From and island to an island; it is the 4th Papay Gyro Nights happening here in Hong Kong. Co- Organzing it with Videotage this year, artist works from a selection of geographical places such as Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Scotland are to be exhibited in scattered places of Hong Kong. Having the utmost pleasure in talking to the curators of this show, IVANOV+CHAN (Ivanov and Tsz Man Chan) who shared their insight on the festival as well as the knowledge about this small originating remote island of Papa Westray (Papay) in Orkney, Scotland; this Papay tradition is definitely one that will offer you a completely different aspect on what makes inspiring and interesting art.
i) With this year being the 4th International Contemporary Art Festival; what is new or maintained in the festival that differs or is the same as previous years in your opinion?
We had 4 Festivals in Scotland and it’ll be our 3rd in Hong Kong. Some elements are becoming traditional, like spreading the festival around different locations in Hong Kong, and every visit we pay we’re looking for new spots. We are bringing new art works and some names already familiar in Hong Kong into the festival this time. In our programme development we’re working together with artists where more and more works are being produced especially for this festival which we are proud to present in Hong Kong.
ii) Very different with other art festivals happening in the city happening around the same time; do you think the selection of video art, sound art, experimental film and architecture art will challenge local audiences? In what way will it be a surprise to local viewers who are more commonly associated with panting, drawings or other forms of visual arts?
Papay Gyro Nights are spreading like a virus. The good one. Hong Kong has a very busy calendar of high quality events, but also has some voids we’re trying to explore. We’re spreading our programme from well established venues, like Videotage and Run Run Shaw CMC, to secret location in Sham Shui Po and Cheung Chau. Our programme on one hand is targeting experts in the field of media art and experimental cinema, but open to wider audience too. Papay Gyro Nights is an independent artists-run project and in Hong Kong we are presenting like-minded art groups from Northern Europe together with art works and new ideas which may be difficult to come across. Papay Gyro Nights in Hong Kong is still on its first steps and every visit is bringing a new dedicated audience and expanding the network which is working both ways: more often we see Hong Kong artists in our Northern neighbourhood. Somehow we see Papay Gyro Nights not only an event – more likely: it’s an art movement on its first steps; and its good to be able to say “I was there when it all has started!”
iii) What were your criteria for choosing the exhibiting pieces? Which is your personal highlight and what are you anticipating for the most if any?
Papay Gyro Nights Art Festival is originated from folklore and traditions of the small island Papay in Orkney, North of Scotland. The island has 70 people population and 7000 years of history. Gyro has nothing to do with Greek cuisine, but with Nordic folklore and also known as Gryla, Gygr in another Nordic countries and means – giantess, often with a habit of eating misbehaving children.
The Festival art programme is built around the history of the island, its folklore, traditions and ritual using new media, video art, experimental cinema, but not limited, and we have contributions from anthropology, philosophy, archaeology and storytelling. The programme is very place-specific, but triggers ideas on how a place and art may interact, resulting in the selection of works we are bringing to Hong Kong. Every part of the programme is a highlight as its bringing the best of video art from Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Scotland together with never presented experimental cinema from France and Faroe Islands.
Highlights of Papay Gyro Nights 2014 in Hoing Kong:
– The opening at Videotage, 4th April, with Frog King Kwok and launch of the book documenting Frog King Kwok art Residency on our island Papay in Orkney, Scotland followed by video art programme presentation, curators talks, Inter_active work by Juha van Ingen in collaboration with local sound artists, Nordic drinks testing: and as a final – a collaborative sound performance.
– Ryo Ikeshiro is coming to Hong Kong with live audiovisualisation performance, lecture and practical programming workshop – introducing a new philosophy and language in audiovisual art.
– Other part not to miss is experimental cinema section: INCOHEREN CINEMA. new films and films in progress by Bertrand Mandico and Katrin Olafsdottir based on Incoherence Manifest.
iv) Is Hong Kong an easy or difficult location to exhibit such forms of art? Were there any difficulties or problems getting your selected artworks to display properly in the spaces here?
Hong Kong is different from the island we are living on, but its also an island.
The Festival on our island in Orkney, Scotland takes place in February when nights are long and the sea is stormy. Only two ferries in the week are coming to the island and if people are coming for the festival they have no way to escape and have time to see all of the works and think about it. We don’t have specially built art spaces so we use old farms, workshops, boat houses, ruins and landscape as exhibition spaces.
Hong Kong is busier, but it has a lot of interesting locations to explore and to present art works, to create “islands” within the island.