This exhibition gathers metaphorical and poetic works that reveal the relationships between human behaviour and architecture. Au Shek Yan’s video examines the possibilities for intimacy and affect within micro-living spaces in Hong Kong. Vlad Nancǎ’s birdcage sculpture comments on the standardisation of Communist apartment blocks in Romania and its impact on residents, tasked with engineering a new society. And So Wai Lam’s drawings navigate the daily rituals of a fictional esquisofrenic city, portraying inhabitants’ domestic activities, workplace dynamics, social structures, neuroses, and sleeping habits. Her work and the exhibition as a whole address how these common experiences are triggered by an architecture where the body is arrested.
The urban planning of the Chai Wan district of Hong Kong symbolises the 20th century Utopian ideal of modern living and working. It is the site of one of the most extensive housing developments in the city, erected next to one of its largest industrial centres. Both areas border the hospital—an architectural milestone of hygienic modernity—and the cemetery, the place where one’s human activity concludes.
Neptune Terrace is the name of one of these housing estates, built in the late 1970’s on the hills below the Pamela Youde Nethersole hospital in Chai Wan, with an architectural style reminiscent of a Utopian-garden-city. Inside its walls, it is a classic example of Hong Kong’s hyper compartmentalisation, a site where the limitations of both space and privacy produce a “confinement of the self’.