Photos by Terence Leung

This is an extension of my participatory art project The Ambiguous Fortune CookieIt was shown as part of the inclusive performance Beyond Words, curated by Kingsley Ng, at Freespace of West Kowloon Cultural District,

Working with the Hearing-Impaired community in this performance, many of the participants were hearing impaired. Together with live interpreters and pre-recorded videos, I facilitated the performance using minimal verbal communications while encouraging everyone to communicate with each other using facial expressions, body language and digital written pads.

The memory and perception of food were the main “ingredient” in this performance. The theme this time is "sense of belonging", which was explored through creating personalised fortune cookies together with participants. Participants were invited to bring along an ingredient that recalls a moment relating to the theme. They then shared their stories with everyone with no verbal language and followed by making their own version of fortune cookies using the ingredients they brought in.

By mixing in a personal ingredient into the fortune cookies, the cookies become carriers for the participant's unique memory of "sense of belonging", which could be shared with other participants. 

The visual aesthetics of the final products were not the focus in this work but rather the creative process itself. Can the connections and relationships among participants, and the individual as well as we co-created memories, be an intangible aesthetic of its own? 

The starting point of the project is inspired by my first cultural shock in which I encountered a fortune cookie for the first time in a Chinese restaurant in New York. This experience sparked to a self-questioning process reflecting on my identity. For me, fortune cookies are synonymous to cultural ambiguity but also to cultural integrations. They embody both a sense of self-displacements as well as a sense of belonging. For more details, please visit The Ambiguous Fortune Cookie. 



This project is part of a research titled “Hacking Capitalism – Socially Engaged Art through Alternative Art Economies and Social Entrepreneurship”, conducted by Assistant Professor Kingsley Ng at the Academy of Visual Arts at Hong Kong Baptist University. Please visit Creative Social for more details.




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