Spinning East Asia – Series I: A Compass in Hand

Italiano (Italian)

*Featured photo: Hou I-Ting, LI̍K-SÚ TSIAM-TSÍ LÂNG — The Women of Empire No. 19, 2019; Image cortesy: Hou I-Ting

A cross-disciplinary look into the East Asian Art & Design Landscape

CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) launches Spinning East Asia Series I: A Compass in Hand, an ambitious group exhibition of 15 prominent individuals and collectives of artists-designers engaging with the notion of ‘East Asia’. The first chapter in a series of two, A Compass in Hand, seeks to address how East Asia’s historical, social and ideological landscapes are accepted and shaped by various individual and collective forces through the lens of design and textile.

Nagashima Rikako, SCRAP_CMYK, 2019. Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

East Asian: Reimagined Beyond Geographical Boundaries or Identity Politics.

A Compass in Hand sets out to reimagine and revisit the complex and contested notion of ‘East Asia’ as one that exists beyond geographical boundaries or identity politics. Through showcasing a selection of typographic designs, interactive and immersive installations, and multi-media works, the exhibition balances the seriousness of the East Asian concerns with a touch of playfulness to curate an alternative cultural experience for its visitors.

Ahn Sangsoo, Letterworks: HOLLYEORA! 1/ Letterworks: HOLLYEORA! 2/ Letterworks: HOLLYEORA! 3/ Letterworks: HOLLYEORA! 4, 2021. Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

Works, like the moving graphics installation by Japanese designers Iguchi Kota, Mieno Ryu and Nakata Takuma, explore intricate linkages between cultural contexts and typesetting and design.

Works by Iguchi Kota, Mieno Ryu & Nakata Takuma. Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

The exhibition at once examines microscopic observations of the individual as well as macroscopic perspectives of collective forces while addressing the region’s era-defining social phenomena, from mass surveillance to various subcultures, to influencer economy – themes that are captured and considered with humour in Korean artist Kim Hwang’s performance work, which will take place on-site during the exhibition period.

Kim Hwang, Good Good Market, 2021. Image courtesy: Kim Hwang

East Asia: Interactivity 

A major attraction of the exhibition lies in the interactivity of the exhibition works. Visitors to the exhibition can expect to engage with a traditional games-inspired interactive set by designer and researcher Hugh Davies and a see-saw installation by design collective BCXSY to experience how their interactions alter, complete or complicate the works on display. 

As with previous seasons, a large-scale installation Special Display: CHAT at The Mills will be unveiled at The Hall of The Mills. Welcoming the public from 11 December 2021 to 9 January 2022, this installation titled Sewing Fields: CHAT Living Room by artist Hou I-Ting recreates three living room spaces. The installation challenges our understanding of urban space, locations of labour and the relationship between leisure and daily life through manipulations of archival images from the CHAT Collection.

Throughout the season, CHAT also invites participants to join the artist in a series of embroidery workshops to contribute to and continue the artist’s work on archival and personal photographs.

New Commissions Works by CHAT

CHAT will unveil 5 new commissioned works with artists and designers, namely Adonian Chan/ Julius Hui/ Chris Tsui, Hou I-Ting, Li Zhiqian/ Liu Yi, Spatial Anatomy and Wang Zhi-Hong. Visitors to the exhibition will first encounter the work by Chan, Hui and Tsui, which takes reference from Cantonese interjections and their unique association with tonal expressions.

Adonian Chan, Julius Hui & Chris Tsui, The Wall, 2021. Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

Visitors will then be greeted by a heat sensory installation created by Li and Liu which reacts to the environment and represents the dynamic movement between centre and boundaries of hanzi and civilisation.

Li Zhiqian & Liu Yi, Fibre, 2021. Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

An installation at one end of the CHAT Arcade by Spatial Anatomy recreates a North Korean textile factory floor, and elsewhere, Wang Zhi-Hong produces an imitated set of limited-edition marketing collaterals of the exhibition to be distributed on designated days.

Spatial Anatomy’s design concept of Myeon-bang, 2021. Image courtesy: Spatial Anatomy

‘From small objects to era-defining moments, from a single word to an ideology, our understanding of culture comes from our everyday experiences of varying depth and intensity that can be seen, touched and tasted. I believe that design can be a way of making and communication, allowing us to make sense of our time and place through ever-shifting perspectives,’ said Sunnie Chan, co-curator of the exhibition.

‘What we need to recognise with urgency is that the real cause of communication issues lies not in the difficulty of comprehension, but the willingness to understand. I hope that as you walk into this seemingly intricate “East Asia scene” with this frame of mind, you will find that many problems could be made simple,’ said Wang Weiwei, co-curator of the exhibition.

Celebrating the power of making, the new display titled ‘Textile for Food’ the third edition of CHAT’s yearly changeover of The D. H. Chen Foundation Gallery display was successfully launched on 1 October. This rendition presents the myriad uses and impact of textile and textile technique in Hong Kong’s food products, processes and presentation styles over the years. Through 9 brand new display shelves covering themes from tea bags used in dai pai dong and cha chaan teng, food packaging, to culinary style icon Lisa Fong, visitors are invited to explore the diverse forms and functions of textile in local food culture.

‘We are thrilled to introduce the artistic cartography of East Asia by prominent artists and designers this winter season. Challenging preconceived ideas, the exhibition attempts to illustrate the complexity of East Asia – its sensibility, radicality and reality. Aside from our seasonal programme, I hope visitors can enjoy the ingenuity of Hong Kong people in adapting textile in their food culture as showcased in our permanent display. It is my sincere wish that our audiences will enjoy CHAT’s curatorial venture and find their own inspirations!’ said Takahashi Mizuki, Executive Director and Chief Curator of CHAT.

Image courtesy: CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile), Hong Kong

Exhibition Details:

Title:      Spinning East Asia Series I: A Compass in Hand
Date:     27 November 2021 – 27 February 2022
Opening Hours: 11:00am-7:00pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Venue: CHAT, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

About CHAT

CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) is an art centre located at The Mills, the former cotton-spinning mills of Nan Fung Textiles in Tsuen Wan. Through its multifaceted curated programmes, which include exhibitions and co-learning programmes, CHAT aims to be an art centre that weaves creative experiences for all, inviting visitors to experience the spirit of the innovative legacy of Hong Kong’s textile industry and engage in new dialogues and inspirational journeys that interweave contemporary art, design and heritage.

General Enquiries:

CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) | | +852 3979 2301
RSVP for events at

Artists and Designers: 

Ahn Sangsoo/ Choi Moonkyung/ Park Chanshin
Adonian Chan/ Julius Hui/ Chris Tsui
Hugh Davies
Guo Cheng
Hou I-Ting
Iguchi Kota/ Mieno Ryu/ Nakata Takuma
Kim Hwang
Lau Chi Chung
Li Zhiqian/ Liu Yi
Lu Yang/ Takahashi Naotaka
Nagashima Rikako
Spatial Anatomy
Wang Zhi-Hong
Alice Wong


Chen Zian
Hyun Seewon
Kong Yuye
Charles Lai
Ian Lynam
Ren Jie