A programme of art, culture and new infrastructure to reimagine the future of the UK’s biggest council housing estate


Susan Pui San Lok



1 July 2022

Centenary is a long poem and 34 mins spoken word sound piece evoking entangled narratives of Chinese migration within wider colonial histories, touching on the artist’s own experience growing up in a post-war council house on the Essex/London border. Itis the second in a three-part cycle of works: Altar Notes (2012), Centenary (2022) and Ghosts (forthcoming). Altar Notes was a micro-play exploring the idea of ‘return’, commissioned and staged in Hong Kong as part of programme of writing and performance from Hong Kong, Beijing and London, marking the 15th anniversary of the Hong Kong Handover. Centenary alludes to centuries of Chinese migration to Britain. Ghosts will return to the idea of 'return'. Future iterations of Centenary as a multichannel sound and performance installation are currently in development. The artist’s long-term ambition is to stage all three works together.

The broadcast of Centenary was followed by REWIND/REPLAY. REWIND/REPLAY playfully rewrites archival ephemera (in the form of two mixtapes) to activate potential meanings and imaginary encounters. REWIND/REPLAY was commissioned for the exhibition, Rewinding Internationalism, at Netwerk Aalst (2022), Van Abbemuseum (2022), and Villa Arson (2023).

The first iteration of Centenary was premiered as a radiobroadcast and live stream on 1 July 2022 on Resonance to coincide with the 25 anniversary of the Hong Kong Handover.

Listen to Centenary here.

susan pui san lok / susan lok pui san is an artist and writer based in London. Projects range across immersive installation, moving image, sound, performance, and text, evolving out of interests in archives, memory, nostalgia, amnesia, displacement, and translation. Solo exhibitions include: seven x seven (2021, Glasgow International Festival); A COVEN A GROVE A STAND (2019, Firstsite, UK); RoCH Fans & Legends (2015-16, QUAD and CFCCA, UK); and Faster, Higher (2008/2014, BFI Southbank Gallery, UK and Montreal Arts Interculturels, CA). Group exhibitions include: Rewinding Internationalism (2022-23, Netwerk Aalst, BE; Van Abbemuseum, NL; Villa Arson, FR); Found Cities, Lost Objects (2022-2023, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Southampton City Art Gallery); Diaspora Pavilion (2017-18, 57th Venice Biennale, IT; Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery); the 1st Asia Biennial and 5th Guangzhou Triennial (2015-2016); and Cities on the Move (1999, Hayward Gallery, UK). Her artist books and multiples are: seven by seven (2021); RoCH Fans and Legends (2017); RoCH Fan (2015); Making Ways (2012); Faster, Higher (2009); Golden (Notes) (2007); and NEWS (2005).

Centenary (2022) was written, directed and produced by susan pui san lok, read by David KS Tse and Crystal LK Yu, and recorded, edited and mixed by Cam Griff.

Commissioned by Create London, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.