Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hybrid Model: Hong Kong, Art, and Deterritorialization

When Frank Welsh wrote his outstanding one-volume history of Hong Kong, he titled it “A Borrowed Place.” In I Like Hong Kong… Art and Deterritorialization, Frank Vigneron, an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, continues that theme of borrowings, but places it at the center of the dynamic culture and art world of that tiny island that thrives at the crossroads of commerce and communication. “Does a Hong Kong cultural identity really stem from the cliché of ‘East meets West,’ which has been strongly attached to the idea most people have had of Hong Kong for decades, or is it exclusively the product of a Chinese background only masked by British colonization?” Vigneron asks, only to answer “neither!” Instead, Vigneron builds a compelling philosophical case that Hong Kong is a model case of true hybridization in which cultural elements lose their territorial context, that is, they become “deterritorialized.” Both a description of Hong Kong’s contemporary art scene and a manifesto for how that artwork could provide a solution to the world’s global tensions, I Like Hong Kong… promises, and delivers. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Hybrid Model."

[Image: Cindy Ng Sio-Ieng. Ink 9852. Digital photography. 70 x 50 cm. 2010.]

[Many thanks to The Chinese University Press for providing me with a review copy of Frank Vigneron’s I Like Hong Kong… Art and Deterritorialization.]

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