South Ho, Defense and Resistance, 2013, inkjet print and bricks, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.
A neon sign of the Chinese characters that translate as "Unbeatable Sea View" casts a gentle blue glow that reflects off the adjacent and opposing white walls, basking the entire, otherwise dim, barrack of the exhibition space, which was once an explosives magazine built by the British Army, in an eerie blue. The piece by Ko Sin Tung was part of the group exhibition Breathing Space presented by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center. The irony in her statement is clear: There is no sea view. Under the repurposed bunker's low ceilings, it felt like there was no breathing space either. Instead, Ko suggests that we are locked in our own psychological prison. An unbeatable sea view, which can only be had in residences that are built on prime real estate, is what many Hongkongers spend their entire lives working for, and yet can only dream of attaining.