Arts and Culture
After sharing a collective experience of occupation during the Umbrella Movement (UM), and public space has inevitably become a battlefield in civil movements, especially there are increasing signs of shrinking freedom of assembly, speech and press in Hong Kong. At the same time, the rights to public space in the city have been threatened by increasing municipal regulations and interdiction. Street performances, for example, are restricted in the name of public order or noise control. In the post-UM times, artists in Hong Kong have developed various tactics to engage the public through different kinds of participation. While some continue their socially engaged practices and working intensively with local communities, some develop projects to explore the forgotten parts in Hong Kong. In these social practices, artists have extended their focus from reclaiming public space in the past to enriching public sphere through various creative and performative means. In their socially engaged projects, artists create discursive spaces which not only facilitate dialogues and/or rational deliberation, but also enable emotional or affective exchange through aesthetic experiences. This paper traces this shift and study a few examples of socially engaged projects. Reflecting upon her own related experience, I also seek to investigate the possibilities and dilemmas of commoning practices of contemporary art.