Joy of getting together

| Lisa Kao 7 Dec 2018

A merry-go-round has been installed in the middle of the ground floor of a shopping mall. People can step onto the platform and have a peek through periscopes, or sit on blocks to enjoy a ride past the surrounding stores.

The art installation Periscoping Hong Kong is by Hong Kong artists AaaM at K11 piazza. The artists wanted to create a unique space in the mall for busy people to stop and gather.

"People nowadays don't interact," said Shuyan Chan, the co-founder of AaaM.

"Even children are interacting only with their mobile phones.

"The space is designed to gather together whoever is tired from shopping, or those who just simply want to have fun."

What you can find through the periscopes is lighting inspired by neon signs commonly seen in Hong Kong at night.

"Silhouettes of Hong Kong scenery can be seen. And while the merry-go-round moves, what you can see from the periscopes will change as well," Chan said.

The group also wants to draw attention to the beauty of Hong Kong.

As well as using vibrant colors of neon signs, they added elements of air dust and water pipes in the installation.

"The patterns on the ground remind of the two signature elements of Hong Kong. The blocks placed on the the ground is also interactive, where you can move and form a colorful landscape with them," he added.

The group installed a similar model before in Beijing Baitasi Hutong and received a positive response.

"It was a design for the Beijing Design Week last year, when we found that the Baitasi area lacked space for kids to play around," Chan recalled.

From the periscopes on the merry-go-round, people are able to see the sky.

"Even without any publicity on the installation, children discovered it and enjoyed their time on it."

The artists reintroduced the concept to Hong Kong where all ages can explore, adventure and be free on the installation.

Another surprise is ready outdoors. When you step out and look up, you will see 150 floating rings above. When a visitor jumps under the Game of Light, the color of the light will change; jump in groups of three and an "ultimate shine" will be activated.

AaaM wanted to bring out the relationship between individualism and collectivism.

"Sometimes collective power makes a difference," said Chan.

The group said the change of light means everyone has the ability to make changes.

Bob Pang, co-founder of the group, said: "Perhaps the atmosphere makes people think they cannot achieve what they want, but a simple jump can change the lights.

"It means that maybe we are just a step away from changes in life."

The Christmas Art Playground for K11's 10th anniversary is not limited to two interactive parts.

More lies in wait at the basement art space, which is displaying multiple installations by Japanese contemporary artist Shohei Tsuda. He said of the Hong Kong-inspired installations: "There are a lot of skyscrapers and people here. I was amazed by how prosperous Tokyo was when I left my hometown, and I was even more shocked when I visit Hong Kong."

He used his visual and audio senses to form the multi-dimensional space, including elements like the gold paper acquired from a Hong Kong store and photos of buildings in Hong Kong style.

Christmas is not only about Santa Claus and Christmas trees.

AaaM thinks Christmas is the time when family and friends spend their time together.

"The two installations try to provide time and space for all to enjoy the joyful time," said Chan.

Tsuda hopes he can give a Christmas gift to people through his exhibition. "I fell in love with mixing different noises. I wish the noise I mixed for the exhibition this time can be a Christmas present for the visitors."

Tsuda's Mutations Exhibition and Game of Light will last until January 13 while Periscoping Hong Kong will end on January 6.

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