Flora Lau, di­rec­tor of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed 2013 film Bends, and risqué mul­ti­me­dia artist Wong Ping took a ride into the realm of fan­tasy when cre­at­ing an art piece in­spired by the chal­lenges of in­ti­macy in a city lack­ing space

Hong Kong Tatler - - Flora Lau | Wong Ping -

“It’s a love story. A love story be­tween a van and a doll,” says Flora of the short film she is cre­at­ing with Wong. The pro­tag­o­nist is a mo­bile love mo­tel—an old ice­cream truck that will be given a tawdry makeover—that drives around Hong Kong al­low­ing lovers to sate their sex­ual ap­petites out­side the con­fines of their tiny, over­pop­u­lated apart­ments. Wong hasn’t de­cided on the ve­hi­cle’s gen­der yet but its name is Love Ve­hi­cle and it will nar­rate the film in the first per­son. Its clients are played by life-sized dolls cre­ated by Wong in the style of his sig­na­ture, of­ten ex­plicit, an­i­mated char­ac­ters. Love Ve­hi­cle is go­ing about its days as a love mo­tel, looked down upon by ve­hi­cles with “higher” pur­poses, when it finds it­self fall­ing in love with a client whose boyfriend failed to show up to their sched­uled ren­dezvous. Love Ve­hi­cle and the doll go on a trip to a car wash, watch a sun­set and cruise around the city un­til Love Ve­hi­cle is bon­net over boot about its new squeeze. But when its lover sud­denly dis­ap­pears, Love Ve­hi­cle be­comes ob­sessed with find­ing her.

It’s a com­men­tary on the chal­lenges of in­ti­macy in Hong Kong, where a lack of space can make pri­vacy elu­sive. “We wanted to cre­ate some­thing fun to tackle such a cur­rent is­sue,” says Lau. “A lot of the younger gen­er­a­tion go to love mo­tels to have in­ti­mate mo­ments be­cause they can­not have them at home while liv­ing in close quar­ters with their par­ents.”

They in­tend to visit one of these es­tab­lish­ments for re­search pur­poses. “I think we’d bet­ter check out the real sit­u­a­tion, the at­mos­phere, the feel­ing in these places. Can you hear the noise from the room next door? Are there wa­terbeds, mir­rors?” says Wong. “From read­ing the news­pa­per I know these places are fully booked.

Ev­ery­one sits in this wait­ing room, five or six cou­ples just wait­ing, like in a clinic. It takes 10 or so min­utes for the staff to clean up af­ter each cou­ple, then the next pair is sent in. Our project is very much re­lated to the space for sex and the time with your part­ner. This is a real prob­lem in Hong Kong.”

Flora has said in the past that she is greatly in­spired by the work of au­teurs like Luis Buñuel, Ing­mar Bergman and Fran­cois Truf­faut. Is their in­flu­ence ev­i­dent in this project? “Our work is quite sur­real, so maybe you could say there are el­e­ments of Buñuel.” The per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of vans and dolls cer­tainly sounds phan­tas­magoric. Will these char­ac­ters prove more chal­leng­ing to work with than ac­tors? “We’ll see,” smiles Flora. “Dolls can’t move but maybe they will give us al­ter­na­tive pos­si­bil­i­ties and ways to ex­press and in­ter­pret.”

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