Dear Friends of the Arts,
It has been a long while since I sent out the last newsletter. Due to personal and family circumstances I decided to take a break from making arts.
Now I am back making arts again, with a renewed focus on social change and finding solutions to help peoples in need. Below you will see two of my new art projects “MAKE IT RAIN” and “INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE“, along with a few museum exhibitions that included my works at the moment.
Thank You Very Much for viewing this newsletter, wish you a prosperous and a very Happy Chinese New Year!
Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung 洪天健
MAKE IT RAIN
A Social Practice Art Project
Make It Rain (∄MIR) is a social practice art project that aims to ask questions about our monetary system while alleviating poverty through microcredit lending. 50% of each ∄MIR sold will be used as microloans to help entrepreneurs in developing countries through the non-profit Kiva.org.
1 ∄MIR Bundle Sold = 1 New Kiva Loan
So far the Make It Rain (∄MIR) project has helped out 58 under-privileged entrepreneurs in developing countries. What’s in your wallet?
Inspired by complementary currencies like Bangla-Pesa, alternative currencies like BerkShares and decentralized monetary system like BitCoin, Make It Rain (∄MIR) consists of a limited circulation of 100,000 custom designed and printed currency called ∄MIR, short for “Make It Rain”- the action of throwing stacks of money up in the air. The choice of the name ∄MIR also stems from the Russian word “Мир” meaning “World”, “Peace” and “Society”.
The ∄MIR currency is strapped in 50 counts with a total quantity of 2,000 bundles available for purchase. The general public are provided an “investment opportunity” to trade U.S. dollars in exchange for this new currency. The initial exchange rate is $1 USD to ∄1 MIR.
Because of the opacity of the ∄MIR currency system, the more the ∄MIR currency is sold, the more its values increases. Similar to the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin, ∄MIR will not devalue due to a set limit in circulation. Patrons can check the latest exchange rate online.
Make It Rain (∄MIR) investigates the relationship between capitalism and our fiduciary monetary system. In 1971 during the Nixon Shock, the United States unilaterally terminated the convertibility of the US dollar to gold and rendered the US dollar a Fiat Money. The money we used nowadays is not convertible into gold, silver or any other commodity and has no intrinsic value. It is backed only by faith that it is an accepted medium of exchange.
By creating a currency that combines both Fiat Money (in this case the faith to the artist’s career) and Commodity Money (artist’s work as valuable commodity), the project examines the possibilities of the democratization of money by playing with the three functions of money- as the medium of exchange, the unit of account and the store of value.
- “Challenging the Corpocracy: When Art Confronts Capitalism” by Christian Sarkar, Huffington Post, U.S.A., Nov 2015
- “Make it Rain (∄MIR): The Social Practice of Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung” by Christian Sarkar, FixCapitalism.com, Oct 2015
- “Exhibit of works by activist artists is subversive, thoughtful, hilarious” by Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, Jan 2016
Station Museum of Contemporary Art
“Corpocracy” is simply the best group show I have ever been in. The show closes on March 13, 2016, so If you are in Houston TX surrounding area please make sure to visit. It will change your mind.
Beehive Design Collective
Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
Corpocracy (October 10, 2015 – February 14, 2016); a group exhibition surveying culture jamming, intervention, satire and viral strategies in relation to capitalism and corporate culture through the works of 13 artists. Corpocracy is the absurd reality of our society in which corporations and their interests are allowed to have dominance over the economic and political systems. Through the subversive imagination, the artist works toward a transformation of social consciousness.
“In a society where concrete commodities were few and far between, it was the dominance of money that seemed to play the role of emissary, invested with full authority by an unknown power. With the coming of the industrial revolution, the division of labor specific to that revolution’s manufacturing system, and mass production for a world market, the commodity was at this moment too that political economy established itself as at once the dominant science and the science of domination.”
– Guy Debord, “The Society of the Spectacle”
“GLOBALE: GLOBAL CONTROL AND CENSORSHIP”
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
THANK YOU for Reporters Without Borders German chapter for the invitation! Part of my series “腦殘遊記 The Travelogue of Dr. Brain Damages” is included in the “GLOBALE: GLOBAL CONTROL AND CENSORSHIP” exhibition in ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany.
My series about Chinese Internet Censorship is on the wall, on the table in front of my images are several different set of objects:
1. Data breached material from the Italian company Hacking Team that creates offensive intrusion and surveillance software for governments with poor human rights records including Sudan and Saudi Arabia: https://en.wikipedia.
2. In the middle is the book of the German photographer Martin Schlüter, who took photos of the German foreign intelligence service BND’s headquarters near Munich. Next to it is an access point for Wikileaks.
3. Third is the World Press freedom index published by Reporters without Borders (http://index.rsf.org/#!/). Next to it is are interviews from journalist, with projection from the German sub-organization of Reporters without Borders, the press freedom barometer (https://en.rsf.org/)
4. In the same room there is also part of a computer with Edward Snowden data that the Guardian journalists used. It was forced to destroy last year by U.K. government.
On the wall are the works of these photographers:
– Olivia Arthur (Jeddah Diary)
– Maxim Dondyuk (Ukrainian Spring)
– Tomomi Morishima (Vivi)
The exhibition’s aim is to expand public debate about the ever-present surveillance and censorship methods.
Knowledge is power. And power is possessed especially by whoever controls the flow of information. This applies particularly in digital culture, where all the information in the World Wide Web can be manipulated, uncontrolled. For a long time, a hope for new forms of democratic participation arose from the use of these digital instruments, but recently they have been misused as the ideal door opener for the surveillance of billions of people. Democratic states have long reserved the right to spy even on their »friends«, in all military, economic, and social aspects, and on all levels: governments, organizations, NGOs, and individual citizens are all under surveillance.
Besides mass analysis of communications metadata and massive access to personal data, there is increasingly open or clandestine censorship through manipulation or shutting down. Where the fear of this threat has no effect, the secrecy of important information is enforced, with methods ranging from hindering publication to kidnapping and assassinating journalists. Being at the mercy of overwhelmingly powerful authorities of control and censorship has become the conditio humana of our time. Today a large part of the public has already resigned in the face of a ubiquitous state and commercial surveillance.
This exhibition is based on the collaboration with a network of scientists, journalists, activists, and artists in some twenty countries around the world, and in cooperation with expert organizations such as the German PEN Center, the Chaos Computer Club, Reporters Without Borders, and such platforms as netzpolitik.org, digitalcourage.de, WikiLeaks, and others. The exhibition’s aim is to expand public debate about the ever-present surveillance and censorship methods, which is an urgent priority not only due to constant new reports in the media, but especially because of the extensive obstruction of the investigation of these practices.
Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
I am very honored to be part of this permanent museum installation, especially the fact that my arts are not being exhibited in the contemporary arts context but being part of a permanent museum exhibition that is designed for everyday families.
My works about Chinese Internet censorship are juxtaposed next to the following items:
- The modem used by internet activists during the 2011 internet shutdown in Egypt
- The logic board that stored Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA data at The Guardian
- Screenshots from Google/Baidu picture search of the word “Tiananmen”
The exhibition surveys this important moment of human communications history and I am very honored to be part of the documentation. That’s why I make arts :-)
INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE
In response to the #BlackLivesMatter
Each shooting target is superimposed with the face of a victim of police brutality, along with a brief details of what happened and the jury verdict. At the bullseye of each shooting target contains the quote “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The choice of appropriating police shooting targets signifies the racial disparities in our criminal justice system. It also represents that African-Americans being the primary targets of racial profiling in our law enforcement system.The use of red color represents the lives, struggles and bloodshed caused by the systemic and institutional racism.
The gray color of the bullseye symbolizes the “Gray Areas” of law enforcement and criminal justice.
SHIT WARS- THE SHIT AWAKENS
(WORK IN PROGRESS)
SHIT WARS- THE SHIT AWAKENS addresses the increasing polarization of American politics by Culture Jamming pop culture imageries including Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Games of Thrones…etc.
By employing the method of Détournement, SHIT WARS- THE SHIT AWAKENS aims to question the power of politics and its effects on manufacturing public consent, while investigates how the role of social media polarizes our opinions on global politics.
Currently SHIT WARS- THE SHIT AWAKENS is work in progress. The project will be debuted in early Spring 2016.
China’s International Relations and Harmonious World: Time, Space and Multiplicity in World Politics
“As scholars and publics look for alternatives to what is understood as a violent Western world order, many claim that China can provide such an alternative through the Chinese dream of a harmonious world. This book takes this claim seriously and examines its effects by tracing the notion across several contexts: the policy documents and speeches that launched harmony as an official term under previous president Hu Jintao; the academic literatures that asked what a harmonious world might look like; the propaganda and mega events that aimed to illustrate it; the online spoofing culture that is used to criticise and avoid “harmonization”; and the incorporation of harmony into current president Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream”.
This book finds contemporary Chinese society and international relations saturated with harmony. Yet, rather than offering an alternative to problems in “Western” thought, it counter-intuitively argues that harmony has not taken place, is not taking place, and will not take place. The argument unfolds as a contribution to wider debates on time, space and multiplicity in world politics. Offering analysis of the important but understudied concept of harmony, Nordin provides new and creative insights into wider contemporary issues in Chinese politics, society and scholarship.
The book also suggests a creative and novel methodology for studying foreign policy concepts more broadly, drawing on critical thinkers in innovative ways and in a new empirical context. It will be of interest to students and scholars of IR, Chinese foreign and security policy and IR theory.”
Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change and the Environment in Northern America
“Global warming interacts in multiple ways with ecological and social systems in Northern America. While the US and Canada belong to the world’s largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, the Arctic north of the continent as well as the Deep South are already affected by a changing climate. In Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change and the Environment in Northern America academics from various fields such as anthropology, art history, educational studies, cultural studies, environmental science, history, political science, and sociology explore society–nature interactions in – culturally as well as ecologically – one of the most diverse regions of the world.
Contributors include: Omer Aijazi, Roland Benedikter, Maxwell T. Boykoff, Eugene Cordero, Martin David, Demetrius Eudell, Michael K. Goodman, Frederic Hanusch, Naotaka Hayashi, Jürgen Heinrichs, Grit Martinez, Antonia Mehnert, Angela G. Mertig, Michael J. Paolisso, Eleonora Rohland, Karin Schürmann, Bernd Sommer, Kenneth M. Sylvester, Anne Marie Todd, Richard Tucker, and Sam White.”