Urban Diary
未來故事 永續香港|Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales

Susi LAW: The Reach of Art

Susi’s name card introduces her as ACO’s cultural engineer. Based in Fu Tak Building, Susi develops cultural networks with artists and citizens, fostering the growth of art. She began working in ACO two years ago. Although Susi conducted field studies of Lee Tung Street before its demolition, the Wedding Card Street of old has since become the Avenue, a mock-European complex. Situated on the top floor of Fu Tak Building, ACO sits vibrantly between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. While Wan Chai has a more vintage vibe, Causeway Bay is packed with more entertainment businesses. The tram rail perpendicular to Fu Tak Building is also a major route for protests. The sound of trams and protestors has become an iconic part of the building.

The 14-story Fu Tak Building is a community for art and culture. 20 out of 28 units in the building are owned by a landlord in support of grooming cultural talents. Located on the 14th floor, ACO sells books and zines on literature, philosophy, and politics that are hard to find in larger bookshops. ACO also helps artists sell their handicraft, and organizes its own small exhibitions. As Susi explains, independent bookshops are a tough business, “books are a way to reach out to art lovers; but there’s still a long way to go if we want to treat book-selling as a business.” If Youth and Dawn Bookshop achieved synergy by doing business side by side, ACO branches out as a multi-dimensional space for culture. Thus independent bookshops from two different eras fight for their existence.

Together with authors, editors, publishers, and distributors, the bookshop makes up a part of the publishing industry. Susi and her friends are familiar with the industry’s hardship. If authors and editors could not make a living, this creates a vicious cycle for the industry. Taiwan tackled the problem by founding an industry friendly publishing collective. ACO and other independent bookstores also strive to change the mid-and-lower stream of the industry. An independent publishing and distributing collective could mean higher revenues for authors and editors alike.

In an age where people are familiar with Fu Tak Building, JCCAC, and Fotanian, could art become a part of everyday life? In Copenhagen, Susi discovered a park which has irregular-shaped basketball courts and fun slides. The park was co-created by artists and the local residents. True to its name, Art & Culture Outreach hopes to reach beyond Fu Tak Building. Susi plods on with the knowledge that art, in its own way, reaches far and wide.