UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS (2020) is a project bringing together patient ambassadors for Blood Cancer UK and stem cell researchers working at the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre. Through a series of stop-motion animation workshops held via Zoom, participants developed hand-cut animation sequences exploring their experiences of ‘the unknown’ in relation to living with blood cancer, the challenges of research and the global uncertainties of Covid-19. Animation materials included paper, velvet and issues of National Geographic published in 1960, the year Blood Cancer UK officially became a charity.
Commissioned by the Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute as part of its Public Engagement programme, project outcomes include an animated film featuring participants’ stop-motion sequences (Futuramic Unknown, 2020) and an installation for the Jeffery Cheah Biomedical Center at Cambridge Biomedical Campus (The Night the Mountains Moved, 2020).
In September of 2018, I staged a 48-hour intervention, Pence Sterling, involving 100,000 pennies and an empty public fountain owned by Magdalene College. Within nine hours of depositing the pennies, all 356kg of the coins were systematically taken away by 3 unknown men using buckets and bicycles. The incident was reported by both The Sun and BBC News, which led to a rapid spreading of the story in online newspapers around the globe which included international coverage in China, Cambodia, Macau, Vietnam, Taiwan, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, India, Turkey, Croatia, Israel, America and Mexico, among others. I have no doubt that the clickbait sensationalistic style of these articles generated income for most (if not all) of the publications - pennies for pennies.
My submission for the CRASSH Global Conversations online exhibition is both an elegy for a censored tabloid and the beginning of a conversation on value. The work will be composed of an archival web page featuring a short personal statement sitting alongside an appropriated news video about the penny incident that was originally posted in 2018 by the free-speech Chinese newspaper Apple Daily. In May of 2021, Apple Daily’s headquarters in Hong Kong were raided by over 500 police officers, leading to multiple arrests and the systematic freezing of accounts and assets, thereby forcing the newspaper to permanently cease all operations.
The final digital version of Apple Daily went offline at 23:59pm (UTC+8) on 23 June 2021.
Here’s to you, Apple Daily.