JOANNE OOI / CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR / HONG KONG


How can politics encourage creativity and innovation?
Governments need to provide cheap space and resources in order for artists to pursue their vocation full time. Art and creativity require a high degree of risktaking and trailblazing. Recognition and reward are never overnight. For example, rents in Hong Kong severely penalise commercial uncertainty, making it very difficult for would-be artists to hang out their shingle and do something unprecedented and daring.

What do you like best about Hong Kong?
No doubt about it: I love the efficiency and can-do attitude of Hong Kong and its people. Other than that, though, it is generally a cultural desert, where you live in an artistic-creative-intellectual terrarium of your own making. If you don’t possess the capacity for intellectual self-nurturing, Hong Kong is a tough place.

What should the world know about your work?
Whatever I am doing, I seek to influence minds, whatever the substance of the message. Despite the seeming zigzag of my career from design to biotech to environmentalism, the entire thing is underpinned by my desire to engineer perceptual shifts in consumption and culture. If I have been even partially successful is a totally different question. I choose new topics and challenges that force me to confront my total ignorance and attain mastery of totally new areas of knowledge
and thinking.

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