Runscape exposes the unconscious zones of the city. The installation renders the back alleys of Hong Kong as transitional spaces in between high-rise buildings and quiet back doors. The runner plays with the invisible face of the city, freed from the codified signs of its exposed polished facades. The topography of the street is exacerbated with a multiplication of stairs, walls and in-between terraces. Another Hong Kong is revealed without the constrain of a standardized grid-based society. Here social control crashes into the mirror of infinity. Within the unlimited division of urban structures, this oblique translation generates an extremely open-ended and fluid approach where new territories can be explored as we engage the sensorial impact of the performer though the grid.
Runscape, HD video @ 24.18 minutes, stereo sound, 2010
The piece 'Hong Kong is Our Museum' (2006) exists in space as a white neon sign conveying the titular phrase in playful handwriting; it also refers to an initiative to produce exhibitions and other projects in uncommon urban and rural contexts. Similarly, MAP Office used the same phrase to characterize impromptu exhibitions held within their indoor/outdoor working space, hosting especially video screens that would make use of neighboring buildings as projection surfaces. The concept of Hong Kong as a museum, arising partly from the fact that the city lacks a dedicated contemporary art museum, moves in two directions: when living space becomes a site for production and exhibition, installations are forced to interact with domestic space while the territory of the personal simultaneously absorbs the external urban environment.- Robin Peckham
Hong Kong Is Our Museum, white neon light, 120 x 18 cm, 2006
MAP OFFICE is an interdisciplinary design and research platform conceived by Laurent Gutierrez (1966, Casablanca, Morocco) and Valérie Portefaix (1969, Saint-Etienne, France). Based in Hong Kong since 1996, both epitomize a new breed of artists who are rethinking the socio-political agencies of the built enviroment. Their projects focus on territorial strategies of global spaces, involving a critical analysis of spatial and temporal anomalies and documentation of the ways in which human beings subvert and appropriate spaces for their own uses. Today, MAP OFFICE works with parallel practices across visual art, publishing, writing, design, exhibition design, teaching. A sense of play exists in much of their collaborative work, through a practice including text, drawing, photography, video and the creation of new platforms of communication.