(May 7th)Presentation by Chunchun Ting: Social Movement, Art, and the Contestation of Urban Space

Art and Politics of East Asia Presents:

Social Movement, Art, and the Contestation of Urban Space

– Rethinking Hong Kong’s Capitalism and Postcoloniality

(Please click here to read the paper)

Chunchun Ting

(PhD Candidate, East Asia Languages and Civilizations)

May 7 (Friday)

3:00-5:00 p.m.

Judd Hall 313

5835 South Kimbark Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637


This paper focuses on the social movement in pursuit of preserving Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier and Queen’s Pier in situ in 2006 and 2007. Looking closely at the political actions, discourses, and artistic expressions that took place at the two piers, I examine the movement’s challenge against Hong Kong’s deeply entrenched developmentalist ideology and the narrative of the Hong Kong people as an “economic animal”. On the one hand, the movement brought class analysis back in the discussion of urban planning, and, in calling for the working class’s right to the city, provoked a more general rethinking on capitalism and the questions of alienation and social justice. On the other hand, by re-articulating a marginalized history of political activism, it contested the colonial nature in official historiography, and set out to redefine the Hong Kong subject as political engaged. In this way, the movement contended that cultural preservation was not about the nostalgia for a bygone past, but the safe-keeping of history as a critical resource for the active re-imagining of a different future. Through a detailed reading of two live art performances and a poem titled “The Ballad of Queen’s Pier”, I also suggest that art does not only inform social movement but also becomes social action. If the commodification of space involves the abstraction and homogenization of space, art has a particular role to play in reopening space for the creation of diverse experience, multiple temporalities and spatialities, heterogeneous textuality and imagination, and thus reversing the process of commodification. And it is in this sense that esthetics becomes political at the two piers.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive workshop updates, please contact jiyoung22@uchicago.edu

Faculty sponsors: Michael Bourdaghs, Paola Iovene

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Ji Young Kim (jiyoung22@uchicago.edu) or Ling Zhang (ling1@uchicago.edu)


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