Cityscapes and Cantopop seem to be entirely different things, but the integration of both can create chemistry beyond imagination. Chung Chi alumnus Mr. Ng Wang Fung has been falling head over heels for Cantopop since he was small. He always associates Cantopop, a typical Hong Kong icon, with particular cityscapes. The Dreaming Through Chung Chi Scheme has given him an opportunity to realise his dream, enabling him to translate his ideas into actions by curating a crossover “Cantopop with Me” exhibition with a harmonious blend of Cantopop and cityscape snapshots.
Curating exhibitions entails bold imagination and meticulous planning. Holding an exhibition at Yasumoto International Academic Park has already been a bold idea. How dare a student showcase his “own stuff” in one of the busiest academic premises for two weeks? I think it’s Chung Chi that lent steadfast support to my exhibition. First, thank the College for submitting the application for borrowing an exhibition space at Yasumoto International Academic Park on my behalf. Since no similar events had been organised before, the Estate Management Office of the University was very stringent in approving my application. I had to go through a series of approval processes by preparing a lot of documents introducing the background, content, and logistics of the exhibition. This is so-called meticulous planning.
For example, the exhibition stands with the hanging system were well received by many guests, and even a professor from the School of Business asked me to give her the stands after the end of the exhibition. Substantial efforts have been paid to render the exhibition such a bold design style. The exhibition stands, photo frames, and frame nails were bought from three different companies and further processed ourselves. Any slight discrepancies in measurement will lead to starting the installation all over again. For me, the finished products having over 80% similarity with what I have previously conceived is utterly encouraging. It would be even better if the remaining 20% inadequacy could be made up by installing one more neon light plate showing “let creative works speak themselves” for classmates checking in.
Facing such a lot of issues while curating the exhibition, Mr. Ng’s only way out was going to bed earlier so that he would be more rejuvenated next morning to come up with better solutions.
When I was a first-year student, I had a crush on a girl who is also a big fan of Cantopop. She runs an Instagram account sharing handwritten lyrics and cityscape images. Such a crossover really impressed me. In this exhibition, I chose 16 songs representing the characteristics of Cantopop development after the 2000s.
After selecting the sixteen lyrics, I discussed them with the photographer Jerry Wong(@recollectingmemories_). He opened his album and paired up the photos with the lyrics. The only selection criterion is “having a feeling” for the combination of the lyrics and images. We were touched by some of the pieces because they were too compatible to be true.
There are two main purposes. First, I had a good excuse to reach out to my crush in my final year. Second, I wanted to seize an opportunity to perform in FM530, a music show run by Chung Chi College. Previously I hoped the exhibition would go along with the FM530 performance. Unfortunately, my hope was in vain as the show had been cancelled. For me, the most profound meaning of this project is learning to accept the unexpected in our life.
What I am certain of is the exhibition promoted Cantopop and gathered Cantopop lovers together. The exhibition also served as a platform for talented photographers and calligraphers to showcase their creative works. These were also what I aspired to achieve in this exhibition.
There were loads of the unexpected that I have ever encountered. First, I started to curate the exhibition in September 2021. It was supposed to be held in March 2022 but postponed to November of the same year due to the pandemic. By then I have already joined the workforce and could only handle the preparation work like replying to emails, purchasing, following up on the design, and writing promotional articles after work.
The most challenging was not the tons of work that I had to get involved in but the waiting process. Since most of the materials were bought online, unexpected changes in delivery dates, missing stocks, and ineffective receipts were common. It took me extra time to solve the issues, which made the schedule even tighter. The anxiety triggered really dragged me down. Handling uncertainties was a huge lesson for me as I had to juggle my work and exhibition. Worse still, I suffered from gastric ulcer and mental collapse. Facing such a lot of issues, I could do nothing but go to bed earlier so that I would be more rejuvenated the next morning to come up with better solutions.
The exhibition stands with the hanging system were used to display the photographic works of cityscape images.