Yesterday I checked out the DETOUR 2009 exhibition at the old Police Married Headquarters on Aberdeen Street. DETOUR has been running since 2006, and is designed to stimulate creativity and dialogue about art and life in Hong Kong through appreciation of various art installations and design projects. DETOUR have completely taken over the disused historic building to transform it into a community space for play and contemplation. The ground floor which was an abandoned scrubby courtyard has been re-imagined as a sand-covered playground with deck chairs and huge inflatable balls, for you to sit and relax while music is played from the enormous speakers and images from the project are shown on a large screen. This is also the venue for many talks and performances throughout the fortnight. The unmissable talking point of the courtyard is the red-painted bamboo bridge that looms overhead, connecting one side of the building with the other.
Leaving the courtyard and beginning to explore the abandoned apartment rooms, you feel like you are a voyeur as you peep through windows and linger in doorways to gaze at the exhibitions. A huge effort has been made to fill almost every room with something thought-provoking, including a “Pimp my Pushcart” installation where street pushcarts are souped up and given a new lease of life as an uber-luxe baby pram for example. Climbing up through the floors you’ll come across a room completely floored with deep cotton wool (the tiny kids at the event were LOVING this), an exhibit dedicated to the appreciation of all the bakery and confectionary Hong Kong has to offer, and the intriguing and mysterious Room 414. Room 414 has been designed by the brand, G.O.D, and is actually the room that Donald Tsang grew up in.
DETOUR 2009 is a really enjoyable experience, and definitely thought-provoking, particularly when it comes to Hong Kong’s heritage and city-planning. The setting of the Police Married Headquarters is extremely successful and it is a rare treat to step inside a piece of history that is so untouched by time. Stop by until the 9th December – make sure you don’t miss out!