Artistic carnival an insight into a battle of life and death

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 April, 2010, 12:00am

Simon Birch describes his latest art exhibition as a circus, and it certainly was one on Thursday night. The RSVP list for the opening celebration alone had 1,700 names. Who knows how many more folk just dropped in at his ambitious conceptual installation Hope and Glory in the ArtisTree's 20,000-square-foot space in Taikoo Place.

Playing P.T. Barnum - complete with a top hat - Birch the ringmaster offered CitySeen a quick personal tour before the crowds stormed the tent (okay, there's no tent actually), which featured 20 linked art pieces done in collaboration with a variety of artists, designers and actors - and with government funding to the tune of HK$2 million.

This visual art carny party had its own sideshows - one display included a skateboard ramp, which was put to use - cotton candy and caramel popcorn stands and Diesel set up its own games booth with T-shirts as prizes.

'It's an emotional circus,' Birch said. 'The whole thing is a journey, kind of like life.' It includes interactive multimedia pieces, video collages and even 3D television monitors. 'I don't think anyone has ever used this in an artistic display before.'

Naturally, the life and death dynamic in so much of the work is the result of Birch's own battle with cancer a year ago. While CitySeen is no art critic, with so much media, movies and pop culture reference used, we think it's also an interesting exploration of the paradigm between passive entertainment consumption and real-life experience.

So go live a little and check it out. Hope and Glory is open until May 30.