Immortal Colonialism

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Student Name: Chan Sao I Student Number: 09239496 Program Name: BEd-VA-Sec Module Name: Discourse of Visual Arts Cultural Tutor Name: Dr. Du Cros Hilary Louise

Transcript of Immortal Colonialism

  • Discourse of Visual Arts Culture

    Immortal Colonialism

    Student Name: Chan Sao I Student Number: 09239496 Program Name: BEd-VA-Sec Module Name: Discourse of Visual Arts Cultural Tutor Name: Dr. Du Cros Hilary Louise

    Contact Underlying Philosophy and Concepts of the Artwork 2 Installation Artwork: Immortal Colonialism 5 Conclusion 7

  • Underlying Philosophy and Concepts of the Artwork Hong Kong that is a small southern fishing port in Qing Dynasty was ruled under the United Kingdom of Great Britain for a century and contains a unique cultural background (Law, 2007). Britain had returned the sovereignty of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China in 1997. Hong Kong had already detached the rule of the Westerners for over a decade. However, it does not mean that all the Hong Kong people who had been ruled can totally forget and abandon every colonial system, lifestyle and cultural. Colonialism is the external extension over a countrys rule to land beyond its own border. It is not only a system of direct political and economic control, but also a cultural control by a powerful nation over a weaker one (Darrell & Jennifer, 2010). The sun was never to dawn of the day under the administration of UK. Britain has a strong military force and invaded China in 1942 and established a colony in Hong Kong in order to gradually extend the sovereignty of the British Empire. Since then, Hong Kong is having a multi-culture of both Chinese and Western. Even though Hong Kong people are defined as Chinese by foreigners, compared with the Chinese people from Mainland China or Taiwan, Hong Kong people are different with a foreign influence that is colonialism (Leung, 1996). Colonialism expensed into Hong Kong through the western multinational industries. It moved their production lines to Hong Kong and employed lots of cheap labours (Jane, 1997). Hence, Hong Kong became a Barbie factory of the world in 60s and 70s. Most of the Barbie had printed with the words "Made in Hong Kong". Thus, the female labours got the initial contact of Barbie and were fascinated by the outlook of Barbie, such as the blond hair, blue eyes, high nose and white face. Some of them might even pursue a golden body shape of 1 : 9 body ratio. All these facial and body characteristics shown on the Barbie is produced based on the aesthetic value of westerners. After contacting with Barbie, they gradually absorb the aesthetic standards of the foreigners. Colonists instilled the western aesthetic standards like white equal to beauty and planted this deep-rooted aesthetic concept in the hearts of colonists through Barbie (Ho, 2003). Barbie becomes a moral invasion under colonialism. The Great Empire controls colonists to rely on its cultural power unwittingly. The appearance of foreigners is much beautiful than the Chinese. Barbie made colonists eager of foreigners. In order to get the outlook of foreigners, lots of Hong Kong people had a curly hair permanent and dyed blond hair. As Leung (1996) pointed out, "The culture of Hong Kong in 70s is only acting a copy cat of having long hair, wearing ball pants and short skirts. As a result, Barbie is a huge hidden power of colonialism. This moral invasion can be much effective and powerful than any violence or military force (Melvin, 2003). Eventually, Hong Kong cannot fight with the total westernization under colonialism. As Leung (1993) reported, "Under colonialism, Hong Kong colonists emphasis on western things, despise and underestimate our own culture, proud of the westernization, and even alienate and ignore their own ethic character. Unfortunately, according to the theory of post-colonialism, colonial influence is still not be

  • terminated after the handover and wiped out under a short period of time (Gilbert, 2004). The end of colonial rule is not equal to the fully removal of the colonial impacts. The ex-colonial areas must not obliterate all the past colonial experience in a decade only. As a Hong Kong resident, I am really distressed that there is only the beauty of foreigners in the eyes of Hong Kong people, but not the aesthetic standards of their Chinese culture. Even after the handover, the influence of this colonial invasion is still rooted deeply among us. For example, having excluding curly hair permanent and dyeing blond hair, wearing color contact lenses also become a fashion among teenagers right now. Although I really want to fight with the colonial invasion, the ideological colonial influence is still not be terminated with a negligible hope. Consequently, I would like to create an installation artwork to discourses and critiques the above situation of colonialism and post-colonialism. The media of my artwork is installation. Installation is not about individual artworks, but the sacralization of a certain space (Julie, 2001). Therefore, the exhibition location is also an essential part of my artwork to bring out the concept of both colonialism and post-colonialism. The following is the idea of the planned exhibition location: The Legislative Council Building, which is crowned by a dome and surrounded by Ionic style columns with neoclassical style, is one of the representative evidence of colonialism in Hong Kong. It is situated at Central that is the heart of the central business district of Hong Kong. From its opening until 1978, the Building had been the home of the Supreme Court which is the final court to hear cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population. Also, the Building officially became the Legislative Council Building in 1985 until only a few months before (Legislative Council, 2012). During colonial period, the day-to-day work of government exercised indirectly in the Legislative Council through local assemblies who paid tribute, but sovereignty rested with the British in order to control effectively.

  • As a result, regardless of CBD, Supreme Court or Legislative Council, they were all brought by the Britain Empire and represent the extension over the British Empire as not only a system of direct economic, justice, political and control, but also a administrative control (Melvin, 2003). Hence, the exhibition is planned to set in the core of the Legislative Council Building in Central. That is the chamber where the discussion area for key officials to legislate colonial policy under the colonial period. In the chamber, only the badge above the chairman seat is changed after the handover. However, it does not mean that the influence of colonialism has all been totally cleaned unless the Legislation Council is replaced by the Chinese National People's Congress. Although lots the key officials have been altered from British to Hong Kong people, there is no Chinese legislation characteristic setting inside the chamber. Gradually, our original cultural value, beauty standard, legislative, economic and justice system are all rely on western things without our own characteristic under colonialism and even after the handover.

  • Installation Artwork: Immortal Colonialism The media of my artwork is installation. Installation is not about individual artworks, but the socialization of a certain space (Julie, 2001). Therefore, the exhibition location is essential to bring out the concept of my artwork. The main objects of my installation are the balloon tree with wax Barbie dolls and a large iron plate designed in a Chinese map. The setting pattern of the balloons is based on the Britain National Flag. The balloons flow at the ceiling of the Legislation Councils chamber due to the injection of hydrogen. It represents the supreme colonial power of UK. Additionally, the stem and root background is planned to paint as the wallpaper behind the chairmans seat to tell the deep-rooted planting of colonial invasion.

    Root

    Balloon Tree

    Balloons

    Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

    Heating Iron Plate

    Bottom View of the Balloons pattern

    Planned based on the Nationals Flag of UK

    Whole view of my installation artwork

  • The target audience is set for all the Hong Kong residents. They can interact with my artwork. Every audience would receive an arrow with a strip of paper. Audience can write they feeling on the Hong Kong culture or colonialism directly on the paper and cast it out. The most interesting point is the objects inside the balloons, that is Barbie. The aesthetic on body affected by Barbie is a great example to show the problem of colonialism. Therefore, the Barbie dolls can strongly represent the cultural colonial invasion of beauty standard. If the audiences can shot strongly and correctly, the balloon will burst and the waxed Barbie doll will surely drop down into the heating iron pot. All Barbie dolls inside the balloons is made by wax which can melting under heat, so it will melt and flow slowly in the middle of the plate according to the basin shape design of the plate and form a Chinese map eventually. This processes shows the theory of post-colonialism.

    Arrow

    A strip of paper for audience to write the personal feeling about the cultural of HK or colonialism

    The interaction process between the audience and the artwork

    Shoot the arrow strongly and correctly to break down the balloon

    Barbie is dropping down into the plate

    The iron plate is heating continuously

    The Barbie doll melt into the wax and flow in the middle of the plate

    The wax condense in the concave area of the iron plate Waxed

    Barbie Doll

    Balloons