Samantha Culp

Democracy and Penguins – Hong Kong 15 Years Later

“北極有企鵝,香港有民主” – “The North Pole has Penguins, Hong Kong has Democracy” –
(note: this joke only makes sense if you remember that only the South Pole has penguins…)

I forgot that these DIY-stencil magnets, ordered back in 2009 from a fellow friend of iconic HK indie band My Little Airport, were still on my old water-dispenser in Beijing, until I stumbled across them again today of all days.

Reading updates on today’s events from friends currently in Hong Kong (especially the Twitter reportage of Robin Peckham and Facebook photos from/of artist Kacey Wong), it makes me wish I could be there today. In lieu of that, I’ll post the essay I wrote five years ago for Purple Journal about July 1st 2007, the 10th anniversary of the handover. Though always cringe-inducing to revisit one’s old writing, perhaps it’s one small snapshot of where things were five years ago. It seems we can barely imagine what 2017 will bring.

An excerpt:

In the boiling park along with assorted artists and friends, Hong Kongers and foreigners both, we begin our march. We head West along Hennessy Road toward Central. I have never walked so far in Hong Kong before. Sometimes we are held up a long time behind the Falun Gong groups, who stop to do little dances or musical numbers with traditional Chinese drums, but that’s okay. We are in a sea of people: though the police, of course, estimate the turn-out at 20,000, the organizers put it at 68,000, and by the endless crowd, that number doesn’t seem impossible. We walk, and walk, and keep walking, holding our artist-made banners in the midst of all kinds of banners, watching the police watch us from the sidelines. Hu Jintao apparently knows about the protest, and while he’s not here, has approved of it on the grounds of the “civil order” of Hong Kong people. Today he is in Happy Valley Race Course, watching the “horses keep running”[1 马照跑] in a CCP-approved gala spectacle (pop stars, synchronized dance moves, official speeches, confetti). But Hong Kong’s people are here. The marchers keep marching.

(Read the full 2007 essay “Expiration Dates” here)


Tulou Open House – Preview Event in Hong Kong

In case you’re in Hong Kong, for ARTHK or otherwise, please stop by the Tulou Open House preview event on May 14 – this project has been in the works for quite a while, and we’re very excited to finally share it. Official press release to follow.

Tulou Open House: Project Preview in Hong Kong
Monday, May 14, 3 – 5pm
Afterschool Cafe
2/F, 17 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay
銅鑼灣恩平 道17號2樓
RSVP to Samantha Culp,

This Monday, please swing by Afterschool Cafe for a preview of the Tulou Open House project 2012 – a temporary, site-specific creative experiment and mini-conference taking place this June at a traditional Tulou (round earthen house) in Fujian Province. During this open-ended “expedition”, a diverse group of artists and scholars from greater China will explore the structure, symbolism, and everyday life of the Tulou as a laboratory for new projects and collaborations, a fresh lens for the concept of creative community, and a potential site for expansive future projects at the Tulou and beyond. The event will culminate in a public “Open House” event on the weekend of June 8-10, which is open to visitors and the local community alike, and will stage a program of talks, screenings, workshops, performances, guided tours, and artistic interventions.

On Monday, organizers Dana Wu (Friends of the Tulou) and Samantha Culp (New Territories Studio) will present an overview of the project, discuss its background and goals, and lead a conversation with HK-based Tulou participants and others who might like to join or learn more.


Leica x Swire Hotels Photo Contest: Beijing/HK

(by Madi Ju)

It’s not too late to submit your most striking snapshots of Beijing or Hong Kong to the Leica x Swire Hotels photography contest. Organized by my frequent collaborator Juliana Loh, the project invited four of greater China’s most talented young photographers (my friends Madi Ju and Xue Tan among them) to shoot Swire’s main hotels in Beijing and HK – the Opposite House and Upper House, respectively. They will then be judging public photo submissions for prizes like Leica cameras and hotel stays. Also important to note: “Entries from all over the world are accepted as long as they fit into the theme shot in Beijing or Hong Kong, photos do not have to be taken with a Leica Camera.”

Full details here and on their Facebook page, and hurry up to get your snaps in by November 30.

Terms and conditions:
-One photo entry per person, 300dpi, 1280 x1024, send to
-Name + email address + contact number + Facebook / 微博 username.
-Photos have to be taken in either Beijing or Hong Kong under respective city’s themes.

(by Xue Tan)

(by Han Chao)

(by Mandy Yeung)

View the full set here

Graphic Airlines solo show in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based graffiti/illustration duo Graphic Airlines has a new show up at Above Second gallery in Hong Kong through Nov 18, featuring some interesting evolutions in their drawing style.

Melbourne Memories of Hong Kong Cinema’s Golden Age

Some fantastic posters on the Phantoms of Pulp blog from the 1980s/90s heyday of Hong Kong film, as experienced from Melbourne, Australia.

HK’s movie industry was so prolific during this period, the author tells us, that “…in Melbourne, the Chinese exhibitors’ solution was to rent additional screens from the English language chains (Hoyts and the Russell Cinemas chain, for example) to play their surplus. For a die-hard fan like myself, it was possible to see between four and eight new releases each week. I have strange memories of frantically driving into the city with my brother on two or three weeknights per week to catch releases that were guaranteed no more than a seven day theatrical run…”

More reveries here.

The Races

(Hong Kong)

Wandered around ART HK 09 (lamely attempting to play paparazzi for Scene & Herd), saw friends, drank on rooftops, went to the track… the usual.


Full set here.

IMG_0049.JPG IMG_3705.JPG IMG_3729.JPG IMG_3779.JPG IMG_3781.JPG IMG_3809.JPG IMG_0066.JPG IMG_0075.JPG IMG_3838.JPG IMG_3841.JPG IMG_0081.JPG IMG_3849.JPG IMG_3854.JPG

Relational Picnic

Spring picnic in Chaoyang Park with friends (including visiting HK artist Lee Kit, who graciously supplied one of his beautiful cloths for us to feast upon).

Just in case you weren’t aware, it is not possible to enter Chaoyang Park at West Gate 1 and walk north to West Gate 3 within the park. Well, it is possible, but only if you are willing to scale chain-link fences and sneak through restricted horse stables and climb over the padlocked metal gates at either end of a decommissioned bridge…


Happy New Year 2008


Happy New Year 2007