an installation for Plasticity Forum in Portugal!

draft for 'circle' 垃圾山水 trash-land-art installation in Cascais, Portugal
200 attendees 48 hours 25 speakers one important conversation: THE FUTURE OF PLASTIC!  Plasticity Forum, organized by Ocean Recovery Alliance is an annual conference held June 8 – 9 in Cascais, Portugal. The forum forms part of a global series of events in Portugal: The Economist’s World Ocean Summit and Portugal’s Blue Week. Building on the success of the previous Plasticity Forums in Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong and New York, this year’s forum will focus on "Designing for Circularity, Customer Engagement, Reverse Supply Chains and Reaching Scale”. 

I'm proud to be making a trash-land-art installation called 'circle' for Plasticity Forum at Cicadela Historic Hotel in Cascais open for visitors from 4.-10.June. Two great marine protection organizations have already started to collect trash/treasure: Associação Portuguesa do Lixo Marinho and Brigada do Mar. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm! And of course we always want to inpire more: If you are in the area and interested to be part of the 'art-awareness-activism' please connect HERE for schedule and event details. The more people, the more art, the more fun, the more awareness!

Here's a short version of the concept: Regarding the questions 'Where does it come from?' and 'Where is away?' the installation 'circle' gives a holistic answer showing the interconnectedness and continuum of all life as well as the implications of our human actions. The installation questions our value system by showing trash as something beautiful and valuable and challenging the viewer in his/her traditional believes: 'Is it still ugly? When did it become beautiful? Is this art or is this trash?' The magic of transforming trash into treasure becomes a visual and sensual experience. The goal of 'circle' to spark curiosity, to offer a different view-point and to trigger dialogue about plastic and marine pollution.

For more details please check my facebook page ... Hope to see you in Portugal:)


two workshops for 'mother earth groove'

I'm happy to invite you to MOTHER EARTH GROOVE this SUNDAY 17th May at CHEUNG SHA BEACH from 2-6pm. I'll be giving two workshops: 'mind-your-head' and 'paints made from scratch - the radical self-reliant artist'. All proceeds will be going to the best charity in HongKong raising awareness, respect and gratitude for the natural world around us: ARCEDEN 

See you all on beautiful Cheung Sha Beach this coming Sunday:)


a new project for microgalleries

I'm proud to be part of MicroGalleries 2015: From 8 – 24 May, in Nowra, Australia with over 40 stunning artists from the Shoalhaven, wider Australia and from around the world!

The title of the work you see above is called 'involuntary pairs'. These photos are my contribution to MicroGalleries in Nowra, Australia this year. I've been collecting these pairs since 2013.  
Every object has been lost at sea and found on a beach in Asia. The matching in pairs follows the principle of sameness meaning the human perception recognizes them as same. Yet their inherent qualities couldn't be more different: while one originates from nature the other one is a product of human imagination and manufacturing. What starts as an innocent visual comparison has fatal consequences for wildlife, humans and nature as a whole. Latest research from 2014 estimates that more than five trillion pieces of plastic weighing 269,000 tons have accumulated in the world oceans. Plastic brakes down to the nano size particles, is eaten by plankton, small fish, bigger fish and humans at the end of the food chain. What you see here is a small excerpt of a huge ecological catastrophe. 

MicroGalleries is going to work with Nowra to prove how a community can re-frame how they view their environment and their cultural offering to the local community and the world, as well as demonstrate that everyone can appreciate and enjoy art if they are provided the opportunity to do so – Nowra is gonna prove our theory.
Pop-up space, symposiums, performance installations, sounds drops, new interdisciplinary work, walls upon walls of pastings and a couple of cheeky pot hole gardens and Nowra will never be the same again! Schedule is here: microgalleries.org/events/nowra-australia-baby/
Sign up for one of seven free tours led by performance artists, join us in the pop-up arts space or just grab a map and meander through town. It’s all free and when you’re done there’s plenty of awesome local coffee, shops and a gazillion Op-Shops to sink your teeth into!


all colours

i was asked why i'm working with all colours of the spectrum and not just with blue representing water and green representing the mountains. the question came from a hongkong journalism student, understanding the title 垃圾山水. this is the name i've given to the land-art installations meaning trash-mountain-water in the sense of trash-landscape. to the natural elements of mountain= and water=水 i'm adding a third element, acutely recent and man-made: trash=垃圾
when painting i don't choose my colours, i paint with the colours i find on that particular beach. i paint with that which presents itself to me. you could almost say the colours find me rather than the other way around. and  ALL colours are present in the landscape:  from dark to light, from man-made to organic, from vibrant to dull, from alive to dead. the colour-wheel that i lay out is all-encompassing. there are no good or bad colours! 
i'm very humble in the presence of this all-encompassing concept seeing the smallness of my human judgements constantly criticizing this and that. my heart tells me it is much more than merely a mental concept. every time i'm connected to this all-encompassing energy i'm in awe: nature has no favourites, nature has no prejudices, nature is forever adjusting and nature always all-ways forgives. there is a yearning to learn these qualities, to find them inside myself, to be this. if we are not nature then what are we? do we still perceive ourselves as separate? these qualities are inside of us, too. it is time to go through our own inner rubbish and find those qualities that have been buried for so long. rather than learning this from the head i feel i have to be still enough, sensitive enough to see and acknowledge them inside my very being. they are longing to come out into the light and show their colours! ALL COLOURS! 


under the sea

Please be invited to the opening of the exhibition 'Under the Sea' on Friday 17th April at Yong’an Art Center in New Taipei City. My photo documentation 'before-art-after' and the time-lapse-video of the same work will be shown. The organizers also have a list of ocean related activities during the exhibition period from 11.04.-07.06.2015. Please refer to the details on the flyer. 
 If you're not in New Taipei City at the time, you can also watch the time-lapse video here:

More info at www.yalac.ntpc.gov.tw



垃圾山水 / trash-land-art no.6, repulse bay, hong kong 2013

my works don't last. usually they only live for a couple of hours. this is the most honest way to make art for me. it is very close to the nature of things. coming and going. rising and falling. growing and decaying. in a traditional sense art has always been about halting the wheel of time, about trying to make beauty last. a good piece of art gives the illusion to transcend the ephemerality of life. a moment in time, capturedfrozen so that we may relive, refeel that same moment inside our perception, inside our reality, inside the here and now. eventually even that will go, everything will go, even the cave paintings that have lasted 35 thousand years. my works come from the opposite direction, they start at the other end. more like breathing in and breathing out, like tidal waves. trash comes with the pull of the moon. we come and see and recognize. then we collect, we curate and rearrange reality. then pause. capture and share. then we breath out, clean-up, carry the loads away. the sun sets. we go. quiet. there is always the question: is it enough? but we are too tired to answer it. not now. we're at peace. coming back a week later the beach is trashed again. press repeat: it seems to be the same beach, the same trash, the same effort. but it couldn't be more different. every installation is a story in its own. it has its own actors, time and outcome. the only constant is change. the only constant is the circle of coming and going.

'circle' installation, proposal for plasticity-forum, cascais, portugal 2015


words that matter most

here are some personal stories from this incredibly rich past year. because of these stories i am doing what i am doing.
'freedom to grow', the art of the umbrella movement, queen's rd.central, hong kong

one friday i sat at one of the tables on queen's road central. it was occupy time. and lunch time. two girls did their uni assignments in the ‘study area’ at the same table. behind me a carpenter made more tables. for more students. making space. building time. there was a general energy of helpfulness, politeness and presence. i myself did a plant carving dedicated to the movement. a women in her fivties sat down next to me with her lunch. she offered me some of the food from her lunch-box. we started talking. she was working as a warden in an underground car park. now during her lunch break was the only time she saw the sun. she told me she loved the umbrella movement: all of a sudden there was so much space in the middle of the city, there were people who had time, there were shared lunches and spontaneous conversations. you were not merely talking about the weather, you were talking about the things closest to your heart: about your ideals, about the future, about identity. it was the least thing i expected to happen in hongkong. i see hongkongers through different eyes now. i see that very near to the surface of conformity and obedience, there lies a deep longing for expression and freedom. when the women left she said ‘i love you’.

 '垃圾排檔 / lost'n'found', clockenflap 2014, west kowloon cultural district, hong kong
one of the most interesting conversations i had at clockenflap festival 2014 was with a toy designer. a plastic toy designer to be precise. she has been working in the toy business in china for over 30 years. so here we are, two women working with the same material, coming from exactly the opposite ends: she was designing and giving birth to plastic toys, i was picking up their remains after they had lived their consumer life. i have never heard so many up-to-date facts about chemical components, security standards, production procedures, recycling etc. and she was astonished about how much of it gets ‘lost’ in nature. funnily enough we felt very close. the last words were: 'i hate plastic' from both of us. 

'垃圾排檔 / lost'n'found', 'blue matters' campaign, ocean park hong kong

i was selling and talking trash at ocean park all day. as the closing of the park drew close flocks of people headed towards the exit streaming past the dai pai dong. ignoring the closing time a man approached the stall and looked at the items displayed on the shelves. after a while he said: 'my whole childhood is in this window.' and then he told me his story of when he was a little boy, his dad had given him a battery pack together with a tiny light bulb. exactly the same light bulb that i had found on the beach and put on display with the price tag 'response-ability'. as a boy he built a simple circuit by connecting the poles of the battery with the light bulb. it was magic. for hours he would hide under the blanket in his bed, play with the new discovery of electricity, read, think, sing ... it was his little world. just a blanket from the outside. his very own magic world inside. the man told me he works as a talk master for a radio station in hong kong. 'thank you' he said and left. i forgot his name. i will not forget his story and the moment it touched my story.

'mind your head' workshop for imagine peace 2014, pui o, lantau island, hong kong

judith and richard lang have been making art from marine debris for over 20 years now. they are from california, met on a beach and are still finding their art pieces on that very same beach. they came up with the term ‘curating the beach’. i love this term! 'curating' has its roots from the latin word ‘curare’ which means ‘to care for’ and at the same time ‘to cure’. by cleaning up a beach, we care and we cure that beach from its burden of trash. true magic is happening when not only that beach is being healed but at the same time it is us being healed. on the sunday of imagine peace 2014 on lantau island we did a nature walk to find trash&treasure for the workshop i was holding. we could all feel the magic happening. nature has the most forgiving and gentle embrace. there are no words for this. just gratitude. 

'垃圾山水 / trash-land-art no.11', shui hau beach, lantau, hongkong
i would like to thank each and everyone of you who has helped me realise my visions in 2014. everyone who has picked up trash and changed the landscape with their own two hands. everyone who has contributed to raise awareness and changed the inner landscape with their positive attitude. anyone who changed some of their consuming habits. anyone who has passed on the word, who spread the images or who simply read this blog. thank you from the bottom of my heart!