Hong Kong government hasn’t enacted Archives Law for official records; with the undesirable document management and tampering, obstacles are built in the way of public access to records. Open Archives Initiative is an online platform that allows general public to upload their historical records, the collective social archive will be submited to Public Records Office as part of the Hong Kong Manuscript Series (HKMS).
The project aims to establish a cornerstone for initiating a collective movement in response to the archives issue in Hong Kong; in addition, Archive of the People promotes and arouses public awareness on the legal establishment, and also generates momentum to pressure government.
A written record of enquiries and answers between Archive of the People (AOP) and Hong Kong Public Record Office (PRO), regarding to the legistative and inter-departmental records governance issue.
From the second quarter of 2012 to early 2013 (Before Central Government Offices move to New Tamar Site), Hong Kong government destroyed official document in linear length over 76,100 feet, which is equivalent to the height of 3 International Financial Centres (IFC). It reveals how badly the government treats records, which are asset of Hong Kong citizen; in addition, relevant government departments involved in this incident are discovered violating “Mandatory Records Management Menu” and dodging responsibility. Therefore, I took on a series of actions that concerning how government department and public servant understand their legal obligation on the public record issue. I disguised as a salesman from “AOP Document Management Company” and sold a “Document Destruction Service”, then I visited the department that destroyed the most documents. The whole process was documented in audio recording and still images.
Singel Channel Video (B&W, 1m 21s)
Unlike other Hong Kong government department website, Government Record Service (GRS) page doesn’t include the name of director and senior archivists. I tried to reveal the director’s true identity through contacting his colleagues, but they never mentioned his name nor surname. Finally, I got to know his name through limited online source, and I found his office telephone number on the directory on government main website. It seemed to me that Stanley To Sik-Hung (杜式雄) hid himself from the public and stayed in shadow ever since his appointment. Therefore, I conducted an interview with former director of Government Records Service (GRS) and Public Record Office (PRO), Chui Fuk Keung (朱福強), who explaint why this situation emerged and also commented on the deprofessionalization of GRS structure; in addition, I recruited four people that had cold calling experience, they invited Stanley To the exhibition opening and promoted Archive of the People document destruction services.
Unfortunately, Mr. To said that he was having meeting when we tried to contact him, and at last, through his secretary, he declined my invitation because he would be having another meeting on 14th May 2014.
Commissioned by Para Site, Archive of the People is exhibitioning at Art Basel HK 14 from 14 to 18 May 2014.