Sixteen artists partnered with 16 households to each create a piece of artwork in or about the particular home. The project serves as a platform to narrate the histories, collection and creativity in the home. It is also a review of the relative positions of “the artist” and “the public”, through the mutual contract between the two parties born out of the collaborative process. The project was presented under the Provisional Regional Council Cultural Ambassador Scheme.

1999 Sam Tung Uk Museum, Hong Kong



Who are "artists"? Who are "the public"? The identity of "artists" can be drawn from social and historical systems (such as education background and participation in exhibition) which belong to the public sphere. Whereas "public" simply means "non-artists". Does categorization of this kind bring convenience or polarization? To most people, and art institutions most of all, "arts" associates with "artists"; those who have never received art training or held exhibition are denied of such title. As far as "art" is concerned, they can only be labeled audience or target for outreach programs. Being remote from everyday creativity, "arts" makes no relevance to the "public". "Arts" and creativity, which should come first?

From the very beginning, Home Affairs is designed not as an educational (in its narrowest definition) or social servicing activities. Both genres in fact draw clear boundary between host and guest/recipient. Who educates whom? Who services whom? If the differentiation between "artists" and "public" is a making of the mainstream art system, we cannot but question this host-recipient relationship. We cannot deny the value and good will of "bringing art to the community", but what we concern here are whether the "community" and artworkers can understand each other on an equal basis during the interaction, and whether they are able to rationalize the process and make mutual adjustment.

Home Affairs invites members of 16 households to become partners to 16 Hong Kong artworkers. Each pair is to create a unique piece of work in or about the particular "home". As an "experimental ground", "home" is at the opposite pole of public exhibition space. Public are hosts and artists become guests in this most personal setting. The partnership emphasizes collaboration so as to deepen and personalize the artist-public interaction. Because of the infinite variables, the outcome is unpredictable. We realize the possible issues arise when artists, who use to work in public space, "intrude" into the personal space. But at the same time, it is full of possibilities -- can it suggest a new format of artworker-public relationship? "Home" is both the theme and the catalyst.

We have avoided calling Home Affairs an exhibition. The most essential part of the project is the collaboration between the artists and household participants. In addition, if the works are home-specific, the public exhibition can only be a compromise. The ideal way of presentation would have been opening up the 16 homes for visitors. Only because of privacy issues, we have to go back to conventional exhibition venue and follow the less adventurous host-guest allegory. In fact, no matter artists or public, each person has a home. Every household has its own unique history, collection and creativity. Each home can be an exhibition in itself. If we can all open up our home, each of us can then be host and guest at the same time.

Participating artists included Amazing Twins, Craig Au Yeung, Chen Miji, Choi Yan-chi, Afa Chiang, Fan Yuk-ki, Freeman Lau, Evelyna Liang Kan, Connie Lam, Benny Ding Leong, Tang Tin-Chai & Billy Chiu, James Wong, Sara Wong, Wu Wing-yee, Eva Yuen, 20F Art Organization. Home Affairs was curated by Siu King-chung and Howard Chan.