2018

Kotodama   言靈


Date: 16 June - 26 August 2018
Artists:  Issac Chong Wai 莊偉, Kim Woojin 金佑珍, Kiri Dalena, Susan Hiller, Hsu Chia Wei 許家維, Okui Lala 周盈貞, Nortse, Tang Kwok Hin 鄧國騫, Danh Vo 傅丹, Wong Hoy Cheong黃海昌, Nicole Wong 王思遨, Wu Jiaru 吳佳儒, Yang Jiechang  楊詰蒼, Alex Yiu 姚少龍

Venue: 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road Quarry Bay Hong Kong
Organizer: Para Site






installation view




Selected Works



Nicole Wong 王思遨
The Institution of International Blue  子不语之歌
2018      Typed text, laserjet printm pigment






Okui Lala 周盈貞
Chinese Whisper: 〈天頂一粒星, 地下開書齋〉

2018      Two-channel video 4’51’’



curatorial statement


Cultures underpinned by various languages think about and describe the world slightly differently from one another. Kotodama is a unique Japanese belief that words can magically affect objects, carrying and enacting the speaker’s will in their curses or blessings. Speech alone would therefore have the power to change the fate of another person. Language is more than just a means of communication; it also carries culture, preserves memories, transmits wisdom, and forms part of many communities’ identities. Yet, a large number of languages today are withering, owing to the cultural hegemony of another language, outright political oppression, socio-economic factors, or a combination of the above.

This exhibition discusses the mechanisms and idiosyncrasies of language, positing that the disappearance of languages endangers human culture as a whole.The Asia-Pacific region has one of highest language diversities in the world, boasting over 1500 languages, about a third of the global total. In the past century, many languages around the world have ceased to exist, and currently there are many more that are endangered or vulnerable. In recent decades, the number of speakers of many languages in mainland China and Taiwan has dramatically dwindled. Cantonese in Hong Kong remains one of the most robust Chinese languages, but Mandarin is becoming ever more present in the city, backed by government policies.

Presented in the exhibition, the works by Kim Woojin, Nortse, and Wu Jiaru recount the aftermath of language policies in the Sinosphere since the modern era. As different governments push their national language agenda in education and media

policies, other languages are threatened, along with the many traditions related to those languages. Okui Lala, a Malaysian artist of Chinese descent, embarks on a journey of reconstructing the idea of mother tongue in the complex linguistic landscape of her country. Tang Kwok-hin talks to the younger generation in his Hong Kong family about an education for the future. Evoking the role of languages in the preservation and dissemination of mythologies, Hsu Chia Wei follows a deity whose devotees struggle to keep the faith alive through rituals and songs. Works by Danh Vo and Wong Hoy Cheong employ texts to reveal how language was used by colonisers to exert control over the newly conquered. Susan Hiller focuses on several extinct, endangered, and revived languages around the world.

Hip hop, which initiated in the African American community in the Bronx, New York City during the late 1970s, began as a subculture and art movement, and was subsequently embraced as a musical language by oppressed and disenfranchised communities around the world. Its emphasis on the colloquial and the telling of local struggles makes hip hop a major form of poetry of our time. A special feature in the exhibition will showcase a selection of hip hop music created in various local and indigenous languages from around the world.

文化與語言唇齒相依,不同的語言及文化系 統對世界的思考與描述都有其微妙的差異。 「言靈」是一種獨特的日本信仰,它相信語 言對物體有神秘的影響力──通過咒語或祈 福,語言能夠承載並行使講者的意志;因 此,語言本身具有改變他者命運的力量。語 言不僅是溝通的媒介,它也承載文化、保存 記憶、傳遞智慧,並成為構成許多群體認同 的一部分。然而,今日大量的語言瀕臨危 機,原因在於受到其他語言帶來的文化霸 權、直接的政治壓迫、社會經濟的影響等。

是次展覽探討了語言的多種機制與特質,指 出語言的消失正在威脅整體人類文化。亞太 地區擁有全世界最多樣性的語言分類,擁有 逾1500門不同的語言,約占全球語言總數的 三分之一。在過去一個世紀,世界上有大量 的語言正逐漸式微或頻臨滅絕。數十年來, 中國大陸與台灣的許多少數語言的使用者數 量正急速銳減,而在香港由於粵語的大量普 及,其仍被視為中國最強勢的方言之一;近 年來,受到政府政策推動的影響,普通話的 使用越趨普遍。

展覽中金佑珍、諾次與吳佳儒的作品重溯了 現代華語地區語言政策所帶來的影響。當各 國政府在教育與媒體政策中強化推行官方語

言的使用時,其他語言及與之相關的諸多文 化傳統也相對受到了威脅。華裔馬來西亞藝 術家周盈貞在複雜的本土語言環境中開啟了 一場重構母語觀念的旅程;香港藝術家鄧國 騫與家族中的晚輩交流關於未來教育的看 法;許家維的作品講述了一個神明的信眾如 何通過儀式和唱誦維持信仰,並以此提示語 言在神話的保存與傳播中所扮演的角色;傅 丹與黃海昌的文字作品揭示了殖民者如何藉 由語言管理加強對新領地的控制;Susan Hiller 關注世界各地數門處於瀕危、消亡以及復甦 的語言的現況。




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