Curatorial Statement

An atelier for seeing, thinking and debating

Freespace at West Kowloon Cultural District offers a unique proposition. As Hong Kong’s new centre for contemporary performance, Freespace is the site where we question, imagine and propose what the future of theatre could be, and where we extend our curatorial focus beyond presentations to the wider, lasting artist and audience experience.

We ask ourselves, what artist and audience experience do we want to create at Freespace? How can we extend this experience long after the house lights have come on and people have left the theatre? What would make audiences and artists choose to return? These are big questions that require bold content choices.

To this end, we present “What is Art/School”, a multi-year investigation of fundamental questions that are critical to the issues of the day, and that encourage us to think and see from new perspectives.

Beginning this July, in partnership with Edward Lam Dance Theatre, we invite artists and audiences to be part of “What is Art/School” – an alternative “summer school” atelier of performances, work-in-progress presentations, film screenings, workshops and lectures that traverse the realms of philosophy, psychology and phenomenology to unpack complexities of self, character, personality and what it means to be a human being in this day and age.   

“What is Art/School” comprises two broad components. The first is a series of dramaturgically interlinked presentations around the experience of learning – both in and outside the classroom – that includes the staging of Edward Lam’s seminal piece on youth, gender and social identity – Art School Musical – reimagined for The Box at Freespace, as well as two screening programmeswork-in-progress presentations and conversations.

The second component is our annual scenography programme “What is Stage”. In this third edition, we have invited German artist, designer, director and teacher Anna Viebrock, one of the most extraordinary thinkers of our time. Her scenography, whether for opera, Musiktheater or installation, uses a materiality imbued with layers of stories, emotion and secrets. Like a dense palimpsest, the spaces she creates are often so pregnant with song that they pulsate with life, at once past, present and future in simultaneous existence; always in a state of transforming, of becoming something else.

So come spend some time with us at “What is Art/School” this summer as we explore the complexities that define our contemporary experience. 

Co-curator Low Kee Hong

Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, West Kowloon