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Old April 5th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #621
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Yawn. They've been squabbling over this site for years. I'm not sure that Hongkongers are interested enough in culture to make this work in any case. Perhaps they'd be better off building a beautiful new shopping mall? That would definitely work in Hong Kong. Malls have a proven track record there. No seriously they should take a leaf out of Sydney, Beijing, or Shanghai's book and build a swanky new opera house and the rest of the site should be something that's sustainable, like a mall or a casino (you can call it an "integrated resort" a la Singapore if it helps to get around the lawmakers). You just suspect that with all the delays and squabbles that the end result will end up being a catastrophe like the cultural centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. What will happen to the latter btw? Will it be destroyed if they buid a new one here? I hope so....
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Old April 7th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #622
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Nah there's already a big mall called Elements next door.

People are more interested in a genuine cultural district, hence a lot of bickering happens to get it right.

Casinos are definitely a no-go in HK. They talked about it years ago when Macau started to take off.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #623
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Arts hub faces scrutiny of young
11 April 2009
South China Morning Post

A pressure group will be set up this month to involve youngsters in monitoring the design of the West Kowloon Cultural District project.

[email protected], which stands for People at West Kowloon, is being formed to create an additional channel to gather public views apart from the official exercise by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

One of the core members - Ada Wong Ying-kay, also a member of the authority's consultation panel - said the group already had more than 20 members, including students from high schools and universities. Core members include Mirana Szeto, who teaches in the comparative literature department of the University of Hong Kong; Chen Yun-chung, who teaches urban studies at the University of Science and Technology; and ex-Wan Chai district councillor Mary Ann King Pui-wai.

"We don't want to see another isolated castle built in West Kowloon, like the large shopping mall Elements, which is hardly accessible," Ms Wong said.

The group would publish research from time to time to give ideas for the arts hub's development.

"The cultural district is the last remaining site on the harbourfront. It should also be a 'solution space' for West Kowloon by providing more leisure space and easing the density of the adjacent old urban areas."

The group suggests setting up a West Kowloon participatory design studio at the arts hub so people can be engaged during its planning and construction years.

The group also hopes the hub will cater for diverse arts, artists and consumers, not only the established flagship arts groups. A training and education base such as an art village is also suggested to attract local and international artists. Examples quoted by the group are the two arts villages - Greenwich Village and East Village - in New York.

Three master development plans for the project will be shortlisted soon from the 12 that survived a previous round in the selection process. Representatives of the 12 architectural firms in the running had presented their ideas last month, a source close to the authority said.

Ms Wong said: "I hope we can exchange ideas with the selected consultants through public workshops. I hope our youngsters will be committed in planning their future arts hub."
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 05:45 PM   #624
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New cultural district needs autonomy, experts say
19 April 2009
South China Morning Post

The formula for a successful West Kowloon Cultural District would start with keeping civil servants firmly in the background. That was the consensus of the "How We Can Make a Success of It" open public forum yesterday. The forum was an initiative of businessman and cultural critic Sir David Tang Wing-cheung and included the South China Morning Post as supporter.

The two-session forum was moderated by Sir David and included a panel of eight top executives from world-famous performance venues and art museums.

Peter Wong Hong-yuen, a member of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong, said he was worried that the HK$21.6 billion project would be run by civil servants, which might, as another participant articulated, stifle creativity.

Sir Clive Gillinson, an executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, said he had never heard of a successful arts venue run by civil servants.

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Britain's Tate galleries, said it was necessary to distinguish between government funding and government control, and that they did not need to go together. "[The government] must recognise that [the cultural district] is not a public transport project. It must have the courage to appoint a board with sufficient independence," he said.

However, on the dichotomy of public funding and government control, Julia Peyton-Jones, director of London's Serpentine Gallery, said she would prefer to sacrifice some independence for public subsidy, especially in the current financial climate.

Tom Krens, director and chief artistic director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, shared his experience at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. He said the museum had generated jobs, and brought tax revenue and visitors to the city with the high quality of its programmes. "Putting all these factors together, one would consider the project successful," he said.

Speakers said one of the most important tasks for the city was to recruit a chief executive and his core team as soon as possible.

The best qualities for the top job would be leadership, artistic vision and business sense.

Panelists said that while the chief executive officer had to continue to engage stakeholders in dialogue and be able to adjust plans, the chief had to have the courage to make the final decision, even if it meant cutting out some ideas.

"[To do otherwise] would risk the danger that in ten years' time, there is still the same discussion going on," said Ms Peyton-Jones.

Speakers suggested that the core board underpinning the chief executive officer should include planners, architects, financial experts and artists. Sir Nicholas suggested that the board would work best with around eight members, and had to be able to understand and be sympathetic to the situation of the artists. However, he warned against having artists lead the project.

"[You] should prohibit the project [from being] led by an artist," he said.

Others on the expert panel included Mark Jones, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Charles Saumarez Smith, chief executive of Britain's Royal Academy of Arts; Michael Lynch, a former chief executive of the Sydney Opera House; and Tim McFarlane, managing director of The Really Useful Company Asia-Pacific, which is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #625
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Field of dreams?
A global forum on the city's arts hub has praised the direction the project is taking but also raised concerns
24 April 2009
South China Morning Post

When the HK$21.6 billion West Kowloon Cultural District is fully up and running in 2031, 15 venues with grandiose architecture will grace the skyline of the 40 hectares of reclaimed land.

Before that, by 2015, 12 venues are slated to offer up to 24,400 seats for assorted cultural programmes. However, there are already doubts about whether those seats can be filled. The question is how to cultivate an audience to ensure a steady stream of faithful patrons.

Last Saturday, 600 arts practitioners, officials, students and members of the community gathered in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts at an open public forum to listen to eight renowned arts and museum directors on how to make the West Kowloon Cultural District a success. The forum was initiated by businessman and cultural critic Sir David Tang Wing-cheung and included the South China Morning Post as a supporter.

Julia Peyton-Jones, of the Serpentine Gallery in London, and Mark Jones, of the Victoria and Albert Museum, complimented the city on its commitment to developing all the venues in one go, which they described as "unique", saying cultural districts in other parts of the world took decades to build up. Patrons are expected to come from across the Pearl River Delta, so experts predict the West Kowloon Cultural District will serve a population as large as that of Britain.

However, Tim McFarlene, managing director of the Really Useful Company Asia Pacific, which is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, wondered whether too much was planned for the initial stage. He pointed out that it would be a challenge to find audiences and programmes to fill the venues. Mathias Woo Yan-wai, executive director of experimental theatre company Zuni Icosahedron, said an audience could only be cultivated with proper arts education.

A spokeswoman for the Education Bureau said the government had taken the initiative to tackle that. "Starting from the 2009-10 school year, students at the senior secondary level will spend at least 135 hours of total curriculum time on learning arts, and music and visual arts are offered as elective subjects," she said.

These will be complemented by school programmes and extra-curricular activities.

But Mr Woo was critical of the scope of arts education and the resources allocated to it. "There should be basic education covering literary, performing and visual arts. Arts teachers should be properly and specifically trained. There should also be adequate resources for schools to deliver arts education. But now, very few schools even have a separate arts room," he said.

On the other hand, members of the community have begun to take a proactive approach, prompted by people with a vision for promoting arts in education. Three years ago, Ada Wong Ying-kay, former chairwoman of Wan Chai District Council, founded the Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, a senior secondary school with a focus on arts. The school offers a range of subjects, from arts appreciation, skills training and theoretical background, to various non-science subjects in the senior secondary curriculum.

"At that time, we saw a need to develop arts practitioners to meet the needs of the field, and to encourage diversity in subjects taught at schools. We were fortunate to receive support from government," Ms Wong said. "Over the last three years, we have made progress, with our students enjoying many career options. Many graduates have pursued further studies in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, or the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design. Some were studying in the Baptist University. Those who were not able to enter university have undertaken training in the Hong Kong Institute of Vocation Education."

But Ms Wong said that whether her model could be expanded depended on the attitudes of parents and educators, many of whom did not agree that arts should be part of mainstream education. "Many think that arts is not an area where one can make money."

Cultivating an audience is only part of the challenge - finding suitable works to fill the museums is attracting equal controversy. Many prominent Hong Kong artists and collectors are growing concerned that their views are not being considered during the consultation period for West Kowloon and its main attraction, M+.

One of the biggest concerns is that, in a city which holds some of the biggest private collections of Chinese art in the world, the museum might be disappointing, rather than a leading attraction that showcased Chinese art and helped to educate people about it.

Kwok Ho-mun, who owns the Wan Fung Art Gallery, said there was a clear opportunity for M+ to fill a missing niche among museums: Chinese art in the 20th century. Dr Kwok said he was concerned the government had spent seven years looking at how to build and finance West Kowloon, yet very little consideration had been given to the ingredients that would determine whether the project was a success - art and culture.

"The whole thing has fallen into a repeated, extremely slow, never-ending cycle of consultation and discussions which are then overturned," he said. "The government does not seem to have any stance about what it wants, and doesn't take the initiative to ask for ideas and opinions from established art institutions, practitioners, artists, collectors and galleries in Hong Kong. The core spirit and idea of the whole West Kowloon Project is still lacking."

Many collectors did not want to speak publicly about West Kowloon. "It's hard to criticise what the government is doing without people thinking we are pushing our own interests or particular collections," one collector said.

"But there is a real concern among collectors of art in Hong Kong, particularly of Chinese art, that many people don't have a firm grounding in the history of art and the importance of some of the collections held in Hong Kong. West Kowloon and M+ would be a great way to bring this to prominence."

Dickson Wong - who is one of 70 members of the Min Chiu Society, founded 49 years ago for serious art collectors - does not have a problem speaking publicly about the issue. "Many people don't realise the importance of Chinese art and some of the art held here in private collections. We have national treasures here, but people don't realise this because of a complete lack of education," he said.

"Most of the experts on Chinese art and those who have done research on it are not Chinese. West Kowloon is a real opportunity to change this. But they have to talk to those who have spent their lifetimes building up collections."

A spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Bureau said the government intended to engage all stakeholders in the planning of West Kowloon and the M+.

"Museum-goers, and various streams of museum professionals including collectors and artists, are part of the stakeholders," she said. "We welcome the community's interest in the contents of the museum, which is an institution that serves the community and should be connected with the community."
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Old April 29th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #626
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Arts hub appointment criticised as 'too safe'
27 April 2009
South China Morning Post

The arts community has strongly criticised the government's handling of the appointment for the first salaried job with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, saying its choice of an ex-civil servant was too conservative and displayed a lack of vision.

They also questioned the transparency of the hiring process as Yuen Lup-fun, a former Leisure and Cultural Services Department manager, started work last Tuesday, yet the appointment had not been announced publicly.

Mr Yuen, 59, was hired as the paid adviser for performing arts for the arts hub on a two-year contract with an annual salary of HK$1 million. He is expected to provide input on the planning and establishment of the project's 15 performing arts venues and open spaces, according to the government's recruitment advert.

The Home Affairs Bureau confirmed that Mr Yuen had been hired and said 13 people had applied for the job. "Mr Yuen has gone through a competitive open recruitment process and was selected as the best candidate based on merit," a Home Affairs Bureau spokesman said.

Prior to the advisory role, Mr Yuen was executive director of the Hong Kong Dance Company and the bureau said he had 30 years of relevant experience.

However, the arts community questioned whether Mr Yuen was the best person for a job that required a professional with a well-rounded arts background.

"It's not about how to build [the West Kowloon Cultural District], but how to map it with the rest of Hong Kong's potential artists and arts groups, and {hellip} find a business model to make it sustainable," said Jim Chim, artistic director of PIP Creative Industries.

Chim said the adviser must be familiar with the "ecology" of the contemporary art world in addition to the operation of the art market. The adviser should also know the business side of running private venues, which Hong Kong lacked.

"But hiring Mr Yuen was exactly a demonstration of what the government thinks: to play it safe. From my observation and experience, Mr Yuen has been working more like a civil servant, and that does not fit the role of an adviser for the West Kowloon Cultural District."

Performing arts veteran Fredric Mao Chun-fai said the position was key to the arts community.

"But the government has not given us a clear message of what kind of people they are looking for. What is the authority really thinking?"

Mao also lamented a lack of transparency of Mr Yuen's appointment. "This is an important position. How come there hasn't been any official announcement? The authority's transparency is deeply lacking," said Mao. Mr Yuen said that he wanted to keep a low profile, but in response to the criticism, he said that some of the comments had been unfair.

He said he helped develop and manage many venues, including the Hong Kong Coliseum and the Cultural Centre. He also helped to set up the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre in late 1970s and directed some of the performances in the early days.

Mr Yuen said that although he worked as a civil servant, he was awarded scholarships and opportunities to travel the world to study the management of various venues. He said that he was also a drama enthusiast, had written a number of award-winning scripts and put together several arts events.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:19 AM   #627
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Arts hub should be placed within world-class green park
30 April 2009
South China Morning Post

The group Hong Kong Alternatives applauds the West Kowloon art and culture forum of April 18 sponsored and organised by Sir David Tang. The consensus at the forum was that civil servants should stay in the background.

Since 2005 we have been saying that the government should play the role of patron rather than planner of Hong Kong's art and cultural development. The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority should be headed by someone with artistic acumen, management expertise and entrepreneurship who is neither a civil servant nor a Legislative Council member.

To our great disappointment, an important point was missed during the public discussion phase of the forum - that these artistic facilities should be located within the ambience of a world-class green park. This sustainable green concept is in line with a recent study scheme regarding a cultural green park by a group of architectural postgraduate students of the University of Hong Kong.

The HKU design concept features a "green link" that would be a bridge between the urban centre of Hong Kong and "nature and the future". It would be a cross-cultural and tourist icon, a hub for people from all walks of life, local and international alike. Such a green landmark would link the past, present and future.

The design further explores the commercial feasibility of developing the underground space of the site and the surrounding areas in the vicinity being redeveloped under massive urban renewal for commercial, entertainment and upscale residential areas, similar to developments surrounding Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London and most recently the Millenarian Park in Chicago. Therefore, we urge developers to focus on the peripheral areas surrounding the cultural district rather than within the few hectares of the district. The eventually developed West Kowloon cultural green park will be for our citizens and future generations.

We appeal to those responsible for the planning and design of the green park to consider the legacy of this infrastructure that, if properly implemented, could truly make Hong Kong Asia's world city.

K. N. Wai, Hong Kong Alternatives
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #628
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Visionary leadership is the keyto developing Hong Kong's cultural industry
4 May 2009
South China Morning Post

From Bruce Lee to Wong Kar-wai, from Vivienne Tam to the Octopus card system, Hong Kong has been the cradle for some of the world's biggest names in the creative field, producing distinguished cultural products that help shape the identity of Hongkongers and branding the city on the international stage.

To those involved, the government's determination to ride this wave and develop cultural and creative industries as one of the city's six new economic pillars was positive news, however belated. Maintaining the current success, expanding markets for Hong Kong talent and cultural products, and supporting individuals or small and medium-sized enterprises are among the most pressing tasks - but they aren't the biggest issue.

That, instead, is the lack of visionary leadership and co-ordination of economic, cultural and education policies among different bureaus. It sends shivers down the spines of those in the industry, who worry that sustainability will not be possible.

"Cultural and creative industries are not about how much an individual entrepreneur earns. With the mindset of an ordinary businessman, it's impossible to develop cultural and creative industries," said Jim Chim, artistic director of PIP Cultural Industries. "We need our society to endorse what we do, and be proud of what we do." To help development, "the government must learn and understand the ecology of the industries".

Cultural and creative industries - design, architecture, advertising, publishing, music, film, computer software, digital entertainment, performing arts, broadcasting, and antique and art dealing - are again in the spotlight. Six years after a detailed Central Policy Unit study outlined the framework for developing them, the government has finally set up CreateHK.

It will be dedicated to the development of this economic pillar, which contributed 3.9 per cent of the city's gross domestic product in 2007 under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.

It will manage a new HK$300 million fund, the CreateSmart Initiative, to support industries outside film and design, which already receive funding.

The government has also determined several strategic areas on which to focus, such as nurturing talent, facilitating start-ups, expanding markets, fostering community creativity, and developing creative "clusters" in unused heritage buildings. The development of cultural and creative industries has fallen behind that in many advanced economies, such as Britain and Singapore. But still, industry professionals believe Hong Kong can succeed.

Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Association chairman Gabriel Pang Tse-kit praised the city's freedom of speech, which has laid the foundation for a creative economy. Desmond Hui Cheuk-kuen, a cultural and religious studies professor at Chinese University who directed the 2003 Central Policy Unit study, says that despite the lack of policy support in the past, a strong private sector maintains Hong Kong's competitive edge. Mr Pang said the city's law and order and the protection of intellectual property also made Hong Kong stand out in the region.

Professor Hui said: "If you look at Singapore, policies on arts, culture and economic development complement each other." In the short term, the government should at least co-ordinate existing programmes to form a faculty to teach creative industries at universities, he said.

Philip Dodd, an expert in cultural and creative industries and chairman of Made In China who has been advising the British government on developing this sector, shared the same view.

"Hong Kong needs to develop its own educational programmes to develop creative industries, particularly at the postgraduate level," he said. "Creative industries are not [just] about creating, but also managing and turning creativity into commercial operations."

Expanding the markets for Hong Kong's creative products is crucial, experts say: the city should make a bigger effort to promote its creative business to the rest of the world.

Hong Kong Design Centre vice-chairman Freeman Lau Siu-hong said the government should make it easier to gain entry to the mainland by lowering requirements to set up businesses north of the border.

A better and more focused support for small and medium-sized enterprises with real potential was necessary, Mr Pang said. But high rents were an issue that had to be resolved, Mr Dodd said, especially when compared with Beijing and Shanghai, where creative industries were developing rapidly.

Although the government had identified the 11 categories of cultural and creative industries, Hong Kong should look at a new definition of creative industries, he said. That should include design services, such as the use of the Octopus card system. "When London steals from you, you know things are good," he said, referring to London's Oyster card system.

"These are the things that [Hong Kong] people don't think of. Hong Kong should focus on the creative businesses that Hong Kong is already strong at."

Award-winning architect James Law, who has created hi-tech buildings and calls himself a "cybertect", said creating new businesses on the back of existing ones was a worthwhile concept.

Those in the industry have questioned the government's determination when the development of cultural and creative industries appears to be isolated from the city's cultural policies, handled by the Home Affairs Bureau, and education, monitored by the Education and Manpower Bureau.

Development of the West Kowloon Cultural District also seems not to be part of the big picture.

To make cultural and creative industries sustainable in the long run, the Design Centre's Mr Lau said the authorities must look beyond the economics and take culture and education into account. He said he hoped that CreateHK could break down the walls separating different bureaus overseeing cultural and educational policies. With the development of the arts hub as the ultimate showcase of local culture and creative industries, the coming few years would be critical, he said.

But the biggest worry is the lack of long-term vision. The government had to renew itself, become innovative and think beyond the short term, Mr Law said. "The government has to look at the future - not the next five or 10 years, but the coming 100 years."

This is the third in a series of articles examining Hong Kong's new economic pillars
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Old May 6th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #629
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I wonder how they are going to attract movements from the stations nearby (MTR, western rail link to TST, HK/GZ rail link) to the coastline. This is a huge piece of land and unlike us, the general public don't usually like to fool around photo spots if they are perceived to be too far to get there... putting shops nearby wouldn't help a lot too - there's a few big ones around... I was thinking about whether they should have ferries going to Disney, any of the outlying islands, central or maybe even stanley.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #630
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HK's creative industries need public input
9 May 2009
South China Morning Post

I welcome the views shared by the various commentators who contributed to the article by Vivienne Chow ("Creative commitment", May 4). It is important that we have full public involvement in the development of our creative economy.

I cannot agree more with the comment that it is of paramount importance to understand the ecology of the creative industries in order to implement effective measures to promote the industries. In coming up with the development strategy for CreateHK, the dedicated office to be set up to promote the development of the creative industries, the government has been trying to involve a wide range of people from different creative industries sectors. We have had tremendous feedback.

This is the start of an ongoing dialogue between government and the industries. With CreateHK, a close relationship can be developed. One of the keys to establishing a proper dialogue between government and people in the creative industries will be the head of the new unit. We will conduct an open recruitment exercise for the position with a view to attracting candidates who have expertise in the creative industries.

On the point regarding the need for effective policy co-ordination to foster the development of the creative industries, CreateHK will be tasked to ensure effective co-ordination between different parties within the government in addition to providing a one-stop support service for the industries.

CreateHK will not work in isolation. It will work with different government bureaus including the Home Affairs Bureau and Education Bureau to ensure that policies on culture, education and creative industries and others are compatible and indeed complement each other.

I note the comment on the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District. This is, of course, an important project for the cultural sector in Hong Kong. I would also say that this applies equally to the creative industries. I am sure this project will serve as a focus for the development of complementary business opportunities in the creative industries. Of course CreateHK will have to consider the interface between this project and the wider creative industries.

I wholeheartedly agree that Hong Kong has a strong private creative sector that has already contributed to our competitive edge.

The government has for some time been supporting local creative industries both here and outside Hong Kong. We will keep up our efforts and work to expand the markets outside Hong Kong for the local creative industries to explore.

I am excited by the potential that CreateHK can bring by focusing government efforts to support this important sector. However, it is absolutely essential that the community as a whole is behind this initiative. I want to encourage all those who have an interest to support CreateHK, talk to CreateHK and work with CreateHK as we move ahead.

Duncan Pescod, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology)
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Old May 17th, 2009, 02:03 PM   #631
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Hong Kong's contemporary art fair
9 May 2009
Financial Times (FT.Com)

Beijing may be the most culturally vibrant city in China but the star of southern China is rising with the cluster of Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The Guangzhou Triennial is widely considered China's most significant art event; Unesco has recently designated Shenzhen, China's wealthiest city, as one of the world's 16 "Creative Cities"; and Hong Kong has raised its cultural game with various high-profile festivals and initiatives.

Last year, the Hong Kong government approved a HK$21.6bn (US$2.7bn) budget to develop 40 hectares of wasteland at West Kowloon as a cultural district, including a museum, exhibition space and performing arts venues. If the powers that be get it right, the project has the potential to place Hong Kong firmly on the global art map.

It is already a major international art market - Sotheby's began staging Asian art sales there in 1973 and Christie's followed in 1986. Although a flourishing art trade subsequently evolved in Beijing and Shanghai, the fact that Hong Kong retained its status as a free port, levying no duty on the import or export of works of art, has assured it of the lion's share of the Chinese market - 45 per cent. Crucially, that market has grown to become the world's third largest, with annual sales estimated in 2007 at $3.8bn. Between 2003 and 2007, the turnover in the contemporary market increased more than 200 times.

Another significant development of last year was the staging of the first truly international modern and contemporary art fair in Hong Kong, ART HK 08. This unexpectedly polished affair attracted some 20,000 visitors and grossed $20m in sales. Most importantly, it has proved a catalyst for a critical mass of auctions, gallery shows and debate that has sprung up around this year's event. Six of the region's auction-houses - from Japan, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei - are staging sales to coincide with the fair, some in Hong Kong for the first time. Seoul Auction's $10m sale on May 15 offers anything from work by the esteemed Chinese master Sanyu to a Kusama "Venus" and Damien Hirst butterflies. It seems that the art trade in Asia as well as the west is looking to develop Hong Kong's potential as a powerful regional art market hub.

Certainly this year there is a stronger international line-up of galleries - and artists. Notable newcomers among the 115 dealers from 24 countries are Tokyo's two top contemporary art dealers, Tomio Koyama and SCAI The Bathhouse, London's influential Lisson Gallery and White Cube, and international mega-dealer Gagosian. According to Gagosian's Nick Simunovic, the gallery is also committed to opening a gallery in Hong Kong when it can find "the right kind of space at the right kind of location at the right price". Another exhibitor, Ben Brown Fine Arts from London, is scheduled to open a space here in the autumn.

While last year's fair seemed very much a Hong Kong rather than a Chinese event, this year that emphasis is set to change. "We wanted to raise awareness of the fair on the mainland and target that market," explains director Magnus Renfrew. "We have done this through media partnerships and working with private collectors and institutions." More mainland galleries are also taking a bow, including international players such as Galleria Continua, Galerie Urs Meile, Boers-Li Gallery and ShanghART.

It is not so much the still relatively few contemporary art collectors that are drawing dealers from east and west but the latent potential in the whole region's still growing wealth. The Asia-Pacific region is home to around 20 per cent of the world's high net worth individuals, and the numbers of its middle class are rising fast. This middle income group is expected to include at least 600m people in China alone by 2020. It has already brought a striking increase in demand for cultural experiences and art and design objects.

The government has expressed its desire to encourage this cultural economy and stimulate creativity, not least to further its stated ambition to turn itself into an innovation-orientated country by 2020. Made in China is to be supplanted by Created in China. According to Magnus Renfrew: "Asia will be playing a much more important role in all our lives. The art trade has recognised this and is taking a long-term view, but developing a strong contemporary art market here will take time and education."

Education is one of the missions of the dynamic, young Hong Kong-based Asian Art Archive, a research centre of contemporary Asian art. For last year's fair, AAA ran an educational programme and organised an international conference initiating public debate about the nature and role of cultural districts in the light of the West Kowloon proposals. This year, another impressive series of "Backroom Conversations" continues the museum debate.

Intelligence Squared, the London-based global forum for intellectual and cultural debate, is also staging its inaugural debate in Asia during ART HK 09 on May 15. The motion "Finders, not keepers! Cultural treasures belong in their country of origin" is particularly topical in light of the continuing dispute over the looted Imperial Chinese bronzes sold from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent. There will be plenty to nourish the brain; as for the feast for the eyes, the fair flourishes the likes of Francis Bacon, Giacometti, Antony Gormley, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jitish Kallat, Anish Kapoor, Takashi Murakami, Gerhard Richter and Ai Weiwei.

ART HK 09, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, May 14-17;www.hongkongartfair.com
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #632
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Gov't Press Release:
First meeting of Consultation Panel of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 09:52 PM   #633
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Authority struggles to find key adviser for arts hub
16 applications but no suitable candidate for museum post

21 May 2009
South China Morning Post

The public will be consulted by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority on the arts hub's development plan in July but has still to find a museum adviser, nearly six months after applications for the job closed.

However, the authority is hoping that an artistic director can be found by the end of the year.

At a media gathering yesterday, the deputy secretary for home affairs, Cathy Chu Man-ling, confirmed that no suitable candidate had been found for the museum adviser's position, but said recruitment was on schedule, and an artistic director would start work at the end of this year before the second stage of consultation began.

Ms Chu did not say if there had been difficulty during the hiring process, despite the government receiving 16 applications for the adviser's post. However, it is understood the applications were rejected, and that it might be difficult to find the right candidate locally.

The museum adviser, who will be appointed on a two-year contract with an annual salary of HK$1 million, will help to set up the contemporary art museum at the cultural hub. Development of interim facilities and museum collections will form part of the adviser's job.

The adviser must have a good knowledge of Asian contemporary art and contacts in the international arts community.

Last month, the government appointed former Leisure and Cultural Services Department official and Hong Kong Dance Company executive director Yuen Lup-fun as the performing arts adviser and he started work at the end of last month.

Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, chairman of the authority's consultation panel, said he would engage all walks of life in the consultation on the development plan. "New media, like Facebook and YouTube, could be used to engage youngsters. We will ensure that the waterfront will not be blocked by residential and commercial developments," he said.

Professor Leung said the public would be asked about the distribution of arts facilities, the outlook and atmosphere of the arts hub in the first stage of the consultation, which will start in July and last for about three months. People can also propose cultural themes for the hub.

The government refused to disclose which three architectural firms had been selected for drawing up plans for the arts hub. But sources said Lord Foster, Rocco Yim Sen-kee and Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture - responsible for the design of the CCTV headquarters in Beijing - were having final negotiations with the administration.

In the second stage of consultation, three plans based on public views will be released. The final plan is expected to be issued in early 2011.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #634
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Quote:
In the frame

Two heavyweights in the world of architecture, Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, are likely to be two of the three consultants on the showpiece West Kowloon cultural project.

Bonnie Chen

Monday, May 25, 2009

Two heavyweights in the world of architecture, Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, are likely to be two of the three consultants on the showpiece West Kowloon cultural project.

The project, which has had a bumpy nine years since conception, is meant to pull together a variety of venues for performances and exhibitions.

"Competition was keen as Pritzker Prize laureates took part," a source familiar with the situation told The Standard, referring to what is considered the premier award in architecture.

Britain's Foster and Holland's Koolhaas are both winners. The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority is looking for a project consultant and three conceptual plan consultants from 40 submissions received for the harborside project.

Sixteen consultants, including master architects, made presentations in late February. "A final stage has been reached and the results will be announced soon, the latest being early July," a government source said.

While Foster, Koolhaas and fellow architectural powerhouses Zaha Hadid - another Pritzker awardee - and Daniel Libeskind were among those short- listed, none would disclose concepts. But different sources said Foster and Koolhaas were favorites.

The project was proposed in 1999 and an international competition was held three years later, but the scheme was scrapped in 2005 owing to opposition from the property and cultural sectors.

Foster, who was also the architect for the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong and the airport at Chek Lap Kok, has been close to the project already. He won the masterplan competition in 2002, which featured a massive and controversial canopy. That was criticized for being impractical.

Under mounting opposition, the government ultimately replaced a single-developer plan and proposed a majority developer to fund a HK$28 billion trust for operation of the arts and cultural facilities by a separate statutory body.

In January 2006, three short-listed developers balked at the revised plan, calling it commercially unfeasible, and the entire project was sent back to the drawing board.

Koolhaas, who visited Hong Kong last year, was behind the CCTV Tower in Beijing. He is a professor at Harvard University and made a study of the development of the Pearl River Delta as early as 1997.

British-Iraqi architect Hadid designed Innovation Tower for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for completion in 2011, and the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion that featured in Hong Kong last year.

American-Polish architect Libeskind designed the Creative Media Centre for the City University of Hong Kong, which will be completed in 2010. He also won the competition for the Ground Zero redevelopment in New York.

The three selected consultants must participate in a two-year public engagement exercise that starts in July. If they do not have a Hong Kong base they will have to set up a representative office or have local partners.

Both Foster and Koolhaas already have offices in Hong Kong.

Community expectations are supposed to be reflected in the three conceptual plans, and the public will choose the winner early next year.

The selected plan will then be developed into a detailed development program, which will go for public consultation again until it is submitted to the Town Planning Board in the second quarter of 2011.

The fifth board meeting of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority will be held today.
Source: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_p...4&sid=23981974
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:32 AM   #635
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please let it be Norman Foster~~~~~
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #636
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id personally prefer koolhaas...
foster's just way too commercial and hong kong already has enough of that kinda architecture and needs something else for diversity!
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Old May 26th, 2009, 01:33 PM   #637
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From news.gov.hk:
Cultural project CEO search to start
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Old June 5th, 2009, 05:55 PM   #638
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Ex-Disney designer gets arts hub post
4 June 2009
South China Morning Post

A designer who helped develop the Hong Kong and Paris Disneylands will head the authority in charge of building the city's arts hub, officials have announced.

The decision by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority board drew criticism that it failed to meet expectations for a leader with arts experience.

The announcement yesterday confirmed a South China Morning Post report that Angus Cheng Siu-chuen, who set up "Imagineering" operations for Hong Kong Disneyland in 2001, would be appointed as an executive director.

Mr Cheng, who is to head the project delivery department, will draw up the development blueprint and oversee public consultation. He will also develop strategies to attract creative industries, and a business strategy to ensure dining and retail facilities will meet users' needs.

The authority said five other executive directors would be hired this year. All of them are to work under the chief executive officer. "Mr Cheng will take charge of the authority's operations until the CEO arrives," the authority's spokeswoman said.

Mr Cheng declined to comment before he takes office on Monday. He was picked from 67 candidates from the arts, engineering and architecture sectors for the post, which pays HK$1.5 million a year.

Mr Cheng graduated with a business administration degree and earned a master's in urban design in the US. He worked for eight years with construction company Dragages, which handled infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, and then for Sino Land and the MTR Corporation. He joined Disneyland to lead its master planning, development, design and engineering.

Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said the appointment confirmed his worries that the government wanted to build the site as a "cultural and arts theme park". Mr Cheng had a track record in construction but not in the arts, he said, while people were expecting a visionary leader to lead discussions about what to put in museums.

Oscar Ho Hing-kay, a consultation panel member at the authority, asked: "Where is the artistic vision? What will the executive director refer to when he takes up the operational tasks? A cultural district is not a Disneyland where you can copy the existing ones. It looks like [the authority] is avoiding anything artistic and visionary {hellip} It is disturbing."

Culture critic Mathias Woo Yan-wai said he was worried that the arts hub might become only a provincial project instead of a world-class one.

Wong Kam-sing, of the Institute of Architects' arts hub taskforce, said he hoped Mr Cheng would develop the place in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner.

A government source insisted that the executive director's role was not to shape the cultural positioning of the arts hub, but to focus on day-to-day administration and lay the foundation for the chief executive and the two artistic directors.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #639
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Artists form alternative to arts hub authority
29 May 2009
South China Morning Post

Artists are forming a team to work out alternative proposals to counter the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, which they say is too sluggish in forming arts strategies.

At a public forum organised by several arts groups and professional bodies yesterday, they said they were dissatisfied with the work of the authority board, which has operated for seven months overseeing the software and hardware planning for the arts hub. More than 80 people signed up for a group to work out counter proposals to the authority, after Mirana May Szeto, assistant professor in comparative literature at the University of Hong Kong, made an appeal.

Professor Szeto said the group would start research to form concrete plans, including a proposal for the content of the district's core M+ museum, designs for public space and improving links between the hub and the neighbourhood, and the identification of artists interested in producing art for the hub.

She said local writers and academics from HKU, Chinese University, Lingnan University and the University of Science and Technology would also start working on a proposal to ask for space in M+ for local literature, which she said was essential in forming the city's cultural identity.

"The best way to exert pressure on the authority is to counter it with some really concrete proposals," she said. Her group will encourage the three groups of architects to be shortlisted for the development plan to incorporate community views.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 05:13 PM   #640
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Opinion : Concern is about direction, not speed, of arts hub development
8 June 2009
South China Morning Post

I refer to the report ("Artists form alternative to arts hub authority", May 29), which requires clarification.

The alternative West Kowloon Cultural District forum held at the Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity at the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture on May 28 was neither artist-led nor did it focus on the "sluggish" progress by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority as suggested.

The co-organisers span a wide spectrum of constituencies, from the Legislative Council to non-governmental organisations, universities, think-tanks, artists and arts organisations.

The poster clearly described the event as a civil society forum and alternative platform looking into the fundamental issues around the cultural district seemingly neglected by the authority to date. These include human capital, cultural leadership, audience development, and the need for world-class green public spaces, to name a few.

The point here is not about speed of execution. Referring to it as being sluggish implies we want more of the same sooner. We are questioning if the authority is doing the right thing or asking the right questions. This has little to do with choosing one of the three shortlisted master plans.

Fundamentally, it is about the role of the cultural district in shaping the cultural identity and strategic positioning of Hong Kong in the 21st century.

Rather than having public engagement exercises carried out as a procedure we desperately need leadership in the public policy, cultural and civic realms that create a clear, consistent and bold vision. This vision is unlikely to be the aggregate of questionnaire responses. No respectable artist creates work through focus groups.

We ought to be clear on what is uniquely Hong Kong and world-class artistic excellence that could be curated for and world-premiered in West Kowloon. The "what" precedes the "how".

The greatest challenge, and hence opportunity, lies in realising the potential and synergy of the cultural cluster, so that the total is more than the sum of its parts.

William Wong, visiting Clore research fellow, London School of Economics, England
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