Hong Kong’s trams turned into camera obscuras

Kingsley Ng’s Art Basel Hong Kong work takes daydreaming on public transport to a new level
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Twenty Five Minutes Older by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Twenty Five Minutes Older by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Arts Development Council

The kind of clientèle attending Art Basel Hong Kong this year might not be regular public transport users. Yet some may well pick up tram tickets this year, as one of the fair’s best off-site works trundles by the convention centre.

Twenty Five Minutes Older is a site-specific piece installed inside Hong Kong’s public transport network by local artist Kingsley Ng. Created as part of Art Basel Hong Kong, Ng has converted two trams running from Causeway Bay to Sheung Wan Western Market, into dreamy, walk-in pinhole cameras.

 

Twenty Five Minutes Older by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Twenty Five Minutes Older by Kingsley Ng. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Arts Development Council

The artist has installed camera obscuras on the carriages, fitting apertures to the windows, and flipping the everyday street scene into a cinematic marvel, projected onto the trams’ inner walls.

This visual experience has been paired with an audio accompaniment: a reading from Liu Yichang’s popular, 20th century Hong Kong novella ‘Tête-bêche’, the dreamy, sultry book that inspired Wong Kar-wai’s 2000 film, In The Mood for Love.

 

While Ng doesn’t promise his work will lead to similar encounters, he does believe this arty tram reverie turns the carriages into “a moving time capsule that does not get old in the fast-paced city”, for as long as the journey lasts.

For more site-specific works get Art & Place; for more on Chinese art get The Chinese Art Book.


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