, interviews on the history of Shing Mun River Alessandro Carboni proposed to Mr. Choy to present, during the event, their dialogue in a performative format. The performance is a duet based on the different perception of a map of the territory Shatin. Alessandro recounts his experience and perception collected during his exploration around urban area, villages, estates, paths, people and parks. Mr. Choy tells the evolution, the geography of Shing Mun River the through the history of his village. Mr. Choy’s descriptions are enriched with anecdotes, legends and stories. Alessandro and Mr. Choy, share in the same table, a map which becomes a metaphore of a new territory, a place for a new interpretation of objective and subjective representation of space.
As part of the performance, Alessandro presents a series of aerial photography from 1963 collected from the Lands Department. For each of them, Alessandro creates drawings with the aim to explore his perception in connection within objective mapping as photography and subjective mapping as drawing.
Learning Curves/ Shing Mun River is part of Carboni research and interdisciplinary project Overlapping Discrete Boundaries, a multidisciplinary research project focused both on an objective analysis of urban context and on the other hand focused on the intimate, subjective relationship between the observer and the perceived environment.
Overlapping Discrete Boundaries has been carried out by early 2010, through sponsorships and residences both Asian and European cities.
Project by Alessandro Carboni
With the support of The Library by soundpocket; Formati Sensibili-art&science mashups; the Italian Institute of Culture and the General Consulate of Italy in Hong Kong
Photography and graphic: Alessandro Carboni
Assistance: Li Wai Mei and Cristina Gervasi
Translation in English: Andrea Scalas
Recording assistance: Jacklam Ho
Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Choy Hon Sum.
Alessandro reportage has been published for the Italian magazine Frontierenews.it
Learning Curves/Shing Mun River by Alessandro Carboni has been developed in the frame of The Library by soundpocket Artist In Residence
with the support
Formati Sensibili | art&science mashups
The Library by soundpocket
Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong