City Of Silent Satellites

Program text


City Of Silent Satellites...(2011)
… an interdisciplinary project by dancer/choreographer Christina Jensen and musician/composer Martin Vognsen.


The project was born out of a curiosity about the existence of empty buildings in Hong Kong, one of the densest and highest priced urban areas in the world.


Artists' statement

We saw a city striving toward ever higher density, yet we noticed pockets of air. Not the open spaces, parks and squares designed with a specific purpose but spaces inaccessible to the public, maybe forgotten. There is common ground between them. For reasons specific to each of them, they are not fulfilling their purpose, they are mostly inactive, on pause. They have somehow - at least for the moment - escaped the grip of lean efficiency or resourceful utility. As artists those spaces appealed to us. We set out to find these pockets of air. We brought our practice as performers in movement and music, and let the silent spaces affect us, whilst we in turn disturbed their silence. We decided to meet each site with an open mind and let it's unique circumstance, history and physical presence shape our work as side effects. Like satellites, these spaces are isolated and sending out signals that we can tune in to if we try.


What is it like to be in a space where we are not being bombarded with impulses fighting for our attention as we are accustomed to in a city like Hong Kong? What will our antennas pick up? How will we respond? Can we find meaning in a space with no purpose? Can we find purpose in actions with no meaning?


During a research period from October ‘10 to June ‘11, we have been spotting sites, both private to publicly owned, and inquired about the possibility to gain access. We eventually accessed and documented 12 of such sites but primarily focused our work on the top 5:


1. ATV studio, Ho Chung, Sai Kung Town
2. Sun Hing Shing Shipyard, Ap Lei Chau
3. Ma Po Po, Ma Shi Po, Fanling
4. Ma Wan Village, Park Island
5. Office Space, Somerset House, Quarry Bay
6. Former Discovery Bay Marina Club, Lantau
7. Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen Walled Village, Wong Tai Sin
8. Central Police Station, Central Magistry and Victoria Prison, Central
9. Wo Him School, Fanling
10. King Lam School, Tap Mun
11. Storage Unit, Blue Box Factory Building, Tin Wan, Aberdeen
12. Trappist Haven Monastery Dairy, Tai Shui Hang, Lantau


We were offered to work in shop 405 in Cyberport for a 3 month residency during July through September 2011. From ‘our base’ we have ventured out into the Hong Kong territory and brought back our findings in the form of footage, food, ideas, objects and different allergies. The dialogue with the spaces, their environment and the people we encounter becomes the work: all triggered by the idea of emptiness. We realized we are producers of space, the environment of each site became momentarily drenched in us, our sounds and movements, transformed into a work space, social space, and a performance site, what we see as a sacred place. Together with invited local artists we engaged with the sites as artists/performers, ‘recording’ the sites with our own bodies and senses, lenses and microphones. 


Our attempt to experience emptiness, our hunger was indeed never satisfied. Once we take the step, cross the boundary and enter its world, immediately pauses its silence, the silence has been silenced. At that moment we are faced only with ourselves and the physical site. An empty space is an idea, an abstraction and can live only in our imagination. The sites return to their state of emptiness once we are gone, maybe our actions have left minimal traces or we have just become part of its collective memory, for sure this is intangible and working between the layers of what we can simply see or hear. 'If these walls could speak' the saying goes, maybe the sites would tell our story.


This live performance is an ode to our silent satellites. Hosted by shop 405, we hope only to plant an idea, let it flutter and bat its eyelashes, whilst accepting and relishing that we, the performers and you the audience are producing this space together.



]separate silent spaces[
]events disturbing silent spaces[
]events triggering events[
]events in separate silent spaces triggering events in other silent spaces[
]separate silent spaces as one space[
]definition of empty space/nothing bordering with something[
]an empty space only exists as an idea but the idea of being empty fills the empty space[
]is a forgotten space empty?[
]an empty space with a history is empty because the past content is no longer there but the history still fills the empty space[
]as nomads we carry history from one silent space to another like a virus[
]silent spaces are not empty they are just silent[
]all silent spaces grow from the same soil[
]chains of events may be triggered at any given moment[
]we disturb the audience/the audience disturbs the space/the space disturbs us[
]the space as a score[


Final performance
Christina Jensen and Martin Vognsen
Joined by: Musician Paul Yip and dancers Jade Yung, Mayson Tong and Christine He
Location: Cyberport Shop 405, Hong Kong
Times: Fri 7th & 14th Oct 8pm & Sat 8th & 15th Oct 6:30pm sunset performance
(Free shuttle bus between Central and Cyberport)


Thank You to the following:
Alice Lam and Amy Yick at the Education Bureau, Amy Lee at West Island School, Adam Leung, Regina and Family, Chu and Shing at Zeta Teppanyaki, Hanne & JP, Adrien and Justine May-Para, Tang Kin Ling, Sammy of Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen, Pete Spurrier at Blacksmith Books, SNYK, Stephen Lee the estate agent, Linda Chan, Lawrence Chung, Jacky Tsang, Hugh Chung, and Joe from the Lands Department, Franklin and all the on-site cleaners and construction workers. Primary Sites related thanks: Becky, Becky's Grand Mother, TV, Bella, Gai Gai, and everyone at Ma Po Po and Ma Shi Po Village. Eric Wong at Sun Hing Shing Shipyard. Swire in particular Priscilla Li, Tom Andrews, Chantal Brill, Babby Fung, Natalie Ng and Kitman Yim.

Special thanks to:
All those working at Cyberport in particular Raymond Lau, Jessica Ng, Solo K.C. Chan who helped us to secure the venue. The team at YAF, Venus Tong, Kerry Liu and Wendy Kan, the technical duo Carmen Cheng and Wayne Wong, and videographer Franky Lung of Cubicspace. Also to Lindsey McAlister and Bloomberg Emerging Artists Programme.

Special mention to:
Jason Wong, Maria Wong and the other artist who have joined us during the process: Paul Yip, Chi Ho Chung, Yuen Jie Maru, Jade Yung, Mayson Tong, Terry Tsang, Kingsan Lo, Lai Kwai Lok, Christine He and Leong Wan Sing.


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