In the Name of Secondization
Cantonese opera has always been central to the heritage of Hong Kong. The brilliant and intricate costumes exude a mystical power over the interpretation of numerous “cultural at large” heritage constructed by the then intellectuals, as well as the “subculture” shared by the Hong Kong community. As the new generation thrives in the digital world, the Cantonese opera culture is preserved and nurtured by the older generation. In terms of the “old” versus “new” experiment, how do we bridge the gap between the two? Are the two contradictory or complementary to one and other? What can we expect when the visual elements of traditional Cantonese Opera costume react to digital art form? This project invites the public to head into this uncertain yet interesting direction for inspirations.
JC Jessie graduated with a Master in Fine Arts Degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2016. She is currently a research-based interdisciplinary art practitioner, special topic researcher and culture heritage carrier. In recent years, she is actively promoting Cantonese Opera costume culture and its heritage in various art creation projects. Her “East meets West” & “Old into New” approaches reinterpret an ancient Chinese performing art heritage by deconstructing traditional cultural material found in Cantonese Opera costume, boosting new energy into her works through contemporary yet vivacious expressions in colour, media, structure, flow and materials.
Passing Down the Blessings of Cantonese Opera Costume
Cantonese opera’s splendid and vivid visual presentation, along with its lively music and singing, evinces the depth of Chinese heritage. In addition to enhancing the performance, Cantonese opera costume has long been carrying out the mission of giving blessings.
Shuffling the “old” of ancient material culture and the “new” from the digital realm, the transformation brought by the project encourages the public to discover new possibilities. This also enables the entertainment and communication roles of Cantonese opera to be brought into full play again, offering fun and blessings to the public.
In the Name of Secondization The Grotesquerie of JC Jessie breathes life into the fading history of Cantonese opera costume. The exhibition comprises mix media art installation Into the Clouds, interactive experience Catch Me if You Can where audience traverses between virtual reality and reality, and the displays of Cantonese opera costume and its related information. They aim to give the audience a better understanding of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage. Guided tours and workshops are also available to further engage and enlighten the audience with the exhibition contents, while stimulating their creativity. The exhibition contents are archived on the website.