HONG KONG, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 - From November 1 to December 15, 2013, audiences will be invited to ‘view’ The Social Contract at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong’s leading independent artist-in-residency space, dedicated to an international cross-disciplinary arts program. Upon arrival at the exhibition, viewers are invited to sign a legally binding confidentiality agreement, prohibiting them from revealing what they will see or experience in the subsequent spaces.
The exhibition engages the audience in the very production of art, with a method that engenders mystery but concurrently raises provocative questions around the ideas of honesty, authenticity, freedom and creation. Moreover, the artwork delivers participatory art to Hong Kong, a genre that is still in the natal stages of development in the scene. Showcasing the work of artist duo, A Constructed World, The Social Contract is curated by Heman Chong, as part of Moderation(s), an ongoing collaboration between Spring Workshop, Hong Kong and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam that generates special programs in both cities. A Constructed World will install the work during their three-week period as artists-in-residence at Spring Workshop. Their residency will span from October 14 to Nov 7.
The Social Contract is not produced until the viewer completes the artwork; it is the act of signing that creates the piece with each viewer, combining strands of performance, community art and the conceptual. The intent is to challenge the creation and consumption of contemporary art and to raise audience awareness of their role in the production of the work.
The title of the artwork solicits fundamental questions about human society itself, raising questions that have been debated by Western philosophers for millennia. However, the value of the project lies in its ability to generate critical thought on issues relevant to our society – integrity, transparency, responsibility, and the consequences of transgressing accepted conventions – notions particularly relevant to the socio-political scandals of late. A Constructed World state: “It is up to each member of the audience to decide and measure his or her own honesty and authenticity with regard to this event and exhibition. The real work will continue on, even in indecision, and is performed by those who came to look.”
The Social Contract requires imagination, risk, generosity and desire, both from the artists and the participants. Toying with trust is provocative, and the nature of this artwork has the potential to spark controversy. The Social Contract will expire on the 15th December 2013, after which participants are free to divulge the contents of the exhibition, thus re-igniting the performance in an evolved format.