Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland

West Kowloon collaborated with three dance institutions in Finland – Dance Info Finland, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance, and Dance House Helsinki – to establish the three-year residency exchange programme “Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland”. Six dance artists from Hong Kong and Finland participated in six reciprocal residency exchanges in Hong Kong and Finland, staying together for 2-3 weeks at each residency. As the programme did not require the artists to complete definite tasks and production outcomes, it encourages the artists to explore freely and cultivate their own unique artistic development through the exchange process.
Participating artists include contemporary dance artists Ivy Tsui, Justyne Li and Wayson Poon from Hong Kong, and Carl Knif, Sari Palmgren and Linda Martikainen from Finland. Apart from movement research in a dance studio, they also attended different dance festivals (including the biggest Nordic dance festival “ICE HOT”) and local performances, led workshops in the community and visited art spaces, getting to understand first-hand the arts ecology of the two cities.
Through the “Creative Meeting Point”, we hope to provide a platform for artists to freely and continuously venture into new possibilities. Looking back, Ivy concludes the three-year exploration: “This experience was like repeatedly dissecting and stitching myself back together. Apart from widening my horizon to another culture, the programme trains me to continuously observe my own creation and collaboration processes.”
Creative Meeting Point allows the participating artists to stay at a place long enough to observe the local culture and art policy of the foreign city. This is becoming also an inspiration, “The body flows with the region, and my body and mind experiences the swirling nests, huge waves, tidal retreats, and lack of dikes. Looking back now, all the impacts have taught me how to set up ‘bridges’ that connect culture, creation, body, society, self and so on. The different things be connected in series, and develop a benign creative ecological chain with mutual cooperation.” Wayson Poon said.
Coming from the city that never snows, the white winter in Finland forces Justyne out of her comfort zone: “Creative Meeting Point brought me to this giant, beautiful but somehow cruel forest. I could truly feel the sacredness of the winter. This presented me with a challenge, transforming me to becoming this a unique creature in the snow. The freezing weather transformed my cognition and my senses, and as a dancer, I could only humbly and bravely confront and become part of the nature. This put courage in me to attempt something I would have never done otherwise.”
Although the three-year-project has now come to an end, participating artists took away a valuable inspiration from the experience and some interesting concepts have evolved, they will continue to create in Hong Kong and Finland.
To help establish an international network of resources, foster artistic dialogue and exploration, and realise possible co-production or co-commissioning of performance works, West Kowloon has worked with renowned cultural institutions around the globe to present a series of “Creative Meeting Point” residency exchange programmes. For more stories on international collaboration, please visit: https://bit.ly/2EVr9Sy