WEEKLY

THE TIME TRAVELER
時光旅人

歲月不饒人,青春也不留人,但歷史卻等待人慢慢發掘。畢竟,歷史需要時間來造就、沉澱。一個逾百年歷史的中區警署建築群,經過十年翻新,搖身一變成為富有本土情懷的「大館」。鋪天蓋地的宣傳有否言過其實?大概沒有。館內的紅磚牆、花崗石雕刻、圓柱等殖民地建築的印記依然清晰可見,不難讓人有那麼一瞬間產生錯覺,誤以為回到舊日的香港……今期Chessman Post將向各位娓娓道來大館所築起的集體回憶。

保育為本 揮別昔日的沉重
大館的前身為中區警署建築群,其中前中區警署、中央裁判司署和域多利監獄在1995年被列為法定古蹟,奠定其歷史意義。而首座建築更早於1841年已建成,可謂陪伴香港人度過整個英治時期。為甚麼叫作「大館」?原來以前的警務人員和市民一直以此稱呼整個建築群。十年前,香港賽馬會宣布活化建築群,並將其定位為古蹟和藝術館,而並非單純的博物館。大館曾經背負重大的司法使命,如今凝重的氛圍已抹去,是一個讓大眾重新接觸香港歷史和文化之地。

走進大館,處處皆是歷史遺留下來的烙印。芒果樹開花結果,象徵警務人員的人事升遷;牆身的神秘壁畫,透露了監獄原先為羅馬天主教教堂;監獄操場一片空曠,是囚犯唯一可歇息和活動的地方。大館的建築和戶外空間雖說不上是目不暇給,但讓人實實在在地瞥見不復再現的歷史片段。

保留原始風貌 訴盡歷史故事
縱然大館的外牆、地磚、樓梯欄杆等設施都進行了完善的翻新工程,內裏的部分空間仍得以保留,凝住舊日的畫面。大館分別於營房大樓、中央裁判司署、警察總部大樓及各個監倉建構共八個歷史故事空間,並用不同的方式呈現歷史和人物故事,例如展出昔日的違反手令、重演矚目案件的動畫等,感覺新鮮而不落窠臼。

大館內有幾個空間特別值得我們仔細欣賞或感受。首先是域多利監獄的高牆,其有不少加建的痕跡,用以阻隔民眾的視線。一牆之隔,另一面商業大廈林立,亦有蘭桂芳等燈紅酒綠的地標,與囚犯過着的苦悶生活相映成趣。大館更努力把趣味性融入歷史文化,如用漫畫形式解說看似十分繁複的入冊程序,又設置多個拍照點。然而,比「打卡」來得重要的,是感受。閉上監倉的閘門,體會當時囚犯的茫然;或站在外面靜觀動態剪影,試着了解囚犯的生活節奏。大館的每個小小的細節,都點染了歷史的真實感。

香港的一百個面相
在進入「大館一百面」展館前,已看到幾個由本地插畫家飛天豬所繪畫的人形紙板,像樂隊披頭四橫過馬路般站立着。「大館一百面」是一個多媒體展覽,共有五個區域:行大館、逛大街、入店舖、望中環、去茶記,呈現香港各個場景,試圖帶出社區與人的共生關係。除了飛天豬畫的《中環上河圖》外,館內陳列了不同年代的商戶招牌,更有聽覺上的驚喜──商業電台廣播劇《18樓C座》的一班廣播藝員聲演香港的小故事。同時亦設有錄音設備,讓入場人士分享自己與大館的關係,主辦方會定期整理收集到的錄音,並輯錄成檔案。

世界的形狀
即使你不諳歷史也沒關係,只要喜歡藝術或建築,大館同樣不會令你失望。當代美術館現正舉行《拆棚》及《六種練習:蘇詠寶個展》兩個展覽。《拆棚》邀請許多藝術家以荒誕的手法展現各種生活形態,例如用磚頭、鐵絲網,又或者拍成粵語長片,甚至借用周星馳的電影《國產凌凌漆》的十種武器呈現作品。而《六種練習》則以中藥材料思考事物的本質,更找來董啟章為其撰文,使人深刻領略藝術家的藝術實踐。一個世界,你有你的詮釋,我亦有我的見解。正與反,對與錯,誰能區分?世界的形狀,本來就充滿探討的空間。

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Time and tide wait for no man, and so does youth. But history awaits our exploration as it is made up of and accumulated with time. Boasting a history of over 100 years, the former Central Police Station compound has been transformed into Tai Kwun, where strong local attachment is formed, after 10 years of revitalization. Are the descriptions of Tai Kwun in the overwhelming promotion advertisements somewhat of hyperbole? Perhaps not. Upon entering the Tai Kwun, your eyes will be feasted with the remnants of colonial period—red brick walls, granite features and the majestic columns, as though we have traveled back to the old Hong Kong. This issue of Chessman Post will share with you some collective memories conjured up by Tai Kwun.

Eradicate the Heavy Atmosphere with Conservation
Tai Kwun is the former Central Police Station compound, of which the Former Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison were declared as monuments in 1995 as an assurance of their historical significance. The first building in the compound was built in 1841, accompanying Hongkongers for the whole British colonial period. Why is it called “Tai Kwun”? In fact, it is a colloquial name used by police officers and the public. Ten years ago, the Hong Kong Jockey Club announced the revitalization project of the compound and positioned it as a Centre for Heritage and Arts, rather than a mere museum. Having accomplished its mission as a law enforcement organization, Tai Kwun is now a place for the public to get a glimpse of Hong Kong’s history and culture.

Stepping into Tai Kwun, you will be able to trace back the long-forgotten history everywhere. A mango tree signifies the promotion of staffs. The mysterious mural unveils the fact that the prison was once a Roman Catholic Church. The Prison Yard was the only place for the prisoners to take rest. The structures and outdoor areas of Tai Kwun were not being revitalized exaggeratedly—the original atmosphere and setting are still retained in a fine way.

Reserve the Original Elements for Storytelling
Although the walls, floor tiles and staircase balustrade were completely renovated, some of the areas were kept to preserve the old appearance. Eight heritage storytelling spaces are designated separately in the Barrack Block, Central Magistracy, Police Headquarters Block and different prisons to showcase the historical stories. For example, you can experience the stories through scrutinizing the deportation warrant and watching the animation of the famous case.

There are some spaces in Tai Kwun that I think are especially worth visiting. The first one is the Victoria Prison walls, which shows the traces of reconstruction. While the other side of the walls are flooded with commercial buildings and the hedonic spot, Lan Kwai Fong, the life of the prisoners is in a stark contrast. Tai Kwun even strives to make the history and culture sound more interesting by using comics to explain the process of prisoner admission, as well as setting up a number of photogenic spots. What is considered more important than going to check-in locations, however, is to experience with your heart. You can close the prison cell door and try to feel the perplexity of the prisoners. Or simply stand out of the prison cells and look at the moving silhouettes of the prisoners. Every detail in Tai Kwun successfully gives off a sense of reality.

The 100 Faces of Hong Kong
Before entering the exhibition hall of “100 Faces of Tai Kwun”, you can see some cartoon foam boards in the entrance. The cartoon characters’ positions are like the way the members of Beatles crossing the road. Designed as a multimedia exhibition, “100 Faces of Tai Kwun” comprises 5 zones including “In Tai Kwun”, “Along the Streets”, “At the Shops”, “Central from Above” and “In Cha Chaan Teng”, displaying the mutual relationship of people and the community. Aside from Flying Pig’s drawing—taking inspiration from the “Along the River During the Qingming Festival”, there are many more must-see locations, such as different scenarios and signboards, and also the “In Cha Chaan Teng”, where you will hear the stories of “kaifongs” (literally means “local neighbor” in English) voice-overed by voice actors from Commercial Radio's well-known radio drama “18/F Block C”. You can also record your own stories with Tai Kwun there if you wish.

The Shape of World
For those who are not interested in history, Tai Kwun would not disappoint you. Two exhibitions, “Dismantling the Scaffold” and “Six-Part Practice: Wing Po So Solo”, are now being held in Tai Kwun Contemporary. A lot of artists are invited to participate in “Dismantling the Scaffold” to present the shapes of our everyday lives in uncanny ways. Some of them use bricks, iron wires or even make their work into videos. And some of the artworks are interactive—just as “Killing 3000” which is inspired by Stephen Chow’s film “From Beijing with Love”. On the other hand, “Six-Part Practice: Wing Po So Solo” allows visitors to re-examine the essence of objects. The textural works of this exhibition is done by Dung Kai-cheung, a well-known Chinese fiction writer, to sublime the artistic practice of the artist. In a world of diversity, we all have our own interpretations of things in our lives. How can we determine what is right and wrong? The world itself provides room for us to discover.

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #201

THE TIME TRAVELER

 

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