A person is taking a selfie of himself with two other people standing on a tower looking out over the Tokyo cityscape. All three people are smiling at the camera.

Outside Hong Kong: Museums as Cultural Ecosystems

What happens when museum workers visit each other?

The M+ International initiative was recently launched to create a platform to discuss current issues facing museums by partnering with international institutions. As part of this project, M+ and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo recently organised a symposium to reconsider the meaning of museum collections.

In addition to this symposium, three M+ team members visited the Mori Art Museum for two weeks to work with and learn from the staff there. We sat down with them to chat about what they learned.

Participants:

  • William Seung, Curatorial Assistant, Design and Architecture
  • Ping Ping Tung, Exhibition Designer
  • Nixon Wong, Assistant Curator, Learning and Interpretation
Timelapse video showing sculptures consisting of modular parts shaped like ventilation ducts out of cardboard and galvanised steel being put together to form various shapes within a gallery space.

Four Configurations of Charlotte Posenenske's Sculptures

Charlotte Posenenske’s (1930–1985) steel-and-cardboard works Series D and Series DW Vierkantrohre (Series D and DW Square Tubes) were first created as modular sculptures in the 1960s. Her unusual approach allows for them to be assembled in various shapes according to the display space and the desires of the owner. To highlight this, the works were reconfigured three times over the course of Five Artists: Sites Encountered by three invited guests from different backgrounds. This was likely the first real performance of Posenenske’s work done in Asia.

Posenenske’s ideas about art combine sameness and variability in an unusual way, so showing different configurations of her work allows audiences to see multiple responses to the space. To offer viewers the full experience of all four configurations even if they couldn’t witness each one in real time, they are individually summarised below.

1. Initial configuration by the M+ curatorial team:

Close-up of a film reel showing multiple frames of a scene in which three people talk to each other outside a building The images are very slanted as the film reel is lying horizontally.

A Brief Introduction to Film Restoration in Taiwan

For the past four years, the Taiwan Film Institute has been undergoing a film restoration project to restore old Taiwanese films. M+ Screenings: Restored Images from Taiwan (4–6 October), co-presented by M+ and Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center, brings together moving image works that are part of the Taiwan Film Institute’s undertaking.

Below, we invite Dr Wang Chun-Chi, director of the Taiwan Film Institute, to explain how film restoration works, why it happens, and the debates that occur within the field.

What is film restoration?

Dr Wang: Film restoration means rescuing and preserving old films with deteriorating stock. For us, this means both preserving and conserving the film reels, cleaning and repairing them, and then converting them to a digital format. Each year we have a group discussion about what to digitally restore out of the films we have already preserved.

Film restoration allows us to discover films we may never have seen before, or have only read about in books. For example, many people think that we have lost all Taiwanese-language films, but they do exist—they just need to be restored.

How does film restoration work?

A woman smiles at the camera, sitting in front of a video projected on the wall of a gallery space. The video shows a blindfolded woman walking in front of a traditional Chinese temple with her arms stretched out in front of her.

From 1989 to Now: May Fung on Video Art

Hong Kong filmmaker May Fung has been active for over forty years in the Hong Kong film and arts community. Her work She Said Why Me (1989) is currently on view in the exhibition Five Artists: Sites Encountered. It depicts a woman walking blindfolded through the bustling streets of Hong Kong. These images are interspersed with black-and-white archival footage of women in various public contexts. The constant shifting of sites and the sense of unease displayed by the blindfolded woman clearly express the anxiety felt by the city’s residents—especially women—as they attempt to explore their collective identity during a period of political uncertainty.

Fung recently gave a talk in conjunction with the exhibition. Below is an edited transcription, touching on her creative process and the history of video art in Hong Kong.

***

May Fung: The present situation in Hong Kong reminds me of my younger days. My work She Said Why Me was made in 1989, the year of the June 4th incident. I was thirty-seven. Leading up to and in response to the Tiananmen gathering, there were all kinds of demonstrations in Hong Kong. I was very active. Whenever there was a demonstration, I would go to the street with my video camera and film everything.