Dark Fluid Collective: Clip 3
In this third clip, the conversation starts with the topic of science fiction and dystopian fiction and how it can be used to reflect on issues of our present day. The artists comment on what these genres means to them, leading into a discussion on both the cultural value and the self-exploration that goes along with writing these stories.
Sci-fiSea LevelsClimate ChangeHong KongUrban RenewalConservationWater
Dr. Joanne Leow
Cattle Depot Artists Village, 63號 Ma Tau Kok Rd, To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong
10:40 Joanne Leow: I really like what you’re saying, as well, about shared…something like a shared empathy, because I think, on the one hand, when you’re talking about embodied performance it’s too…it’s almost the melding of a kind of relational, like feelings, but also very bodily—I mean it’s literally water, literally things coming up from people’s bodies, right, so that’s really interesting as a kind of resistance against that suppression. I wanted to ask, why this turn to science fiction, dystopian fiction? You know, thinking about it as…and the question I was posing, it is a very transnational tradition, like a lot of cultures have this idea of dystopia and science fiction, but I mean…what drew you guys to the genre? I know you’ve answered some of these questions, but…is it a way of kind of relating Hong Kong’s experience to other spaces as well? Or is it also about delving into Hong Kong’s experience and thinking about it through that kind of science fiction lens? 11:41 Angela Su: I think it’s a sort of…not only Hong Kong, I think, like all of the world with like Trump and North Korea and China, I think the world is, seemingly it’s coming to a disaster or whatever. So I think dystopia, or dystopian novel, it’s a good way to mirror our present and...and I don’t think that utopia is achievable anyway. So, with advancement of technology, especially in China, like people can pay with Wechat and, you know, they’re inventing robots to—as a medical doctor, like Chinese doctor. So, I mean, the world’s going crazy, how do we talk about what’s happening now? I think the best way is through science fiction, because if you write about the present, the world is moving so quickly, and then when the novel is published, after one year, two years, I mean, the world has already changed. So you have to think ahead in order to talk about what’s happening now. 12:45 Joanne Leow: Do you think, as writers—I mean, not as planners or politicians or administrators—what do you see your role in that kind of leap forward into time? You know, into a different…I don’t know, like when you’re writing your stories and you’re imagining this kind of leap, like how did that process happen for you, like why did you choose to do that? 13:08 Cally Yu: Tough questions, actually, it’s not easy to answer the questions. Joanne Leow: That’s good, I’m doing my job (laughs). Cally Yu: There’s so many conflicts, actually, because sometimes people expect a writer is kind of opinionated, and they want to have some solution or have some kind of reform to part the way for the future. But, to me somehow, writer is the observer, more an observer. Maybe you have other idea? 13:39 Pak-chye: (speaking in Mandarin). I think when we started we were asking about our future. After the handover we did not have many ideas about the future. This was a problem. So this was one of the main reasons for us starting this project. But if you ask me if there are easy answers to this question of the future, and I don’t think so. When I was writing my story, I wanted to provoke discussion. But what kind of discussion can we have? The situation in the past few years has felt really despairing. Everyone is really unhappy. I did not want to make the story too melancholic because I did not want people to think it foolish. I think the tone of the story is one of grief in some sense. (14:47) To me, my story is not really about the future but about the past. The reason for this is in the 1950s and 70s, I tried to imagine what society was like and I tried to reproduce this in my story. Before I had no experience writing these longer stories. They gave me a limit of 15,000 characters, and I really did not understand what that meant. So I had to think about it for quite a few months before I could actually put it into words. 15:47 my story has references to Hong Kong of the old. And that has a relation to Hong Kong of today. So it’s a remembrance. From the 1980s, we saw many changes in HK, including industrial migration. My story is about exploitation being moved away. Industries being moved away and many changes. Hong Kong’s manufacturing industry and development has really slowed down. My story is also about this context. 17:33 Cally Yu: (starts to say something)—oh, sorry, sorry, continue. (laughing) Joanne Leow: Cally will take over. (laughing) 17:39 Cally Yu: No, I just…because I’m taking quite an opposite path. I think Pak-chye’s more contextualized into Hong Kong policy—land policy, or kind of regenerations. But actually, I’m more on inner…I want to ask more about how or what is the human being, sometime, somehow. And the Umbrella movement, actually, bring us—I think the most important question is how we treat ourselves, how to take our life journey, how…where we’re going, the next steps, so I want to have the more inner questions, to me. And actually when I’m writing, I want it more as a self-exploration, to me. And of course it’s not finished yet, this project’s only a starting point to me. I really want to explore more, more…what we are looking for, and what the basic desire, the basic…all the desire we’re facing, and what is freedom to us, or maybe…and how the new [is] challenging us. Of course, I’m a teacher too, so that’s why…I can understand that you have so many burning anger and burning questions for the society, and how we deal with this situation and how, reflectively, how we treat ourselves. Yeah, so this kind of a inner question. But his story is maybe more on the culture side. 18:59 Joanne Leow: I think you need both, right. Cally Yu and Angela Su: Yeah, yeah. Joanne Leow: It’s very complementary. Angela Su: That’s why it’s an anthology (laughs).