- Located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, this museum has plenty of interactive exhibits that use your senses and inspire thought – here’s what you should see
- Every week, Talking Points gives you a worksheet to practise your reading comprehension with questions and exercises about the story we’ve written
Three cinema houses, a learning hub, countless exhibits, and a gorgeous rooftop garden overlooking Victoria Harbour. Can you even call this place a museum?
But it is called M+ for a reason. It is a Museum Plus Other Stuff. Museum Premium.
On November 12, opening day, thousands flocked to the West Kowloon Cultural District to peek inside this grandiose building. Decades in the making, M+ aims to be Asia’s first museum for art, design, architecture and moving image. It also has quite a few surprising elements.
For starters, don’t expect juicy toro or hamachi sashimi when you see the Kiyotomo Sushi Bar sign. The restaurant’s interior was dismantled in Tokyo, packed into shipping containers and reconstructed to be one of the museum’s prized exhibits. Instead of feeding your stomach, the work is a feast for the eyes.
This fake sushi bar is only one of countless interactive pieces that will make you contemplate life’s small details.
And one of the best parts about M+? It’s free for the first 12 months. But before you rush to the website to reserve tickets, take a look at these five highlights. With more than 1,500 works, you need to prioritise what to see.
Sonic Topologies: Hong Kong
Location: South Galleries
Usually, it is offensive to touch art. But this abstract piece created by MetaObjects and Ryo Ikeshiro requires your movement to complete the experience. As your hands hover above different sections of the art – a 3D replica of Yamazaki Tsuruko’s painting Work – it leads you on a journey around the city through your senses.
You may be surprised as the noises come from all directions, but listen closely. Do you recognise anything? How does it relate to the artwork?
Location: The Cabinet
For anyone who loves expressing an opinion, this interactive space is for you. The Cabinet pushes you to give your interpretation of different pieces of art.
In the room, there are 40 movable panels that change every two hours. In the room’s centre is a projection that displays various questions you can answer using the iPads provided or on your personal device.
Here, you won’t just be given a “correct” answer – you need to interpret the art on your own.
The Letter Writing Project
Location: South Galleries
Once you enter the room for this piece by Lee Mingwei, you’ll see three booths where you can write letters with the paper and pens provided.
Each booth is distinct. The height of each table is different, so you can sit, stand or kneel to write.
In this peaceful environment, you can reflect on life and compose a heartfelt letter to someone special. Your letters can be sent from the museum or left for others to read.
Stratégie en Chambre (translates as “armchair strategy”)
Location: West Gallery Annex
Venture to the back of the room, where you’ll find – after waiting behind a long queue of other visitors – a large head resembling former US president Bill Clinton on a mountain of newspapers sprawled across the floor.
While this might look like an art classroom at school, the installation was created by Wang Du to embody his realisation that media outlets were telling different stories during the war in Kosovo that broke out in 1998. His work emulates a war zone, and in it, various “truths” conflict.
Whether you like this message or not, it is a great chance to get close to Bill Clinton’s head and see Barbie dolls circle a clay-figure child holding a gun.
Flower in the Mirror
Location: Main Hall Gallery
This moving visual display by Kongkee is in a secluded space. Mirrors surround the screen and reflect eye-catching animations in bright colours.
As you sit and reflect on the bright images moving in front of you, try crafting a story in your head. See if you can recognise anything familiar in the abstract images. The story might feel difficult to decipher, but that is the best part – let your imagination do the interpreting.
Click here to download a printable worksheet with questions and exercises about this story. Answers are on the second page of the document.