Taming Weathers: A Modern History of Hong Kong and Typhoon

驾驭天气:香港和台风的现代史

展览支持:香港信言设计大使

策展人:卞雨佳,葛蕊诗

日期:2019年12月

地点:上海梓耘斋(西岸)艺术空间

Taming Weathers: A Modern History of Hong Kong and Typhoon

Curators: Yujia Bian, Ruishi Ge

Supported by: Design Trust Hong Kong

Venue: TM Studio (West Bund) Art Space, Shanghai

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香港与台风有密切的关系,历史上也曾发生过多起致命的灾难。从十九世纪末期英国殖民者的叙述到当今的新闻报道,台风是持续笼罩在香港上空的气候现象。同时,人们对台风的认知也随着时间而改变。过去,对天气现象的恐惧使得台风被形容为“野蛮”,“魔鬼”或“夺命”的天灾。随着科学认知和公共教育程度的提高,香港居民逐渐以更平和的态度接受了这一气候现象。

成立于1883年,香港天文台逐渐建立了一个稳定的热带气旋警告系统,并由视、听两个辅助系统组成。此项目试图检视天文台警告系统的视听构建的起源。与此同时,视觉和听觉的认知方式也是西方现代主义启蒙运动的核心。正如许多哲学家和理论家所提出,视觉和听觉是不可分割的,然而随着参与主体主观的不断变化,历史和档案资料则侧面反映了所谓启蒙范例的不稳定。作为一个互惠系统,视觉系统通常需要使用声波系统协同工作,反之亦然。基于香港天文台的资料,此项目试图呈现视觉和声音系统在历史上的不断变化,并梳理了其时有发生的故障、问题和误解。

Hong Kong and typhoon have a close and explicable relationship, with many deadly ones, such as 1874, 1906, 1937, and 1962 incidents. From the narratives of British colonizers during the late nineteenth century to the news coverage nowadays, typhoon has been a perpetual weather phenomenon that looms over the sky of Hong Kong. The perception of the typhoon has also changed over time. In the past, the shock and fear toward the weather phenomenon often also ascribed it as “savage”, “monster-like”, or “deadly”. With increasing scientific understanding and education, people in Hong Kong slowly embraced this phenomenon with a much calmer attitude. Meteorological observations and forecasting together with preemptive design strategies, construction, and salvage operations are the parameters of this process.

The weather observatory in Hong Kong (HKO) was established by the end of 1883. Followed were two sets of warning signals that consist of visual and sonic systems. In tracing the genealogies of the weather warning system in the case of the Hong Kong Observatory, the project sees the inseparability of the visual and the sonic qualities that both constitute the weather-observing system. Vision and the sound are both constituting and assisting the very core of western modernity and its enlightenment project. Nonetheless, as many philosophers and theorists have suggested the coexisting and inseparability of the visual and the sonic, and the changing subjectivity of the subjects engaged, the messy historical and archival materials often suggest the unstable quality of this paradigm. The two systems work together as one safe-proof system, with the presence of the visual system often requires the use of the sonic one, vice versa. A reading of the materials involved in the Hong Kong Observatory indicates the constant systemic shifts over history, where failure, glitch, misinterpretation, and overlook often involved.

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Photos and video by Yujia Bian