中文版

ISSUE 04

Publics, Histories, Value: The Changing Stakes of Exhibitions
In this Issue

Timeline - Privatising Public Space: Times Square Incidents in Hong Kong

Leung Po Shan Anthony with contributions by Seth Denizen



A working timeline of events compiled by Leung Po Shan Anthony with contributions by Seth
Denizen.


1991–1994
Wharf (Holdings) Limited officially announces plans to develop a residential site into a 186,000
square metre retail and office space in 1991. The project is completed in April 1994.
Place: Russell Street, Causeway Bay

12th July–1st August, 2007
Times Square hosts a retrospective of Huang Yong Hu presenting paintings, sculptures, woodcarvings, and calligraphic works.
Place: Times Square
Source:1

July, 2003–March, 2005
Times Square leases a corner of Open Piazza (a 3,010 square metre piazza on the ground floor
of Times Square) to Starbucks Coffee Company for a daily rent of HKD124,000.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

31st January, 2008
Activists Local Action and local art community circulate video Frozen Grand Central, a performance
by Improv Everywhere that takes place in New York’s Grand Central Station.
Source: 1

22nd March, 2008  
Joao Vasco Paiva and Hector Rodriguez lead a series of sound performance pieces, State Change.
Two groups of 20 participants constantly ascend and descend the same escalator system in a cycle
while making sounds.
Place: Times Square and Festival Walk
Source: 1, 2

Repeated throughout March, 2008
Mr Funny dresses as a clown. Passers-by watch and give him money. Police and security officers
attempt to stop the performance on the grounds that it violates Summary Offences Ordinance. They declare he is not allowed to earn money from his performance. The situation is resolved when onlookers take their money back.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1, 2

5th March, 2008
Legislative council member, Hon Margaret Ng, asks the Hong Kong government about the required
public open space at the street level of Times Square. The Secretary for Development, Carrie Lam,
responds that the space dedicated for public use is located on private land. The title of the land belongs to the owner of Times Square, who has the obligation to manage the public open space. The rights and obligations are governed by a Deed of Dedication.
Place: Government News
Source: 1

5th March, 2008
An anonymous group of Hong Kong Polytechnic University students deposit a sofa in Times Square with a ‘no sitting’ sign. Security guards remove it.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

5th March, 2008
Jeff Leung, Jaspar Lau, Lee Kai Chung, Lam Tung Pang, Lee Kit, Luke Ching, Leung Po Shan Anthony, Man Ng, and Thompson Tong have a picnic with blankets, food, and tea.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

16th March, 2008
Sanmu, Au Yeung Tung, Mok Chiu Yu, Fung Sai Kuen, and FM Theatre Power perform a political satire of China’s political oppression at the same time as the kick-off ceremony to launch the 51st Festival of Sports.
Place: Times Square

12–1.30 pm, 16th–18th March, 2008
Leung Po Shan and Tsang Tak Ping perform Walking Under the Greens. One artist holds a large, green leaf over the head of the other while they walk. Security guards ask them to leave.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
and International Finance Centre
Source: 1, 2

20th March, 2008
FM Theatre Power organises a group ‘freeze’ performance. Participants simultaneously hold
still for ten minutes and resume movement.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1, 2

23rd March, 2008
FM Theatre Power hosts a picnic as the first in a series of weekly performances by Local Action and
artists.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza

23rd March, 2008
Yuk Man and friends perform a piece in which one person stares at and kneels next to a message
written on the ground about Tibet. Security officers and police rope off the area and erase the message.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

11:30 am, 24th March, 2008
Yuk Man, Yang Jin, Liang Hongxi, Liang Susu, Lu Guojian, and Huang Wenhui mop Times Square in
unison.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

24th March, 2008
Local Action and artists wander around in aprons with ‘This Is Public Space’ written on them. They give away flowers and take pictures with onlookers.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

28th March, 2008
The Hong Kong Government Lands Department issues background information on Provision of Public Facilities within Private Developments.
Place: Government Decree
Source: 1, 2

30th March, 2008
Percussion group Love and Drum perform for three hours with passers-by joining in.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

30th March–September, 2008
Ah Fun sits in Times Square listening to any stranger who is willing to speak to him. Ah Fun visits every weekend until September, and is asked to leave by police.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza

30th March, 2008
Local Action and artists walk while reading, the second in a series of performances.
Place: Times Square

March–April, 2008
Paul Ho and friends play chess together in a performance piece titled When Time meets Flying
Chess.
Place: Times Square

1st April, 2008
Carrie Lam, Secretary for Development, takes caller questions  on  government policy on radio programme ‘On a Clear Day’.
Place: Commercial Radio

4th April, 2008
Wong Mo Chi and friends play dominos.
Place: Times Square

6th April, 2008
‘Chie’ exhibition organisers, Hong Kong In-Media, ‘Hijack Garden’ column, and Ming Pao Daily host the ‘Hijacking Public Space at Times Square’ awards ceremony.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

9th April, 2008
Tsang Sui Ming publishes ‘Confusing Public: Uncontrolled Space’ in Hong Kong Economic Journal, bringing forth the notion of public-ness or public sphere in the discussion on ‘what constitutes the
public space’
Place: Hong Kong Economic Journal
Source: 1

13th April, 2008
FM Theatre Power initiates a performance by local activists called ‘Stars of April’ that celebrates all the April birthdays of their friends.
Place: Times Square

17th April, 2008
Fung Sai Kuen and FM Theatre Power perform ‘Girlfriend Wanted’.
Place: Times Square
Source: 1

27th April, 2008
Civic Party Working Group on Public Space opens ‘Pseudo-Public Spaces’ photography exhibition.
The works point to pseudo-public spaces around Hong Kong.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

30th April, 2008
Wharf (Holdings) Limited publishes in major local newspapers a full-page response to the accusations
that Times Square’s commercial use of public space are misleading without legal ground.
Place: Local Newspapers

1st May, 2008
Cheng Wai Pang publishes ‘The Colonization of Living Space’ in Hong Kong In-Media as a response to Tsang Sui Ming’s ‘Confusing Public; Uncontrolled Space’.
Place: Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

6th May, 2008
Citizens’ Radio delivers live broadcasts in Times Square instead of their usual location in Mong Kok’s pedestrian area, which violates the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Ordinance as stated by the government.
Place: Times Square

17th May, 2008
Mr Funny mimicks the Statue of Liberty. Security officers confront and surround him.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

18th May, 2008
International Day Against Homophobia hosts an exhibition of LGBT Stories.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

22nd May, 2008
Luke Ching writes the article ‘People Can’t Be Too Times Square!’ criticising the government’s management of Times Square’s public space.
Place: Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

25th May, 2008
Mr Funny continues to mimic the Statue of Liberty. Members of Local Action and artists dress up
as security guards as a show of support.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza

27th May–15th June, 2008
Times Square and Hanart TZ Gallery present artworks by three Beijing-based artists. The works include sculptures of smiling-faced figures by Yue Minjun entitled Contemporary Terracotta Warriors,
an installation simulating a park by Huang Chihyang, and pop images by Hung Tunglu.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
and Atrium
Source: 1

30th May, 2008
Chu Hoi Dick publishes ‘The Management of Public Space from the Viewpoint of Private Enterprises’
(excerpts from his HKU Thesis which include a transcript of an interview with a PhD Candidate at the
University of Hong Kong) in Hong Kong In-Media.
Place: Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

31st May, 2008
Legislative Council Panel on Development holds a meeting to discuss ‘public facilities within private properties’. Carrie Lam, Secretary for Development, responds to queries from Designing Hong Kong,  Hong Kong Institute of Real Estate Administration, Yau Tsim Mong District Council Member Lam Ho Yeung, Hung Chiu Wah, Sai Kung District Council Member Chan Kai Wai, Hong Kong Institute of
Surveyors, The Hong Kong Institute of Architects, and Chu Hoi Dick of Local Actions on the stringent
restrictions faced by art creation. They are joined by artists and arts organisations such as Yeung Ping Kei of FM Theatre Power, Leung Po Shan, Tsang Tak Ping, and Andrew So who voice similar sentiments. Legislative Council members agree to establish a better-defined policy to promote arts development, but underline the possibility of regulating art activities. This causes the community to worry for the future.

1st June, 2008
Luke Ching publishes ‘19 Years After The Square’ in Sunday Ming Pao and Hong Kong In-Media where
he points out that the art pieces of artist Yue Min Jun centre on the theme of open public space while evoking the June 4th incident.
Place: Ming Pao and Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

2nd June, 2008
Times Square sends a letter to the management of Ming Pao, complaining about Luke Ching’s inappropriate ‘act to deliberately associate the ongoing “Yue Minjun Art Exhibition” held at Times Square with the June Fourth Incident’. They deny Luke’s claim that the exhibition ‘is open to the charge of inciting readers to perform unauthorised activity’, and hence request a ‘correction’ of the article on Ming Pao.
Place: Ming Pao and Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

4th June, 2008
Asian People’s Theatre Festival Society organises ‘Hong Kong On the Move June Action: In Memory of June Fourth’.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1, 2

6th June, 2008
International Association of Art Critics Hong Kong, C for Culture, and Hong Kong In-Media issue a
joint statement in response to the complaint letter from Times Square defending Luke Ching and freedom of expression.
Place: Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

16th June, 2008
Department of Justice accuses Times Square Causeway Bay of violating the Conditions of Grant by
leasing out the open space. A claim is lodged at the High Court against The Wharf (Holdings) Limited in demand for indemnity.
Place: High Court, Hong Kong

17th June, 2008
Ng Wing Chi publishes ‘Rethinking the Private “Public” Space‘ that challenges the notion of privately
owned public space in Hong Kong.
Place: ArtsLink and Hong Kong In-Media
Source: 1

22nd June, 2008
Luke Ching publishes ‘Huang Chihyang’s Art in Times Square’ in Ming Pao and Hong Kong In-Media,
commenting on the sculpture exhibition.
Source: 1

13th July, 2008
Local Action organises a gathering called ‘Sunday March: Build a Civic Society, Say No to Excessive Police Powers in Article 23’.
Place: Hong Kong Police Headquarters to Chater Garden

18th July, 2008–2010
Initiated by Local Action, David Biddlecombe launches ‘Freedom Ball: Say no to no fun’ in which
participants roll large, red balls through Hong Kong Parks. They are asked to leave or stop by security guards or police.
Place: Various Parks in Hong Kong
Source: 1

30th July–19th August, 2008
Times Square and Hanart TZ Gallery host ‘Art. Times. Square’, an exhibition of Sui Jianguo’s large
scale sculptures that doubles as a celebration of the Beijing Olympics.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza

13th August, 2008
Luke Ching, Law Man Lok, Tsang Tak Ping, Jaspar Lau invite then legislative council pan-democracy member Szeto Wah to lead a guided tour of Sui Jiang Guo’s exhibition. They publish the article ‘Uncle Wah Hijacking Art Too?’ in newspapers and online.
Place: Times Square, Hong Kong In-Media, YouTube and Ming Pao
Source: 1

24th August, 2008
Facebook community ‘Kick FM Theatre Power out of Mongkok’ protest against FM Theatre Power’s
performances in Mongkok. FM Theatre Power rebuts by holding a public forum in Mongkok.
Place: Mongkok
Source: 1, 2

Repeated throughout September, 2008
An anonymous acrobat performs multiple times with a sign in his mouth reading ‘Times Square pays back the money’.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

9th September, 2008
‘Slow Development Hong Kong’ builds a fake vegetable farm on the square in support of villagers from Choi Yuen Tsuen that faced destruction due to development plans for a high-speed rail link between
Kowloon and Guangzhou. Passers-by are encouraged to help with the mock farm.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

20th November–31st December, 2008
Carrie Chou and Times Square host ‘Indigo Child’ exhibition during the holiday months. It includes
Christmas-themed large forests and fairy-like creatures.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
and Atrium
Source: 1

16th November, 2012–2nd January, 2013
LEGO celebrates its 80th anniversary by turning Times Square into a LEGO Christmas village.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
Source: 1

27th September–31st October, 2013
LeBasse Projects and Times Square host Yoskay Yamamoto’s exhibition ‘Submerged’. It features wooden installations of faces ranging from 30-feet-tall interactive works to three-inch, hand-carved sculptures.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
and Atrium
Source: 1

30th November, 2013–1st January, 2014
Javier Gonzalez and Times Square put on ‘A Whimsical Christmas with Javier Gonzalez Burgos’ exhibition. It features Christmas villages, nature scenes, and characters drawn from his paintings.
Place: Times Square, Open Piazza
and Atrium
Source: 1

Author’s note: This timeline was originally produced for a presentation at the ‘City of Desire– Alternative Strategies of Place-Making’ exhibition and seminar, curated by Hilary Tsui in 2008 in Vienna. Due to its value for researchers, I chose to make it public. Correction of information is most welcome. Thanks for Asia Art Archive’s effort in producing this English version to widen the
readership.

***

Leung Po Shan Anthony is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a member of the Art Appraisal.



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Email: chantal@aaa.org.hk