Two Exhibitions and the Appearing Demos is a conversation among Professor of Cultural and Religious Studies Pang Lai Kwan (CUHK), artist Luke Ching Chin Wai, and artist Lo Lai Lai. The conversation will attempt to thread together the ongoing social implications in Ching’s new and early works, Lo’s practice and observations on collective agriculture and sustainable living, and Professor Pang’s new book that rethinks democracy. What is the role of art in challenging social institutions? How does artists’ participation and intervention in society reflect society’s operation and the negotiations therein? And how does this process catalyze ideas of democracy?
About the guests:
Luke Ching was a top-notch colour pencil artist in his pre-university years. He was among the best in class at school, and he wasn’t too bad at seal carving, either. In university, Ching trained in the field of mixed media under the tutelage of Professor Chan. At the time, mixed media still belonged to the category of ‘other’ when one specified the medium of one’s work. Up until the age of 30, Ching worked as a class teacher of Grade 4 students and taught art and general studies. After turning 30, Ching not only learned to swim and cycle but also managed to get married (even before he was able to type in Chinese) – a feat he considers as his lifetime achievement. In his 30s, Ching took an interest in public space and the development of the gift economy, searching for artistic inspiration from within the breath and pulse of society. After turning 40, Ching began focusing on his career, and his current life ambition is to become his boss’s pet.
Lo Lai Lai Natalie is an artist based in Hong Kong. She received both her Bachelor of Art (Fine Arts) and Master of Fine Arts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. A former travel journalist, Lo is interested in the development and the construction of nature. She is a learner at the collective organic farm Sangwoodgoon (Hong Kong) where she also explores, as an artist and a Hongkonger, the lifestyle of ‘Half-Farming, Half-X’, a practice that seeks alternatives and autonomy. Lai Lai finds her interests in food, farming, fermentation, slow-driving, surveillance, and meditation. Mixing multiple media including moving image, photography, and installation. Her works are collected by the Sigg Collection and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (US). Lo has previously presented solo exhibitions at Give no words but mum (2020, Tomorrow Maybe, Hong Kong), Down into the Abyss (2018, bonacon gallery, Guangzhou, China), Slow-So TV – Ann Eilathan’s Gaze (2016, Floating Projects, Hong Kong) and Souvenir and Gift (2014, the Observation Society, Guangzhou, China). She is the recipient of the WMA Commission Grant on the theme ‘Opportunity’ and her works were presented in San Francisco, Paris, Dresden, Johannesburg, Yogyakarta, Beijing, and Shanghai, among others.
Pang Laikwan is professor of cultural studies and Head of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is the author of a few books, including Building a New China in Cinema (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), Cultural Control and Globalization in Asia (Routledge, 2006), Distorting Mirror (U of Hawaii P, 2007), Creativity and Its Discontents (Duke UP, 2012), The Art of Cloning (Verso, 2017), and The Appearing Demos (U of Michigan P, 2020).