The production of differential spaces through participatory art in Hong Kong 2000-2019

  • Mankun Liu

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Since the preservation campaigns at Lee Tung Street, the Star Ferry Pier and the Queen's Pier that erupted in early to mid-2000s, Hong Kong participatory art has undertaken an increasingly proactive role in local spatial movements, which marks the organizational and strategical evolvements of this artistic category that differentiate it from earlier public and community art. While research initiatives after 2010 have identified regional geospatial politics as one major concern for local participatory art today, existing studies tend to take a contextual approach with main emphases on why art becomes involved in urban spatial struggles while rarely proceeding to investigate what strategies or modes of spatial practices have emerged from relevant projects and what implications they have on the material-social spaces of the city. This hesitation to forward an interpretive evaluation of the focused phenomenon stems from the absence of epistemological concreteness in participatory art theories and criticisms, which necessitates the introduction of new analytical tools in research on the subject. To answer the pending questions, this research employs Henry Lefebvre's theories of the social production of space to examine three representative projects selected from a preliminary survey of local participatory art programs/groups which involve spatial practices. In exploring the contents, strategies, and socio-spatial implications of these cases, it presents three models of spatially oriented participatory art. On this basis, a cross-case analysis is conducted to explore how participatory art in general offers counterforces against the neoliberalist social-material and aesthetic reprogramming of the city while laying the social foundation for the anticipated production of differential spaces. As more urban renewal and land resumption plans are anticipated to storm through the city in the coming decades, this research hopes to provide for practitioners, researchers, and local communities the discursive and conceptual tools to understand the role of art in preceding and future spatial contestations

Date of Award27 Jul 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMee Ping LEUNG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Interactive art
  • Art and cities

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