Amy Cheung
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To Be a Famous Nobody
Tourism on Cloud
Wonderland Taxi
Hong Kong Handover
Airplane Tram
Transparent Container
Game and Terror
Toy Tank
$ on China
Atom Ocean
Indefinitive Portraiture
Essay: Playing Devilís Advocate (2007)
staged cop car mayhem. The clanging sound of stone against stone reminds her of an ancient wind chime she once heard on a visit to China, sonorous but sad.

Intense debates on the destruction versus preservation of heritage buildings seem to order the transformation of urban landscapes in world cities like Hong Kong. Lamentable losses of monuments to Hong Kongís cultural identity in 2006 for the artist include the closing of the cityís oldest prison built in 1841 when it was ceded to Britain and the demolition of the fabled Star Ferry terminal to make way for a four-lane highway in the city centre. The latterís replacement by a new ďimagineeredĒ pier built farther out into the harbour on reclaimed land was not entirely unforeseeable given the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, the cityís latest entertainment draw, on Lantau Island the year before at costs to taxpayers recoverable beginning in a decadeís time. Hence, notwithstanding the artistís prospects of a coin-operated system with all profits from the destruction (minus production) going to the Save Our Heritage Fund in Hong Kong, there is no joystick or steering control presented to destination audiences for the Devilís Advocateís doom patrol (although Steven Shaviro, less sympathetic, would probably supply ammunition). Robbed of the self-maneuverable kinesthetic thrill this type of theme park ride uniquely offers (the solid granite vehicles cannot be boarded), visitors are relegated to
spectatorial status of the curious bungle of authorityrepresenting surrogates which they must pass in order to come upon the workís second component.

Inside what is essentially a large refrigerated meat locker, a tall steel structure, though modeled after the six-armed Power Surge thrill ride, disappointingly operates like a Ferris wheel, slowly rotating one round per minute like a beacon at the end of the long dark room. Sealed off from the incessant clamouring of heavy traffic outside and, to an extent, its larger mega-exhibition context, the mood of this room, cool and sterile, is more evocative of the controlled environment of a science laboratory than the uninhibited carnevalesque atmosphere of a theme park (ŗ la Mikhail Bakhtin). Instead of seats filled with love-struck teenagers hoping for the picture perfect perch (there is of course no spectacular landscape view to behold here), at the end of the wheelís arms are fragile transparent spheres encasing crudely-fashioned ice figurines of elderly people, which, while not sufficient in number or variance to suggest a city population, amply intimates the global ageing crisis. Previously, Cheung used frozen molded figures in Atom Ocean (2006), a morose vanitas installation of four humanoid creatures supplicating in a raised round tank and destined to eventually melt through connected tubes into their sand-sculpted counterparts below. In Devilís Advocate, observations on human fallibility and the transience of
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Playing Devilís Advocate
Essay by Alice Ming Wai Jim
This essay was written for the exhibition catalogue Star Fairy: Hong Kong in Venice, 52nd Venice Biennale, published by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, 2007.
All Content © 2007 Amy Cheung