virtual gallery space

FLOCK (shown here in the deTour 2020 virtual space) is an interactive artwork by Whatever Inc. and one of Shin Wong’s favourites from this year’s festival

Born in Taipei and raised in New Zealand, Shin Wong is a global creative influencer and this year’s curator-at-large of Hong Kong’s art and design festival deTour. Ahead of the festival’s virtual launch on Friday, LUX speaks to Wong about her favourite work at this year’s edition, the value of digital platforms and her love of French decadence

black and white portrait

Shin Wong

1. This is the first year that deTour is taking place online. Whilst this is clearly driven by the pandemic, do you think this format can offer added value to arts festivals and fairs in general?

Definitely! The mission of deTour is to introduce design talents from Hong Kong to the rest of the world and vice versa. It is also a perfect platform to showcase new innovative designs from overseas to the greater China region audiences. Through virtual connection, I believe we can bring like-minded people together, explore ideas and job opportunities, and moreover, celebrate the joy of creativity wherever you are.

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2. Can you tell us more about this year’s festival theme and your role in the curation process?

The theme this year is the “Matter of Life”. With all what’s happening around the world and the big social movement in the city last year, this is probably the most important and relevant topic we could reflect on. The pandemic gave us extra time to rethink what designers can bring to society today.

I am the curator-at-large of deTour and my job is to overlook the creatives and all the programmes from a holistic point of view. I’m kind of like a chef who is garnishing the menu, adding extra flavours and spice, except that my job involves inviting and commissioning awesome, best-fit designers and providing different perspectives for the team, curators and artists to think about.

monochrome art

The Book of Ashes by Cheung Hon Him at dePont 2020

3. What are the benefits of bringing art and design together in one exhibition?

I think it’s impossible to separate art and design! It is our job to find balance in how we showcase novelty designs and expressive art in a big-scale festival. The curation itself is a piece of art.

Read more: ‘I’m sick and tired of self-obsessed art’ says visual artist Afshin Naghouni

4. What design trends do you predict we’ll be seeing more of in 2021 and beyond?

Personally, I would like to see more work on sustainable designs. We’ve already caused enough damage to our world and we are all responsible to make it better.

digital artwork

God Catcher by Riyo & Obie at dePont 2020

5. Do you have a favourite era of art and design from history?

The French Neoclassical Period (Louis XVI era) where everything was over-the-top lavish, pure decadence. One can never get bored looking at the art and design from that era.

6. If you had to select one piece from this year’s festival, what would it be and why?

“FLOCK” – a simple and beautiful digital interactive work, celebrating life, love and joy. Exactly what we need! I am also a fan of Masashi Kawamura‘s work, and so we are super excited to have Whatever Inc. at deTour this year.

deTour 2020 takes place virtually from 27 November to 6 December. For more information visit: detour.hk