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Angela Su, Media- and Performance-Artist

By Angela Su

Angela Su © Angela Su

What would you say are symbols of your current situation or the current situation in your country?

Taking the red pill …

In Hong Kong, the Anti-ELAB movement* hasn’t halted because of the virus; in fact, the energy of the movement has been channelled towards a different front in the same battle. The Anti-ELAB movement is most certainly a major force in uniting the people of Hong Kong in times of the epidemic. Hong Kong’s government lost credibility long before the coronavirus arrived. As a result we were more than ready to take matters in our own hands, especially at the onset of the outbreak. Following the momentum of the movement, medical workers went on strike to demand border closure with China and protestors rallied against setting up quarantine sites next to residential areas. Rather than waiting for government officials to act, shop owners prepared aid packages for the elderly; Hong Kong nationals in the US who have been supporting the movement shipped 100,000 surgical masks to Hong Kong for medical staff and the underprivileged, individuals initiated research and development for mask production, and local companies and NGOs started to manufacture masks in February and have been selling them at an affordable price. And because of the movement, we have also grown accustomed to doubting the narrative pumped out by the CCP’s propaganda machine. We have long known about the tight relationship between the CCP and the WHO, ever since Margaret Chan’s questionable competence in handling the SARS outbreak in 2003, somehow propelled her to become the Director-General of WHO.

So take the red pill while scientists are racing for a vaccine.

*Anti-extradition bill movement: From the summer of 2019 onward, protests against a now withdrawn bill that would have allowed for the extradition of Hong Kong citizens to China, grew a millionfold into a civil disobedience movement for democracy and against the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong government.

How will the pandemic change the world? What do you see as long-term consequences of the crisis?

We will live in a deglobalized world, with free health care, universal basic income, legalized same-sex marriage, new family structures, fair distribution of resources, ethical use of technology, self-sufficient communities, ice cap back in the Arctic … and everyone will live happily ever after.

I really wish I could say that the crisis would reset the world in that way.

Epidemics and human civilization have been shaping each other in a deadly tango since the time of the Black Death. The laws and regulations that we have today were often the result of epidemic outbreaks. However, even if the COVID 19 pandemic brings about more than just a temporary rupture, there won’t be any fundamental changes as long as we are still in a neoliberal capitalist patriarchal xenophobic society. The long-term consequences could be wars over resources, severe internet addiction, implementation of ‘under the skin’ surveillance, or China and Russia competing to become the most powerful country in the world.

Capitalism prevails, humans accelerate their march towards annihilation or interface with computers, and animals that survive extinction take over the world. That will be our true salvation.

What gives you hope?

This question is always the last in a conversation these days, as if it is a crime not to mention hope after the discussion of a devastating event.

Things will get better, let’s be hopeful, I will be fine.

Hope is a big word, it’s as big as the concept of god, that is, if there’s a god. Maybe you see hope in the tiniest gesture of kindness, you may even see a world in a grain of sand, a heaven in a wild flower... etc., etc., etc. Maybe a painting, a poem or a piece of music is all you need to see hope… This split second of hope is enough for someone to carry on with life. I stopped painting long ago, my language skills are horrific, I am tone blind and rhythm deaf. Perhaps life becomes more tolerable or even beautiful with the volume turned down. So, I continue to be delusional, thinking that someone’s art or even my work could miraculously touch someone in a far-away remote corner of the world and this person might bring about changes that save humankind.

I take Lars von Trier’s Melancholia to heart – when you expect the worst, nothing shocks you anymore, you joyfully welcome the end of the world.

Sadly, there will be no apocalypse … and so it goes …