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Alice Wong, US & THEM, 2019

Spinning East Asia Series I: A Compass in Hand

27 November 2021 - 27 February 2022



CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) launches Spinning East Asia Series I: A Compass in Hand, an ambitious group exhibition of 15 prominent individuals and collectives of artists-designers engaging with the notion of ‘East Asia’.

The first chapter in a series of two, A Compass in Hand seeks to address how the historical, social and ideological landscapes of East Asia are accepted and shaped by various individual and collective forces through the lens of design and textile.

East Asian: Reimagined Beyond Geographical Boundaries or Identity Politics
A Compass in Hand sets out to reimagine and revisit the complex and contested notion of ‘East Asia’ as one that exists beyond geographical boundaries or identity politics. Through showcasing a selection of typographic designs, interactive and immersive installations, and multi-media works, the exhibition balances the seriousness of the East Asian concerns with a touch of playfulness to curate an alternative cultural experience for its visitors. Works, like the moving graphics installation by Iguchi Kota, Mieno Ryu and Nakata Takuma, references textile’s materiality and implications in the world’s social, political, economical and cultural contexts. The exhibition at once examines microscopic observations of the individual as well as macroscopic perspectives of collective forces, while addressing the region’s era-defining social phenomena, from mass surveillance, to various subcultures, to influencer economy, which is none the more aptly encapsulated by Kim Hwang’s performance work to take place on-site during the exhibition period.

East Asia: Interactivity
As a counterpoint to the complex ideologies presented, a major thread through the exhibition lies in the interactivity of the exhibition works. Visitors to the exhibition can expect to engage with a games-inspired installation by Hugh Davies and a see-saw installation by BCXSY to experience how their interactions alter, complete or complicate the works on display.

As with previous seasons, a large-scale installation Special Display: CHAT at The Mills will be unveiled at The Hall of The Mills. Welcoming the public from 11 December 2021 to 9 January 2022, this installation titled Sewing Fields: CHAT Living Room by artist Hou I-Ting recreates three living room spaces. The installation challenges our understanding of urban space, locations of labour and the relationship between leisure and daily life through manipulations of archival images from the CHAT Collection. Throughout the season, CHAT also invites participants to join the artist in a series of embroidery workshop to contribute to and continue the artist’s work on archival and personal photographs.

New Commissions Works by CHAT
CHAT will unveil 5 new commissioned works with artists and designers, namely Adonian Chan/ Julius Hui/ Chris Tsui, Hou I-Ting, Li Zhiqian/ Liu Yi, Spatial Anatomy and Wang Zhihong. Visitors to the exhibition will first encounter the work by Chan, Hui and Tsui, which takes reference from Cantonese interjections and their unique association with tonal expressions. Visitors will then be greeted by a heat sensory installation created by Li and Liu which reacts to the environment and represents the dynamic movement between centre and boundaries of hanzi and civilisation. An installation at one end of the CHAT Arcade by Spatial Anatomy recreates a North Korean cotton spinning factory floor, and elsewhere, Wang Zhihong produces a set of limited edition semi-fictional marketing collateral of the exhibition as a visual play on design and typography.


CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) is an art centre located at The Mills, the former cotton-spinning mills of Nan Fung Textiles in Tsuen Wan. Through its multifaceted curated programmes, which include exhibitions and co-learning programmes, CHAT aims to be an art centre that weaves creative experiences for all, inviting visitors to experience the spirit of the innovative legacy of Hong Kong’s textile industry and engage in new dialogues and inspirational journeys that interweave contemporary art, design and heritage.


27 November 2021
27 February 2022
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