A woman with long black hair and glasses leans against a white wall, looking at the camera with her arms folded and a small smile on her face.

Christina Li: Always Moving, Always Curating

We are in the middle of the 58th Venice Biennale, and this year, M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council are once again working together to present Hong Kong’s contribution: Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice, curated by Hong Kong curator Christina Li. To give better insight into her practice, Li spoke to Winny Leung, associate editor at M+, about her work and her curatorial philosophy.

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What does a curator do? That was what Christina Li wondered when she entered this line of work in her first curatorial role at Para Site, an independent art space in Hong Kong. ‘I didn’t know what a curator was supposed to do; whether it involves painting or writing or translation. I eventually thought about it this way: the word “curator” comes from a root that means “caring for something”—so everything is something I should care for. At the time there were just three of us in the Para Site team, and we had to do everything, from the cabling to painting walls, for twelve exhibitions a year.’

A woman leans over a rolled up section of a large ink artwork on paper. She places a white strip onto the middle of the artwork where it’s been unrolled, next to other white strips weighted down by small weights.

Back to the Past to Conserve a Work of Contemporary Calligraphy

When restoring and preserving one of the largest ink paintings in the M+ Collections, the conservation team had to get inventive, using both modern tools and ancient techniques from the Asian scroll mounting tradition.

Hidai Nankoku’s Work (1964) is an immense 3.5 x 4.6 metre ink artwork. A documentary video recorded the performance in which the artist created the work: wielding an oversized brush and using the strength of his whole body, Hidai paints a large piece of paper lying on the ground outdoors, holding the brush upright like in regular calligraphy practice. However, his lines go against the standard movement and direction of calligraphic strokes and have no specific meaning, rejecting conventional practices of calligraphy.

Below, M+ Paper Conservator Jo-Fan Huang explains how she and her team dealt with this large work.

Film still showing a small flying vehicle surrounded by multiple high rises in an urban environment at night. A large screen on the side of the building to the right of the vehicle shows a close-up on a young woman’s face wearing eyeliner and lipstick.

How ‘Blade Runner’ Cyberpunk-ed Hong Kong

The 1982 film Blade Runner explores a dystopian world set in the year 2019. To pay tribute to this unique anniversary, former M+ / Design Trust research fellow Hugh Davies unpacks some of the many associations⁠—visual and conceptual, real and imagined—between Blade Runner and Hong Kong.

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The year 2019 marks a curious jubilee for tech-noir visual culture: It’s the year in which the 1982 film Blade Runner is set, and we now find ourselves living in the moment of its future.

Long held as the high-water mark of the cyberpunk genre, Blade Runner has inspired decades of visual imitations in film, anime, and video games at the intersection of sci-fi and neo-noir. Yet Blade Runner remains the uncontested original. Its astounding cyberpunk cityscape emerged fully formed and with few clear precursors. Never explicitly intended to evoke Hong Kong, it did so nonetheless, and fortified Hong Kong’s place in the cyberpunk palette. But how is it that Blade Runner became so visually associated with Hong Kong?

A woman and a younger boy stand on opposite ends of a stone sculpture. They are facing each other and appear to be humorously yelling at each other.

Designing Museum Tours That Are Accessible for Everyone

How can museum tours be accessible, and why is it important that they are? We all come from a wide range of life experiences, and have unique ways of perceiving and interacting with the world. Through the understanding and conversations that can result from museum tours and visits, we can learn from one another and approach things around us with new eyes.

M+ recently held M+ Outreach Access, the museum’s first programme designed principally for students in special education schools. The programme aimed to introduce contemporary visual culture into schools and for learners with different abilities. For each of the twelve participating schools, a workshop was first held for students to introduce them to what visual culture is. Then, a tour of Noguchi for Danh Vo: Counterpoint took place at the M+ Pavilion.

These workshops and tours were designed in collaboration with different teams throughout M+, and with Michele Chung, co-founder of The Human Commons. Below, we chat with Michele about designing accessible museum tours and how tour guides can make them more accessible for everyone.