Skip to Main Content
Liberal Arts Education Transformation For Life
Start main Content
A banner image of website

The Performing Archive:
Deep Archival Engagement as Artistic Practice

October 13–November 16, 2017


Ho Tzu Nyen's The Nameless

The Nameless

Two-channel 21-minute video installation, with two soundtracks over 12-channels
Curated by Chuong-Dai Vo
Venue: Black Box Theatre, B.Y. Lam Building (LBY203), Lingnan University
Daily between Oct 13-20, 2017 (11 am - 6 pm) (Sunday closed)
Open to the public

'The Nameless' is a work about a man only known as 'Lai Teck', a Sino-Vietnamese who had at different times in his life more than 50 aliases, and who served as the General Secretary of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947, and also a triple agent (working for the British/French, and Japanese during the Occupation). Lai Tek's story is told here entirely through two decades of footage of Hong Kong actor Tony Leung playing traitor, informer and stool pigeon.



Day One (Oct 20, 2017, Friday, between 2 pm and 6 pm):
Ventriloquizing Archives [FULL]
With Ho Tzu Nyen
Anchors: Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Chuong-Dai Vo
Special Guest: Ackbar Abbas
Venue: Lingnan University (LBYG06)

From the idea of the Archive and the State to Remembering and Forgetting, and from celluloid image to the architectural object, we define our protagonist: a combination of historian, performer, urban denizen and spy. Urban spaces define our publicness, but they also create covert private knowledges and specialized ways of navigating the city and its archive. This workshop explores what Leo Ou-Fan Lee, describing Shanghai, once named 'the urban uncanny', and brings together into the city what artist Ho Tzu Nyen has named a dictionary that maps 'narratives of shape-shifting and amorphous characters, ideas and genres'. 

Such a dictionary defining the covert modern is a crucial project for all forms of engagement with the Asian archives, since the challenge of history-writing in these regions has often involved devising new and innovative ways – of fabrication, of working with fictions, of speculative connections and of overinterpretations – of working with archives that hide, as often and as much as they reveal.


Day Two (October 28, 2017, Saturday, between 2 pm and 6 pm):
Introduction – Histories on Edge [FULL]
Anchor: Michelle Wong
Special Guest: Tammy Ko Robinson
Venue: Asia Art Archive Fotan Project Space, 10E Valiant Industrial Centre, 2-12 Au Pui Wan Street, Fotan, NT.

When do individuals assemble private archives, and why? Substantial individual collections of diverse materials have arisen in many locations worldwide.  These private collections, often idiosyncratically maintained, offer different versions of history that can complement and complicate existing narratives. Sometimes they even create room for fictitious speculations, as well as engagements with disciplines that exceed the focus of a particular archive.

This session focuses on the materials related to social-political upheaval within Ha’s archive, such as those around 1967 Leftist Riots, and the filmmaking practice of Tammy Ko Robinson, which considers issues as political resistance and historical violence through researching and drawing on multiple archives.

The Ha Bik Chuen Archive: Ha Bik Chuen, or Xia Biquan (1925–2009), was a Hong Kong painter, sculptor, photographer and craftsman. He was also an inveterate photographer of art exhibitions. Ha's strange and idiosyncratic collection - over 100,000 photographs on over 1500 exhibitions, exhibition ephemera and periodicals collected from 1960s onward - has been a source for interventions as artists as well as art historians have been working on deciphering different aspects of this astonishing body of material.

H.K. Yuen Social Movement Audio Archive: Now housed at the library of the Ethnic Studies Library at University of California Berkeley, this collection includes audio recordings of social movements in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1960s-1980s. It has also informed the Contact Points Archive Project, Asia Culture Centre, Gwangju, which has materials ranging from printed matter to documentaries from some of the oldest Asian American arts and cultural organizations in the United States, alongside correspondences across the Pacific dating from 1968 to the present between Chicago, Manila, Bangkok, Gwangju, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Taipei, and Seoul.

Day Three (November 16, 2017, Thursday, between 11 am to 4 pm):
Hong Kong's Ghosts - The Politics of Disappearance
Anchor: Stephen Ching-kiu Chan
Guests: Connie Yan Wai Lo, Simon Chu, and Shuk Man Leung
Venue: Black Box Theatre, B.Y. Lam Building (LBY203)

In 2016, when Connie Yan Wai Lo made The Vanished Archives on the 1967 anti-colonial riots, she discovered a strange absence of material in places like Kwun Tong's Public Records Office. This erasure will lead us in two different directions. On one side, we visit the Archives Action Group and the local struggle to keep the archives alive. On the other, we will also go to the colonial archive, via Peter Moss, author of End of Empire: Hong Kong - Signed, Sealed and Delivered (2011), the bureaucrat apparently responsible for the extant film records of the 1967 riots. And we will ask these questions: Why do archives vanish? How do we fill in the blanks of history?



Documenting Hong Kong Culture
Masterclass with Ackbar Abbas

Abbas writes:
When factoids are taken for facts, when ‘reality’ as in reality TV has become a game show, and when an unadorned fact is becoming as rare as ‘an orchid in the land of technology’, what becomes of documentary? Are we witnessing its demise? The paradox is that today at a moment when the documentary with its claims to ‘truth’ seems theoretically impossible, what we are seeing is its renewed vitality and proliferation across diverse cultural fields: not only in cinema, but also in writing, the visual arts, and philosophical movements like ‘speculative realism’.

Understandably, the documentary today cannot retain its old form or employ its old strategy of confronting the factitious with the factual. If documentary, like translation, is inadvertently a betrayal, then documentary will have to start with the fact of betrayal, with the betrayal of fact. It has to become, in an important sense, faux documentary. Mutations in the documentary form point to a world increasingly impervious to factual explanation, where documentary has become the crucial but problematic site - in Hong Kong and elsewhere - for aesthetic, political, and ethical debates.

November 10, 2017, Friday, between 2 pm and 8 pm):
The Hong Kong Docuthon
Curated by Choi Sin Yi and Wu Ka Wai
Venue: Black Box Theatre, B.Y. Lam Building (LBY203)

No form of expression has taken greater responsibility, or performed under greater stress, in the troubled history of modern Hong Kong than the documentary. The form itself has undergone great mutation from the pre-97 heyday to the present when it functions within social media environs. Over a continuous seven-hour multiscreen experience, viewers will be taken through three decades of Hong Kong documentary, from Hong Kong Road Movie to Yellowing.

List of films:
1.《未存在的故鄉 第一部︰〔只隔一江水〕》
exodus of nowhere. episode 1: the water is wide
co-created:enoch ng, kelvin wu, lee waiyi|produced:v-artivist
hong kong|2002﹣2013|75 min|language: cantonese, fujian dialect, hainan dialect, chaozhou dialect, mandarin, spanish, persian(with english and chinese subtitles)

2.《未存在的故鄉 第二部︰〔賭局〕》
exodus of nowhere. episode 2: gamble
co-creation / editing / filmming: enoch ng, kelvin wu, lee waiyi | production: v-artivist
hong kong |2013-14 | 140min | language: cantonese, english, mandarin (with english and chinese subtitles)

3.《未存在的故鄉 第三部︰〔移.住.迴旋〕》
exodus of nowehre. episode 3: rondo for the dis/placed
co-creation / editing / filmming: enoch ng, kelvin wu, lee waiyi | production: v-artivist |
language: mandarin, cantonese, bahasa indonesia, bahasa malaysia, english, dutch, hokkien (with chinese and english subtitles) | 2015 | hong kong | 200min

香港 | 1996 | 27分鐘|彩色|廣東話及英文(英文字幕)
Hong Kong Road Movie
Director: FUNG Bing-fai
Hong Kong | 1996 | 27min|Color|In Cantonese and English with English subtitles

香港 | 2007 | 74分鐘|彩色|廣東話及英文(中英文字幕)
One Way Street On A Turntable
Director: Anson Mak
Hong Kong | 2007 | 74min|Color|In Cantonese and English with Chinese and English subtitles

6. 《風景》
香港 | 2016 | 176分鐘|彩色|廣東話(中英文字幕)
Pseudo Secular
Director: Rita Hui
Hong Kong | 2016 | 176min|Color|In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

製作:佔領訪談隊及自治八樓|剪輯及再生產:aumu josm (薆苗草生)
voices omumur : voices from the occupy movement/umbrella movement/umbrella revolution
production: occupy interview team and autonomous 8a|editing: aumu josm
admiralty, mongkok, causeway bay|2014…2016|122 minutes|color|cantonese (chinese subtitles)

香港 | 2007-8 | 120分鐘|彩色|廣東話(中文字幕)
Beyond The Queen
Director: Lam Sum
Hong Kong | 2007-8 | 120min|Color|In Cantonese with Chinese subtitles

9. 《亂世備忘》
香港 | 2015 | 127分鐘|彩色|廣東話(中英文字幕)
Director: Chan Tze Woon
Hong Kong | 2015 | 127min|Color|In Cantonese with Chinese and English subtitles

10. 《岸上漁歌》
香港 | 2017 | 98分鐘|彩色|廣東話、蜑家語(中英文字幕)
Ballad on the Shore
Director: MA Chi- hang
Hong Kong | 2017 | 98min|Color|In Cantonese and Tanka with Chinese and English subtitles

November 11, 2017, Saturday, between 2 pm and 6 pm)
Masterclass: Ackbar Abbas [FULL]
Venue: Black Box Theatre, B.Y. Lam Building (LBY203)

Among Ackbar Abbas' famous arguments has been one of a strange role of the archives in Hong Kong: the déjà disparu, or the 'feeling that what is new and unique about the situation is always already gone, and we are left holding a handful of cliché, or a cluster of memories of what has never been’. Abbas' work has drawn attention to a rather special role that the archives possess in Hong Kong: as evidence, then, of what may have been in the face of erasure. His more recent work has been on both the production of fakes and on fraudulent memory.




Ackbar Abbas (University of California, Irvine/Lingnan University)
Ashish Rajadhyaksha (Lingnan University)
Cheuk Wing Nam (media artist)
Choi Sin Yi (Hong Kong Actual images Association)
Chuong-Dai Vo (Asia Art Archive)
Connie Yan-Wai Lo (filmmaker, The Vanished Archives)
Eunsoo Lee (Lingnan University)
Ho Tzu Nyen (artist/filmmaker, The Nameless)
Michelle Wong (Asia Art Archive)
Shuk-man Leung (Hong Kong PolyU)
Simon Chu (Archives Action Group, Hong Kong)
Stephen Ching-Kiu Chan (Lingnan University)
Tammy Ko Robinson (filmmaker, Hanyang University, Korea)
Wu Ka Wai (Lingnan University)