Official Artist
Simon Birch
556,287 views| 168  Posts


Today I met some people at the exhibition to talk to them on the work and I caught myself telling them that I'm not sure building the show was worthwhile.

That's not like me at all normally, I'm usually very positive about it all. But I've been over-hassled all week with contractors threatening us, Swire giving me a $60k bill for cigarette burns in the carpet where people had been smoking at the opening party, contractors refusing to change broken lightbulbs unless we pay them more and on and on....

When I started the ball rolling on this whole thing it was with such a spirit of adventure and courage. I felt a wave of idealism and that this monster of an art project would only have positive repercussions...and not for me, more for Hong Kong, it's artists and cultural environment. And many people shared and collaborated in that energy, it felt like a crusade.

But lately, as I become more and more exhausted, I'm not so sure. The government people monitor us constantly but only from a numbers point of view. They don't seem to be bothered about the content of the work or the reaction of people....just how many people. It's quite dis-heartening. They genuinely will hold back any funding unless enough people come to the show (bear in mind we have  only 2 months in the venue  including the building and dismantling of the show). They also don't offer any help in promoting the show.

I guess the story of the show really has matched the concept of the show, the hero-myth, triumph over adversity. The story isn't over yet so we still have hurdles to cross, enemies to vanquish and victories to achieve. I'm sure in retrospect this will all add up to be a fascinating journey. And as with any other hero-myth, you have to go through the dark stuff to get to the good stuff. Bizarrely we actually have real villains on our story. An assistant who caused untold damage, production people who abandoned us when we needed them the most, production people that screwed us financially....the list goes on.

Out biggest problem though is PR. I realise that in HK we don't have a great cultural communication system at all. People just don't know the show is on because they're just not looking for art, they're just not used to seeing art, it's not on most peoples radar and we don't have any money for some massive ad campaign. There's no art press, little review, criticism or enthusiasm from the people (outside of the small cultural circle of informed people that take a more active interest).

There is though a growing movement of art hungry people and they come again and again and spend hours in the exhibition. Hopefully the power of these few will bring more and more.

But the real possibility is, unfortunately, that if not enough people come, the government will consider the show a failure, and that will be the end of it. A huge setback for the future of art in HK as they will be less inclined to fund art projects in future. This was our one chance to make an impact but without the support of the people it will be wasted.

Well, at least I tried but I'd say that will be the end of my efforts in this city to do something on this kind of scale. I'll look for opportunities elsewhere in future.

However, you can change my mind! Anyone reading this has an obligation and a lot of power. If you are one of the 500 people a day that have been to the exhibition you can pay back the thousands of man hours, millions of dollars we put into this thing for your benefit. And any of the 2000 people that drank the free vodka we gave you at the opening, come again, bring 10 people with you, you owe us that.

We made this show for you, make the most of it.

Tell everyone about Hope and Glory. Pay it forward.

If you come to the show with 2 people, and they then do the same, and on and on, then we would make up the numbers, the show would be deemed a success, and everyone benefits.

So help me out here. Please. Spread the word. The show is on until May 30th, 7 days. 10am-8pm. Free entry.

To those who have already been and supported, thank you very very much! I've seen people recommending the show on facebook, posting photos, some excellent press coverage, so I'm very grateful for all of that.

The reaction to the show from the audience has been amazing. People seem genuinely moved and engaged by it all.


about 14 years ago 0 likes  0 comment  0 shares


Learn More

Languages Spoken
Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Member Since
September 27, 2007