Date｜06/05 – 09/06/2017
Opening Hours | Tue – Fri：2:00 – 7:00 pm; Sat, Sun & Public Holidays：11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Venue | Unit 12, Cattle Deport Artist Village (63 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon)
Participating Artists | Saturn Wood Workshop, Chan Pofung, MUDwork, Jik Jik Team, Wheel Things Maker, Chingchun Warehouse
“Play Depot” is an open-for-all playground based in To Kwa Wan. Through “play”, the project unlocks people’s inner creative genius and imagination.
To Kwa Wan was once an important district for industries – both heavy and light – in Hong Kong. But with the relocation of factories, only small-scaled manufacturers and local shops remain today. Most of the residents there now live in what is known as tong lau or old tenement buildings from the previous century; whereas private roads became home to a cluster of garages. This area is currently facing yet another major change. The construction sites taking over roads and parks call to mind the work-in-progress MTR Sha Tin to Central Link that will surely alter the community landscape again. Old buildings once filled with longtime residents, new immigrants, and South Asians are already being torn down to make way for new luxury estate projects.
New developments, however promising, yield new problems. Efforts by a single person alone never seem adequate to all these increasingly complex issues. They key rather is to forge a community built upon trust and communication with available resources and spaces. Putting our creative minds and imaginations together, we can make a difference to our society.
The genesis of this project began in 2014 when “ToHome” and kaitak, Centre for Research and Development in Visual Arts of Academy of Visual Arts operated a “Social Manufacturer” project. Through re-design and up-cycling, participating artists teamed up with the locals to give new life to industrial and household waste. This project leverages the previous extensive social networks, which form a firm foundation for our new venture.
One mission of “Play Depot” is to carry this concept of community explored in the 2014 scheme to a whole new level. Six groups of artists were invited to break the confine of the local community, in the hope to address current issues like students’ stress problems and our increasingly fragmented society. They tapped into the fluid concept of “play”, and exchange thoughts with the locals based on each other’s understanding, experience, and know-how. During the stage of brainstorming, we came up with four pillars that support the project:
- The possibility of “game” and “playground” as concepts for art;
- The importance of game in unleashing children’s and teenager’s creativity and learning potential;
- The interaction among residents in To Kwa Kwan of different origins, generations, and ethnic backgrounds;
- The imagination of play equipment.
Fun and educational workshops are held regularly by artists. From May till June in 2017, Cattle Depot is transformed into a public playground for all – young and old, men and women, foreign and local.
Artists play in this project a role that simultaneously advocates, stimulates, and collaborates; but they also welcome inputs from the locals. This process of knowledge transfer is thus more reciprocal than unilateral. Each participant inspires others with their own voice on the notion of “play”.