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Old January 10th, 2009, 04:26 PM   #481
SilentStrike
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where are some pictures of the designs?
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Old January 10th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #482
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Originally Posted by SilentStrike View Post
where are some pictures of the designs?
It's back to the drawing board so the new designs are not out yet.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #483
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Foster to offer ideas on arts hub despite canopy's rejection
14 January 2009
South China Morning Post

Star architect Lord Foster will offer design ideas for the West Kowloon arts hub despite the decision to scrap his canopy concept for the site, which won an international design competition for the project seven years ago.

Another star in the field, Rocco Yim Sen-kee, would also submit a design, a source from the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority said.

Yim's concept for the new government complex on the Tamar site at Admiralty, dubbed "The Door", was picked for that project in 2007, and his concept for West Kowloon earned an honourable mention in the 2002 contest.

The source said both were among the 12 architects shortlisted by the authority for the role of conceptual consultant.

Lord Rogers, designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry, architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, are also on the shortlist.

The 12 were chosen from 40 architects who responded to the government's invitation in November for expressions of interest in the project. They are understood to be working with local partners to ensure their design ideas have a Hong Kong perspective.

Philip Liao Yi-kang, who came second to Lord Foster seven years ago, has expressed interest in designing the arts hub, but it could not be confirmed whether his name is on the shortlist.

The Home Affairs Bureau said the authority had shortlisted 12 conceptual consultants and four development consultants from the 40 firms which initially expressed interest in designing and planning the complex on the West Kowloon reclamation.

Sources said the four development consultants were Arup, Gensler-Hyder, Maunsell-Aedas and Motts-Terry Farrell, which have strong international experience in planning and engineering matters.

According to the authority, the 12 architects will, at this stage, offer only technical advice and cost analyses. Three will be selected to draw up concept plans for public consultation, which will be held this spring.

A development consultant will be picked from the four shortlisted to advise the authority on how to build the design which is finally selected.

Patrick Lau Sau-shing, the lawmaker representing architects, said the authority should release designs from all 12 shortlisted architects to give the public more choice.

But the authority's project director, Augustine Ng Wah-keung, said the 12 shortlisted firms were being asked to offer technical advice and costings, not draw up plans.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 04:02 PM   #484
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Funnyman Jim Chim is serious on culture
19 January 2009
Hong Kong Standard

Laughter is his trade, but when it comes to the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, comedian Jim Chim Sui-man is dead serious.

His appointment, and that of Cantonese Opera heavyweight Elizabeth Wang Ming-chun, to the authority's performing arts committee raised eyebrows in some quarters.

``Whatever people say, I will speak out when I need to speak out,'' Chim said. ``For example, if there is a proposal to build a vineyard or a winery in the WKCD, then I will certainly oppose it.''

Chim said many authority committee members mean well but are not very familiar with the subject.

He said that, as a member of the WKCD consultative committee two years ago, a number of principles such as the core facilities were discussed so further discussion now is a waste of time.

He also questioned the appropriateness of the discussion agenda of the performing arts committee.

``We were asked to discuss what cultural programs should be planned for 2009 to 2010 to enhance the public's awareness towards the development of the WKCD. However, we should be focusing instead on something more long-term, such as education,'' Chim said.

While it is important to have some business people to talk about financing, it is essential to discuss artistic direction within the committee, Chim said.

Chim is the artistic director of PIP Cultural Industries. There are also several other art groups' directors on the committee including City Contemporary Dance Company artistic director Willy Tso Sing-yuen, Fringe director Benny Chia Chun-heng and Hong Kong Philharmonic Society artistic consultant Timothy Calnin.

``The government has not made full use of us,'' Chim said, adding that while some government officials have a heart for culture they do not know what it is all about.

``A cultural policy should facilitate artists and not limit them. We work for arts and not for policy. Culture and the cultural industry are two different things. You can build up a Jim Chim with a play but if you want to build something like PIP you cannot solely rely on just a piece of work,'' he said.

``Only when art groups can survive without government financial support can say a cultural industry has been successfully developed.''

PIP has been self-financing since April last year, when it renounced government funding. He said his company has so far managed to break even.

``I will probably hold a press conference on March 31 to commemorate one year without government support. We can set an example for others.''
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #485
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Talks bring new hope for survival of city's only permanent Cantonese opera venue
17 January 2009
South China Morning Post

After weeks of uncertainty and gloom, a ray of hope has appeared on the horizon for the Sunbeam Theatre, Hong Kong Island's popular Cantonese opera venue.

The landlord is said to have agreed to extend the North Point venue's lease, which expires next month, to 2012, but the rent is still being negotiated. The progress comes after weeks of talks between Home Affairs Bureau officials and the landlord.

Civic Party legislator and conservationist Tanya Chan, who met landlord Law Sau-fai yesterday, said Mr Law had expressed a willingness to extend the tenancy for three years.

"We believe it is good news. But it is not the end of the story. The government still needs to work out a long-term policy and plan to support the development of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong," Ms Chan said.

"Otherwise, there will be another round of difficult negotiation with the landlord after three years."

The theatre, which opened in 1972, is facing closure because of a big increase in rent. Earlier, the government planned to increase subsidies to the opera groups using the theatre while negotiating a rent they could afford.

The rent at present is HK$200,000 a month but the landlord had asked for HK$800,000 after the tenancy expires. The market rent was estimated to be about HK$400,000, according to a previous estimate.

The government has wanted to keep the venue open until an alternative is available. That alternative is slated to be a Cantonese opera centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District. But that would not be available before 2016. The government also plans to build an extension to the Ko Shan Theatre in Hung Hom by 2012.

There are also plans to convert the Yau Ma Tei Theatre - a grade two historic building - into a Cantonese opera training centre. But the 300-seat venue would be too small for staging performances.

A bureau spokesman said last night a deal had not been finalised but: "The government was thankful to the landlord. And it is hoped the discussion with the landlord could produce fruitful results."

The Sunbeam Theatre first faced closure in 2005 when the landlord wanted to turn the site into a shopping mall. But Mr Law changed his mind after strong lobbying from the Cantonese opera sector.

Veteran peformer and Cantonese Opera Advisory Committee member Leung Hon-wai said last night he expected a formal announcement by the government soon.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #486
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By keith=bus from a Hong Kong discussion forum :














[
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:32 PM   #487
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ICC looks so good from this side.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 04:29 AM   #488
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Star architect Lord Foster will offer design ideas for the West Kowloon arts hub despite the decision to scrap his canopy concept for the site, which won an international design competition for the project seven years ago.

Another star in the field, Rocco Yim Sen-kee, would also submit a design, a source from the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority said.

The source said both were among the 12 architects shortlisted by the authority for the role of conceptual consultant.

Lord Rogers, designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry, architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, are also on the shortlist.

Philip Liao Yi-kang, who came second to Lord Foster seven years ago, has expressed interest in designing the arts hub, but it could not be confirmed whether his name is on the shortlist.

According to the authority, the 12 architects will, at this stage, offer only technical advice and cost analyses. Three will be selected to draw up concept plans for public consultation, which will be held this spring.

A development consultant will be picked from the four shortlisted to advise the authority on how to build the design which is finally selected.
So we will finally see the new proposals this spring. Thanks for posting all the articles hkskyline! Hopefully, the 2nd go-round to this project will succeed.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 03:54 AM   #489
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Museum picture of success painted on several levels
2 February 2009
Hong Kong Standard

The government has a leading role to play if Hong Kong wants to promote an art museum globally, avant-garde curator Yuko Hasegawa says.

Hasegawa, regarded as the soul of Japan's 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, told The Standard that a museum must be promoted on several levels _ city, regional and international _ to be acclaimed.

Hasegawa is confident Hong Kong people will appreciate contemporary art in the M+ museum when it opens.

She said at one time people in Kanazawa only knew about Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, and their ideas about exhibits were confined to paintings.

Nevertheless, the museum has been successful in featuring installation art mainly through the efforts of international artists commissioned by Hasegawa.

These include Argentine Leandro Erlich, whose Swimming Pool is among one of the most sought- after pieces.

On the regional level, she said, Hong Kong should see Shenzhen as its market too. ``But the West Kowloon cultural district should not be seen as a Disneyland. People in the region have to be cultivated through education to appreciate it.'' On the international level, Hasegawa said the government plays a major role through cultural diplomacy.

``Hong Kong has an unique background as part of China. It should make use of such a status to take part in Asian cultural activities.''

The international arena includes cultural tourism.

``Hong Kong has the uniqueness of hybridity between eastern and western cultures which many places do not possess,'' Hasegawa noted.

She cited Abu Dhabi, where a Guggenheim museum will be built, saying that Hong Kong people should be paying more attention to western art than people in the Middle East.

``Also, I think the Kanazawa museum can be promoted better should some art critics write more about it in influential international media,'' Hasegawa said.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 06:17 AM   #490
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I started reading this thread a few days ago and am about 80% through EVERYTHING. hkskyline and hkth, thank you both for posting so much relevant info!

However, I noticed that in hkskyline's reconstruction of the thread, there is a huge gap between April 2005 and Feb 2006...which wouldn't matter so much except for that this was the CRUCIAL period when the project first faltered.

Is there a way to find the articles from this period without having to download them all from the SCMP website?
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #491
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Tuesday May 31 2005

Cultural complex causes controversy

C.K. Lau

The West Kowloon cultural complex looks set to be a major issue on which Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's every word and action will be closely scrutinised.

The project is about giving a big chunk of prime water-front land to a private investor, who is required to use profits generated from property developments to build a cluster of art and entertainment venues, operate them for 30 years and then return them to the government.

Critics regard the government's decision to award the mega project to a single consortium - instead of splitting it into smaller works to allow a broader participation of investors - as a ploy to use culture as a cover to give the preferred developers a large chunk of land.

For its decision to go with the single-developer approach, the Tung Chee-hwa administration was branded as one that colluded with big business. As the government's chief steward for the project, Mr Tsang was castigated for allegedly using it to boost his candidacy for the post of chief executive.

This is because the consortium widely tipped to win the bidding is a joint venture between Hong Kong's two biggest developers, Cheung Kong and Sun Hung Kai, who wield considerable influence on the 800-member Election Committee that returns the chief executive.

Mr Tsang has not revealed if he might handle the project differently on becoming chief executive.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #492
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Tuesday May 31 2005

Exile in the park


Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art director Oscar Ho says he can do more on the mainland than he could in Hong Kong, writes Clarence Tsui

THE SEPTEMBER LAUNCH of the Museum of Contemporary Art (Moca) promises to be a glitzy finale to the French Cultural Year in China, with a show by leading French performers, a Pierre et Gilles retrospective, a garden soiree and fireworks.

Unfortunately, most Hongkongers won't get to see any of this - even though the museum is being funded by local jade dealer Samuel Kung Ming-kwong and organised by Oscar Ho Hing-kay, one of the city's most experienced curators. Why? Because the museum - one of China's few specialist modern-art institutions - is in Shanghai.

'It's sad,' says Ho, who is Moca's director and a former Hong Kong Arts Centre exhibition director. 'But all the things I wanted to do in Hong Kong, I can do now in Shanghai.'

Moca occupies more than 43,000sqft - half of which will be gallery space - of what was once a greenhouse in People's Park. It's a prime location, surrounded by the government headquarters, the Shanghai Grand Theatre and the more traditional Shanghai Art Museum. And there's a buzz about Shanghai. 'I tried to get Pierre et Gilles to Hong Kong twice while I was working there, but it didn't work out,' says Ho. But it's a different story in Shanghai. Many overseas artists are now keen to establish a presence amid the mainland's burgeoning art market, and Moca promises to be a hip base.

'Back in the 1990s, artists would consider a brief stint on the mainland while on the way to Hong Kong. Now, it's the opposite. Hong Kong is just somewhere they pass through.'

Ho says several well-known foreigners, including German installation artist Rebecca Horn, have expressed interest in working with Moca.

'Italy will host a cultural year in China next year, and a lot of Italian artists have been in talks with us,' Ho says. 'And Germany will be here in 2008.'

Moca is part of the mainland's aggressive cultural makeover. Shanghai, alone, is due to open its 100th museum this year - fulfilling a five-year plan set by city authorities in 2000.

Ho says more will be built within the next seven years. He says professional museum managers are still scarce on the mainland, but says the standard will soon rival Hong Kong - if not other parts of the world. There are ambitious plans to recruit fresh graduates, and send them overseas for training. In the meantime, Ho will play a leading role in bringing modern art and contemporary curatorial skills to Shanghai. It's quite a challenge.

With strong financial backing from Shanghai-born Kung, the museum is independent of the mainland's official cultural network. Moca will have to pay rent to the authorities and generate its own revenue. Its operating budget is expected to be about 10 million yuan a year.

'We want to run the museum as professionally as we can to set an example,' says Ho, who will recruit his 80-strong staff from Shanghai.

Ho says independent museums are the only way to achieve a cultural renaissance on the mainland. The flexibility with which Moca operates is crucial when competing in a global art marketplace that's forever in pursuit of the latest trend or enfant terrible. Excessive red tape - or what Ho calls 'bureaucratic censorship', and which he says is prevalent in Hong Kong's enclosed system of government-run museums - hampers the ability of institutions to adapt.

Ho says he's less concerned about political censorship, which appears to be easing. 'We're now engaged in a process of negotiation,' he says. 'We have to make officials comfortable and let them know that contemporary art isn't that terrifying.'

The 48-year-old says Moca won't focus on blockbuster shows. It's interested in 'providing an alternative - an established non-profit channel to promote contemporary art in the mainland, especially from the peripherals'.

The museum plans to display and collect innovative work from throughout China, as well as overseas. 'Shanghai is quite eager to take up an international scope in terms of art,' Ho says. 'I don't feel that they're as narrow-minded as to want Moca to tackle only Shanghai-related material. We have an obligation to go beyond Shanghai.'

Hong Kong cultural impresarios lack such an ambition, Ho says. His excitement about Moca is laced with bitterness that his vision couldn't be realised in his home city. He says he sees himself as an exile in Shanghai. Specifically, he is frustrated at the Hong Kong government's belittling of the Culture and Heritage Commission's proposals two years ago to return control of museums to professionals from the bureaucrats.

'When the government killed off the municipal councils [in 1999], officials said that they would corporatise the museums,' says Ho, who worked for two years as a researcher for the now-defunct commission after leaving the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2001.

'It's now 2005 and what have they done? Shanghai, however, moves really fast. They're very ambitious. People say that they're bureaucratic in the mainland, but you can't imagine how much they trust us professionals, whereas Hong Kong's bureaucrats only trust professionals who are friendly with them.'

The West Kowloon fracas convinced Ho that 'everything is hopeless' in Hong Kong. He says many of his peers have also headed for the mainland and its 'outrageous level of opportunities'.

Among others, retired Hong Kong Heritage Museum curator Yim Shui-yuen is now a consultant to the revamped Capital Museum in Beijing, and Tseng Sun-man, the former secretary-general at the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and general manager for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, is now director of administration at Shantou University.

Such a brain drain, compounded by a lack of opportunities for young hopefuls, is likely to undercut Hong Kong's status as a beacon of creativity among Chinese cities. 'When West Kowloon finally opens, we might have to import curators from the mainland,' Ho says.

But not everyone is convinced about Ho's dire predictions. Christina Chu Kam-luen, chief curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, says that, in terms of 'resources, support services, networks and salaries, the gap is far too great' for mainland museums to overtake Hong Kong at the moment.

'The adequacy in hardware and in professionalism is important - and in terms of professional standards few mainland museums could rival the Hong Kong Museum of Art,' she says.

Chu says she welcomes 'a blossom of different flowers' among museums in China, but has concerns about slipping standards on the mainland, as cities compete to build museums. 'The energy being shown is to be encouraged - but if quantity is used as a benchmark, then the quality will be sacrificed,' she says.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #493
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Friday June 3 2005

Single-developer plan for culture hub to be dumped


Dennis Eng

The controversial single-developer approach for the West Kowloon cultural district looks set to be scrapped, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said last night.

'Ordinary people would realise now that if the project is to go ahead, and if we don't want to start from scratch again, then there is no way we can insist on a single-bidder approach,' he said.

'The single-bidder approach is not a mandatory requirement for the project. But the canopy must not be changed, because this is an integral part of the project,' he said at a briefing with senior editors.

Earlier, Mr Tsang momentarily lost his characteristic cool and fired back at critics accusing the government of colluding with big business over the Cyberport and West Kowloon cultural hub projects, warning detractors not to assume that corporate profits mean under-the-table deals were made.

'How can you call the West Kowloon project a case of collusion when we are still at the consultation stage?' the candidate for chief executive asked.

'If you believe collusion is just about making a profit, you are sorely mistaken.'

Mr Tsang, evidently keen to avoid being drawn into a protracted debate, also admonished critics who continue to hammer away at the government's handling of controversial developments. He said the government had invested in several key infrastructure projects, including Hong Kong Disneyland, which attracted significantly less public debate.

'Before we can address the issue of collusion, we need to first define it,' he said. 'We should be rational because collusion is not just about making a profit. Collusion is when you give something to someone and prevent someone else from having it.'

Mr Tsang highlighted his government's priority of upholding the principles of 'big market, small government' and 'market leads, government facilitates'.

Specifically, he said that if elected he would focus on maximising Hong Kong's role as both 'Asia's World City' and as the gateway to the mainland.

Mr Tsang enthused that the coming two years would see his government further capitalise on Hong Kong's investment and economic relationship with the pan-Pearl River Delta region as well as with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

He added that he would consider taxing the public less if the economy continued to report growth.

As such, the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, the individual travel scheme and renminbi financial services would be expanded and priority would be given to job creation, tourism infrastructure and opportunities for small businesses.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #494
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Tuesday June 7 2005

Plan for $4.8b Tamar project to be revived


Gary Cheung and Amy Ling

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen aims to put the plan to build a new government headquarters and Legislative Council building on the Tamar site back on the agenda after his expected election as chief executive.

He told more than a dozen Election Committee members from the engineering sector yesterday he intended to relaunch the shelved $4.85 billion project.

Speaking after a one-hour meeting with Mr Tsang, Patrick Lau Sau-shing, the legislator representing the architectural, surveying and planning sector, said the former chief secretary raised the idea of reviving the project on the 4.2-hectare site on his own initiative.

'He mentioned the project in response to our call for speeding up public works to create more job opportunities in the architectural and engineering sectors.

'Mr Tsang told us he has been in favour of building the new government headquarters and the Legco building on the Tamar site,' Professor Lau said.

But the professor said Mr Tsang did not spell out the timetable for launching the project.

In November 2003, the government deferred the project indefinitely due to constraints imposed by the budget deficit.

Director of Administration Andrew Wong Ho-yuen said at the time there was no pressing need for the government to build a new headquarters in light of the financial situation.

Other infrastructure projects had a higher priority, Mr Wong said.

Professor Lau also quoted Mr Tsang as saying it was not a 'must' for the West Kowloon Cultural District project to adopt a single-developer approach.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #495
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Wednesday June 8 2005

Stanley Ho rails against cultural hub station plan

Freda Wan in Macau and Chloe Lai

The government plans to locate a cross-border railway station in the West Kowloon cultural hub, business tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun has revealed.

Mr Ho, chairman of the Real Estate Developers' Association, spoke against the plan yesterday, pointing out that it meant the 40-hectare site would have less land available for property development.

'I have received news that the government wants to put the station in West Kowloon. This is not very good,' Mr Ho said.

'The giant canopy is already very big - covering 55 per cent of the site - which means only 45 per cent of the land will be left open for development. If there is also a train station, not much land will be left over.'

The station plan was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau yesterday. She said the government is considering building the terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at the cultural hub.

She said the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation had been asked to study the details, but added that no decision had been made so far.

It is the second time in less than two weeks that Mr Ho, a casino mogul, has heralded unannounced government decisions.

He said late last month that chief executive contender Donald Tsang Yam-kuen had decided to open the cultural hub project to more than one property developer. That news was confirmed last week by Mr Tsang, who said the single-bidding approach would be scrapped.

Mr Ho said yesterday: 'If the people of Hong Kong want the cultural hub, I will give it my support. Hong Kong needs world-class arts and cultural activities. The site is worth more than $200 billion: how can we hand a $200-billion site to one or two developers?'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #496
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Thursday June 9 2005

KCRC not keen on arts hub terminus


Elaine Wu

Rail operator is believed to favour the cheaper option of a cross-border express link ending at Kam Tin

KCRC officials appear to be leaning towards Kam Tin over West Kowloon as the site for the terminus of a planned cross-border express.

The Kam Tin option would be cheaper because it would require less track in Hong Kong and would increase the number of passengers on the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's underused West Rail, a source said.

The railway operator is still studying the feasibility of the line, which would link Hong Kong to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Transport officials earlier asked the KCRC to consider connecting the regional line to West Rail at the Kam Sheung Road station in Kam Tin, or to the proposed Kowloon Southern Link that would join West Rail and East Rail through West Kowloon - with the terminus in the West Kowloon Cultural District.

A KCRC spokeswoman confirmed both Kam Sheung Road and West Kowloon were being considered as terminus stations, but said a consensus had yet to be reached.

Stanley Ho Hung-sun, chairman of the Real Estate Developers' Association, spoke out on Tuesday against using the West Kowloon site, saying it would leave less land available for building flats.

West Kowloon is a planned station on the southern link, which would connect Tsim Sha Tsui East to Nam Cheong.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the public works subcommittee yesterday approved funding for conceptual design work on the proposed bridge linking Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macau.

Transport officials will now take their request for $26.8 million to the Finance Committee.

They said advance technical studies were to start in July and the conceptual design study to start in September.

The studies will be completed in June 2006.

The conceptual design will be based on the northernmost option of three proposed routes.

Experts from the three jurisdictions had concluded that option would create the least environmental impact.

But local district councillors have opposed that route and have indicated they favour a southern option to allow a new road to be built to Tai O.

Lawmakers once again raised concerns yesterday over the proposed public-private partnership to build the bridge.

They are concerned that a private bridge operator will not make public interest a priority and care only about profits.

Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung promised lawmakers the government would study previous public-private partnerships on the mainland and in Hong Kong, and avoid any mistakes that had been made in the past.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:47 AM   #497
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Tuesday June 14 2005

Swiss timing

In a bid to promote the region, Hong Kong's arts archive is taking the unusual step of setting up shop at an international arts festival, writes Kevin Kwong

AT THIS WEEK'S Art Basel show in Switzerland, the executive director of Asia Art Archive (AAA), Claire Hsu, and her colleagues from around the region will be doing what archivists seldom do: promoting the art they collect and document.

The four-year-old body, which receives an annual grant of $700,000 from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, was invited by the so-called Olympics of the art world to attend its non-commercial section called Art Unlimited.

Unlike most archives that statically collect, catalogue and preserve information and material, the AAA also plays a role in what its mission statement describes as 'the active generating of knowledge and awareness'.

'We believe that in an age of the museum, where exhibitions and events are often spectacular, and anything short of this will not attract an audience, archives must also change their strategy to draw attention and make use of their collections,' it says.

'For a 'contemporary' archive to exist, dynamism is vital, and it's for this reason that our activities are accompanied by programmes and events. The traditional purpose of the archive, originating in ancient Greece, as paper foundations that form the administrative basis of democracy, is no longer relevant.'

According to Hsu - who founded AAA after realising there was a lack of documentation on modern or contemporary Asian art while researching her masters dissertation in London on contemporary Chinese art - the invitation to this European art market is a clear indication that the work is being recognised.

This Saturday, she'll sit on a panel - alongside Chang Yungho, principal architect of Atelier FCJZ; Wang Huangsheng, director of Guangdong Museum of Art; Paris-based curator Hou Hanru; and collectors Uli Sigg and Guan Yi - to discuss the Future of the Museum: Profile China. Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, will preside over the exchange.

It's a topic Hsu feels strongly about. In her 10-minute talk, she'll present the pros and cons of local museums and the controversial West Kowloon Cultural District.

'I need to present [my topic] within the Asian context,' she says. 'This whole mad race and rush among cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore towards being Asia's first cultural gateway and capital. And the whole line the government is taking towards building cultural facilities. I don't think it will, or should, go through as it is.'

In its invitation for proposals to develop West Kowloon, the government said that the core facilities should include 'a cluster of four museums at least 75,000 square metres in size'.

'I don't believe Hong Kong is a cultural desert,' Hsu says. 'But everyone seems to believe it. But I don't believe that the solution to turning the desert into an oasis is to build masses of buildings without thinking about the content.

'The content is so important. I think a small museum with incredible curatorial focus and collection makes a bigger splash than four empty Bilbaos. They're just too big.'

She says it's ridiculous that the proposed four museums are three or four times bigger than Bilbao Guggenheim, 'which takes a good five to six hours to go through'. She doesn't think much of putting all the cultural venues together, either. 'It becomes a theme park or Disneyland.' However, Hsu says it's good that the government wants to build museums because Hong Kong needs them - especially one for contemporary art.

In April, the AAA presented its first workshop in Asia, bringing together art professionals from around the world to examine issues of archiving, documentation, preservation and knowledge management. A series of talks was open to the public.

Next month, it will publish its first extensive research projection: a bilingual monograph on the work of Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan. Before then, the AAA will be busy attending and documenting the 51st Venice Biennale and Art Basel.

Six short documentary-style videos will be shown at the AAA booth throughout this week, providing visitors with information about Asian art through interviews with artists, commentators and academics in Beijing, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo.

One features Hong Kong artist Ho Siu-kee, who is artist-in-residence at the Taipei International Artist Village, and Japanese artist Suzuki Takahiko talking about the art scene in Taiwan.

Hsu says her organisation is small and it's not possible for it to present a full picture of the contemporary art scene in Asia to the western world - it has never intended to do that anyway.

'We are showing a glimpse into the Asian contemporary art and that's it,' Hsu says. 'But it's a first step. That's why we're at Art Basel. An archive usually wouldn't attend an art fair.'

'We want to be extremely practical in our approach and work.'
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #498
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Thursday June 16 2005

$9m for park that may be rubble in 2 years


Benjamin Wong

Plans for a $9 million, 12,000 square metre waterfront park that could have a life of less than two years were unveiled yesterday, to praise from a government adviser on harbourfront improvements.

The park will include a 400-metre Avenue of the People, where people will be encouraged to leave their handprints and signatures, much as celebrities do on the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui. Another feature is a 1km path lit by giant lanterns, which artists and the public will have a hand in painting.

Vincent Ng Wing-shun, chairman of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, praised the proposals for integrating environmental protection with public involvement. But the park will last only until work starts on the West Kowloon Cultural District, now pencilled in for April 2007.

The plans were submitted to the committee's subcommittee on the Harbour Plan Review.

The brains behind the project is Raymond Fung Wing-kee, a senior architect in the Architectural Services Department. He said exact arrangements for the handprint idea in the Avenue of the People had yet to be worked out.

'The design will be consistent with the themes of visual and performing arts of the West Kowloon Cultural District,' he said.

The promenade will also feature areas of greenery and a seaside viewing deck combining alfresco dining, a children's play area and shops, similar to the waterfront near Sai Kung pier.

Many of the objects used in the park, such as benches, will be discarded items from other parks, Mr Fung said, since there was no point putting new equipment in a temporary park.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #499
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Saturday June 18 2005

Will Tsang heed the public? Watch this space

At last, a waterfront park at the prime West Kowloon site is about to become a reality. The Architectural Services Department on Wednesday submitted to the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee plans to create a 12,000-square-metre stretch of green space on the tip of the reclaimed land which is to be transformed into the West Kowloon Cultural District. It would be a welcome oasis in our overbuilt city.

The proposed park will include a viewing deck along the shore, children's playground and alfresco dining areas. There will also be two novel walkways. Along a 400-metre Avenue of the People, ordinary Hongkongers will be able to pretend that they are celebrities by placing their handprints and signatures in the pavement, as on Tsim Sha Tsui's Avenue of the Stars. Another 1km path will feature columns of giant painted lanterns.

Alas, the park, which will cost $9 million, will not be permanent. It is meant to give people access to the waterfront area only until construction of the cultural district begins in earnest in April 2007.

It is no doubt better to make use of this incomparable site for public good, even if only for two years, than to block it off. But apart from the wastefulness of tearing it all up so soon, the simple, wide-open design of this temporary park will prompt many people to question the wisdom of packing the area with elaborate and expensive man-made edifices.

True, all three tenders accepted for the 40-hectare West Kowloon project envision lots of parks of various sizes. Museums, theatres and other venues are planned. But developers also have their eye on the profit-making potential of the prime office and apartment buildings that will rise up alongside the cultural complexes.

So when the extended public consultation exercise on the project wraps up at the end of this month, debate about the right mix between its open public spaces and built-up commercial elements is sure to be reignited. Forging a community-wide consensus on the cultural hub's final shape could well become the first major challenge for the new government headed by Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

That would be appropriate in more ways than one. It is no exaggeration to say that the West Kowloon project will determine Hong Kong's cultural future, as well as define its civic identity, for decades to come. The opportunity to turn Hong Kong into the region's artistic mecca, in addition to being its financial hub, would be a dream mission for any ambitious leader. And if he can leave behind a municipal heritage that Hongkongers can be proud of for generations, that would be the ultimate bonus for a job well done.

As the government's point man on the cultural hub, Mr Tsang is already closely identified with it. His handling of the enterprise so far, though, has been less than impressive. He stubbornly defended the government's initial decision to allow a single property developer to build and run the project. His explanations for the merits of this approach - and the necessity of an enormous glass canopy - were, at times, more confrontational than convincing. In future, he will need to do a better job of dispelling the public's suspicion that the government and big business may be colluding to forge a sweetheart deal - a perception which still casts a shadow over Cyberport.

During his election campaigning, Mr Tsang tried to project the image of a leader who will engage and listen to the people. While he managed to keep his popularity high, the jury is still out on how sincere he will be. His detractors say Mr Tsang remains as arrogant and elitist as ever.

When it comes to the West Kowloon project, nothing is more important than to genuinely take into account the wishes of the people. The cultural hub is Hong Kong's best and perhaps last chance to create a great public space for the benefit of all. We hope the new chief executive will consider the people's desire for more open spaces with an open mind.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #500
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Tuesday June 28 2005

The weak in politics

The East Wing West Wing crew are back on the boards, still inspired by the goings-on that pass for culture and politics in Hong Kong, writes Carrie Chan

THERE MAY BE flagging interest in the West Kowloon Cultural District at the moment, but that has not stopped a musical political satire awash with criticisms of the controversial project from enjoying success at the box office.

The East Wing West Wing 4 - West Kowloon Side Story was first shown in April and satirises then-chief secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's handling of the cultural project.

It is the fourth in the East Wing West Wing series, which has been attracting the crowds - more than 30,000, in fact - since 2003. At the end of its latest run in August, the series will have seen the curtain rise more than 90 times. Many senior government and political figures - including Tsang, now chief executive - have been caught chuckling in the audience.

Next month, Zuni Icosahedron will restage West Kowloon Side Story, co-directed and written by Edward Lam Yick-wah and Mathias Woo Yan-wai.

Lam thinks the East Wing West Wing series has endured because it is a social and political barometer.

In April 2003, at the height of the Sars outbreak and discontent with the administration, 2046 CE Bye Bye detailed 'nine big sins' of the then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. The show returned four months later with Reloaded, to consider university students' attitudes to their social responsibilities.

The third instalment Mic On!! Mic Off!! last September unleashed criticism against the Hong Kong media, using Commercial Radio's ousting of Albert Cheng King-hon as a springboard.

Then came West Kowloon, first shown in April.

Lam says that unlike most local theatre productions, the East Wing West Wing series is enjoying a long run similar to a Broadway or West End show. It also enjoys a broad audience base, from students to couples to grandparents.

'Before, people might have seen a show only from time to time because they could not relate to the subject matter,' he says. 'But East Wing West Wing is luring more audiences because they find the subject matter more relevant.

'They may feel that it is kind of a civic education because it stimulates them to think about their society.'

The fourth instalment has been revised to account for the latest political antics. There will be fewer gags about 'the single-developer approach' to the project because the government has already backed down on the issue.

'This project is already a metaphor of Hong Kong people. We've relied on property development to make ourselves rich. Now, we want to enrich ourselves spiritually. Can we do that?' asks Lam.

'We will explore whether Hong Kong can sustain an economic society, where people sing karaoke as a form of healing and expression, despite karaoke being so pre-programmed.'

Lam, the artistic director of the Edward Lam Dance Theatre, says the audience's sentiments will have changed with the new leadership.

'Tsang is more of a Hong Kong person than Tung. But is this an upside or downside? Will Tsang rule for two years, seven years, or 12 years? These are the questions people are asking,' he says.

Tsang's roots inspired Lam and Woo, Zuni's programme director, to use Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman as a parody.

'Donald always says he first started out as a salesman. In fact, a lot of us are salesmen - we calculate the pros and cons of every action all the time.

'Now, we need to explore whether this calculating attitude is becoming too overwhelming,' Lam says.

He believes they have learnt how to communicate with the audience more effectively after four productions.

'In 2046 CE Bye Bye, we were still experimenting with this kind of [theatre presentations]. We didn't know where we would go next. But we slowly learnt more about how to make use of humour and be more culturally relevant,' he says.

'For example, in Mic On!! Mic Off!!, that was the time when [Canto-pop star] Sam Hui Koon-kit was having his concert and the time of Legco election. So we rewrote some of his songs with new lyrics to reflect the political scene.

'In illustrating our cultural scene, we try to point out why Hong Kong artists do not admit being artists and parody their attitude with how the princess in the well-known Cantonese opera Princess Chang Ping denies her own identity,' Lam says.

Theatre critic Cheung Ping-kuen, head of liberal arts studies at the Academy for Performing Arts, says the audience can vent disappointment with the political scene through watching the shows.

'They might be suppressed politically and they need to unleash their emotions. Politics is also somewhat of a gimmick that hooks them and brings them into the theatre,' he says.

East Wing West Wing 4 - West Kowloon Side Story, Jul 22-Aug 14, Academy for Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai, $120, $180, $230, $280. Inquiries: 2566 9696
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