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“Things Changed with Stars Shift”: The Labour Archival History of Hong Kong – The subject of labour in the bio-politics


Since the industrial development started from the 50s to Post-industrial society in the 80s, labour productivity is always the governance of bio-politics as labourers were built to “homo oeconomicus” by “Neo-liberalism” and become a controllable machinery of market interests.

This research project begins with the nature of labour, analyzes the bio-politics atlas in Hong Kong industrial labour productions under the influence of neo-liberalism. This project investigates of the political and economical transformation in “post-industrial society“ in Hong Kong, the pattern of labour productions under low technology level, the knowledge economy and the globalization of Hong Kong shipping trade and business model. The artist looks into how the labours get rid of the oppression of “animal laborans” and process to “subjective labours” with the technology of the self and their action practice.

“Things Changed with Stars Shift” (物換星移) is the art practice of the research, using the monumental literary work-“Tiangong Kaiwu” (天工開物), which is about agriculture and handmade industrial technologies by a Ming scholar, Song Ying-Xing as a blueprint. “Things Changed with Stars Shift” implies the despised industrial productions under the impact of Neo-liberalism. Crafts and its technology will soon be banned and become oblivious.

This research project is a general survey about the existing industrial and craft productions. By using the format of “things (物)” (machinery) as a form of life history, this project explores the trace of labours that extends from the “things” and digs up the mindset of action practice by the labours. Using the format of relief printmaking to engrave the texts and images of nowadays “Tiangong Kaiwu”.

The artist created through the corresponding research with the production technologies using the method of archival installation to organize, record and present. Through the way of referential file and recording of life, it is expected to turn the labour production technologies, labours, labour apparatus and labour products into the main subjects of the present days with the technology of the self.