Sampson WONG & LAM Chi Fai
Add Oil Machine
A “rehearsal” of Occupy Central took place in Hong Kong in July, 2014. During this event connected to the Umbrella Movement, occupiers were surrounded by the police for a long period of time and were isolated from the public. Observing the event, the artists came to think of the importance of “visualizing solidarity” in spaces where Occupy action unfolds. Building on their new media art project collaborations, they created Add Oil Machine and formed the protest art collective Add Oil Team.
Add Oil Machine featured a website on which global supporters of the Occupy movement in Hong Kong could leave their messages of solidarity. Throughout the more than two months of Occupy, supportive messages were projected onto the most visible surface in the occupied zone—a large wall of the Central Government Offices of Hong Kong. The projection became a symbol of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, as it appeared almost every night during the long protest. Add Oil Team has also collaborated with The Voice and Human Rights in China to project messages of solidarity from artists including Pussy Riot and Peter Gabriel.
Visit http://addoilteam.hk/addoil/ to experience the interface and browse photos of the project as it happened at the time.
After the Umbrella Movement, citizens in Hong Kong gradually initiated a discussion on the meaning of Hong Kong “remaining unchanged for 50 years” after 1997, which was the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration promise. Hong Kong people tend to read this promise as a guarantee that human rights and the rule of law will be protected for 50 years. As such, 1st July 2047 has been imagined as an “end” to such a guarantee.
The artists created an animation with a segment containing a second countdown to 1st July 2047. The animation, titled Our 60-second Friendship Begins Now, was shown on the façade of the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong in May 2016. Add Oil Team subsequently gave the nickname “Countdown Machine” to the segment and drew people’s attention to the numbers.
On 1st July 2017, in parallel to the official fireworks show celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, Add Oil Team streamed a video on social media showing a different Victoria Harbour: one that had no fireworks but showed an accurate countdown to 1st July 2047.
Email email@example.com if you would like to receive a mini Countdown Machine.
Mass participation in civil disobedience has yet to lead to democratization in Hong Kong. In the city’s Chief Executive Election in 2017, only 1,194 citizens had the right to nominate and elect. Up to 3 million citizens do not have equal political rights. On 26th March 2017, when live election news was all over television and the internet, the election actually only involved a few citizens.
Add Oil Team created Broadcast Machine, inviting citizens in Hong Kong who were not allowed to cast votes to go live on social media and show what they were doing instead. Citizens’ live videos showing that they were not participating in the election were aggregated to form a live video that was streamed online in parallel to the election news. Live streaming of the Broadcast Machine project was viewed over 100,000 times.
Visit http://addoilteam.hk/broadcast/ to use a meme generator connected to the project.
Sampson WONG & Chi Fai LAM
Sampson WONG holds a PhD in Geography from the University Of Manchester, UK. He is currently lecturer at the Liberal Arts Department, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
As an active artist and public intellectual in Hong Kong, he is often interviewed by global media and invited to give talks and make exhibitions worldwide. He has co-found and co-directed Hong Kong Urban Laboratory, the curatorial collective Emptyscape, and the Umbrella Movement Visual Archive. He has co-curated the emptycape art festivals, the Affordable Art Basel exhibition and Objects from the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and has curated the exhibition Introducing Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement (Physics Room and Te Tuhi, New Zealand). His artworks was exhibited in Hong Kong, Tainan (Howl Space) and Sydney (4ACentre for Contemporary Asian Art), among others.
Chi Fai LAM graduated from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. As an active new media artist, he is a core member of the Hong Kong New Media art group XEXGRP and XCEED.
He explores software art in his work. His individual work was awarded the Gold Award in Hong Kong Design Awards. His TEXTWORM was selected in Tokyo Type Directors Club (TDC) and 404 international festivals of art and technology. His collaborative works at XCEED are recognized internationally, and there works were exhibited in Ars Electronica, among others.
Sampson Wong and Lam Chi Fai have collaborated in art-making since 2010. Their collaborative works received the First Prize in Freedom Flower Awards, the Gold Award and Silver Award of ifva and were exhibited in the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Slought Foundation. They have formed the Add Oil Team to focus on projects concerning creative activism.