Music in 1967

Duratrans, LED steel lightbox, engraving on acrylic, 2016



Music in 1967 is a series of works combining found photos and text about the year 1967.

It is the year of riots in Hong Kong, beginning with a series of labour disputes and escalating to anti-colonial protests and serious violence, largely mobilized by the Struggle Committee which was mainly organized by the leftists with sorts of endorsement from mainland China. Once, more than 100 bombs were found in one day and more than 20 were real. From May to Nov 1967, more than 50 were killed and some were kids. In today’s terms for public security, it would be called terrorism.

At one point in the beginning, shortly after revolutionary slogans and songs were broadcasted from the Bank of China Building, the Hong Kong government set up military speakers just a block away to play loud western Jazz and pop music, including songs by The Beatles to counter the communist propaganda.

I found some amateur photos taken at the time, showing almost no traces of any protest. I superimposed these images with the texts I collected from the media describing things or news about the disturbance. It is a project about parallel times, but also the divide (that is almost an irony) between personal and collective memories. This project to me as a grown-up adult represents a reflection of what is going on in Hong Kong today, since I was still in mom’s belly in 1967. It is a project before my memory, of the time when I was already conceived.

The works are more sculptural as they were made with different layers of physical elements (light box, photo, engraving…). The images were not manipulated, as it is important to keep these different elements juxtaposed but not merged. The light box is made in the shape of a wedge with frosted Plexiglas. So the image looks blurry on one side but is actually sharp.

Perhaps I can also add: it is the ambivalence, that could subvert our stereotypes of history, that is also erased, manipulated and re-moulded time and again, according to the new agenda. It could be humour, which is caused by misperception, easing our anxiety. Or it’s like music made of absurdity. Each work sounds like a song with a jammed melody.