Five Tonnes of Homes and Other Understories

Five Tonnes of Homes and Other Understories (2016), fresh from the streets of Central, is in turn a re-intervention to the art world.

Like thick books with drawn covers, the massive bales of cardboard waste in Five Tonnes of Homes and Other Understories are physical digests of their route. They contain physical traces of people, stakeholders that make up the nodes of the route, attaching diverse values to the cardboard waste along the way.

In my intervention, I became one of these people. My traces are carried on the structural outer layers of the bales. They are “murals” – part of Wall Drawings – that I began drawing in early 2015, while spending time in the Filipino domestic workers’ temporary cardboard shelters in Central. The murals then became markers as the cardboard waste changes form along the route. They enabled me to trace the route and build relationships with the stakeholders. These made it possible for me to re-collect the waste cardboard at Hong Kong transit points before the bales are shipped to China.

At a recycling collection point in Sheung Wan, the daily harvest of waste from Central are compressed into bales, sometimes with the murals replacing their usual structural outer layer. Every day, the recycling collection’s truck would transport these bales to the transit port at Heng Fa Chuen/Wan Chai in several trips. On each trip, the truck passes near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the venue of the annual Art Basel Hong Kong, but never stopped there.

These two worlds met as I diverted the route to Art Basel Hong Kong 2016. This diversion made waves.

Title background image courtesy of Nora Tam/South China Morning Post.
Presentation at Encounter section (curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor) at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 is co-supported by Osage Gallery.

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