Siu Ding agreed to be interviewed on January 10 in my small apartment with view onto the grand city. I try to understand people’s personalities by the way they go stand on my balcony and the awe they receive. Siu Ding immediately spent some time there and took a range of pictures with her polaroid camera.
(Photo by Siu Ding)
She was accompanied by her collaborator Ada Hung who would speak for her whenever there was a 2 or 3 second silence. I asked Siu Ding if we could meet more then once, explaining that I might need more than one session to interview her. She replied on the phone that three sessions would be fine as well. She seems to understand how these things go. Siu Ding and Ada Hung walked into the apartment and took some time to check out my home space environment and all its intimate objects, paying detail to my dolls from various stages of real and fake childhood. Both Siu Ding and Ada seemed to like my Belgian dolls. They are two home-knit country-style boys with their hands in their pockets. They are usually ignored by visitors because they are a bit out of fashion but they were actually made by a couple of friends of my grandmother.
After we had dumplings with leek and pork, and Shanghai-style beef on fat transparent rice noodles, I started the interview about her work as an artists and erotic activist. She showed me a little flipbook that she had made during one of her art exhibitions at the Shek Kip Mei arts residency. It shows Siu Ding in a gallery surrounded by her many portraits and slowly taking off her bra. It is one of the most delicious books that I have ever seen. I asked her why she likes to takes off her bra, as I had seen many (self) portraits showing her breasts, and she answered that she actually takes off anything she likes.
She likes to be nude or half-nude and she likes the post-industrial Hong Kong architecture as her artistic backdrop. In another serious of photographs, she is filmed totally nude in front of the many buildings (22) that she has lived in since childhood. It is an ambitious yet warm space that she creates in this project entitled ’22 Morning Street’, where she is cast as a tiny and almost invisible figurine who streaks and poses in front of morphing urban sceneries.
Siu Ding reached her full digital fame when she acted in the nude for a music video by the local indie band Forever Tarkovsky Club. During the time of this video in december 2008, there was a rumour going around the city that this indie band would actually organize a half-naked christmas party in Foo Tak building in Wanchai. A journalist reported the rumor to the police and the party got cancelled in advance.
We talked about this incident and many topics related to art, nudity, Internet culture and erotic activism. What I remember today are her comments about what it means to receive support and feedback from Internet users. It is of course always pleasant to be discovered and receive out-of-bounds comments, but what counts even more is the sincere and forceful gestures that feed you but could not be spoken out loud. Of course some comments would be exactly the opposite as people just pay lip service to the latest fad, but overall many commentators do grab the opportunity to say something sweet&special while remaining at a distance. It is so powerful then to develop a personality based on these meaningful whispers of others that could scarcily be recognized in the material world. As always, the point of a good friendship or rich event (or a memorable fuck) is to try to capture these gestures into another space. This is not a nostlagic vision that favors the real parties of the past with their unique smells and colors, but wants to go forward. It is about taking our new feedback friends into new liminal zones of deep touch and embrace. Yes, feeling it in the second week of 2010, with all its promises of swan song and deep changes, I know now that it is possible.