Jolene Mok

"Untitled" (2010, Jolene Mok)

What to learn? What not to learn? We have to learn how to learn. What if we don’t want to learn but, still, we have to learn? Do we learn if we don’t want to learn?

All of the above are the questions I had in mind when I started this visual ethnographic project.

To me, learning is always a problematic process. Apart from standard schooling, I was lucky to have had the chance to learn ballet, squash, table tennis and piano-playing in my childhood years. I had been, continuously, learning all these skills for more or less 10 years. However, for the past decade, I have not kept any of these practices and have, in fact, avoided contact with any of them.

With all the time I spent, all the efforts I paid, and all the money my parents invested for the development of my talents, I casted quite a bloody picture by putting an abrupt termination to all of them. What went wrong?

There must be – and I do owe it to myself too – an explanation for such a bizarre turn. Now, through this project, I hope to offer myself a chance to re-learn all of them by studying others’ learning path and practice routines. By positioning myself as an outsider to my subjects, I wish to see a fuller picture and have a better sense of all those so-far-so-surreal skills, which I had acquired to be close at heart.

Pianovel: I play the piano to play you a song <彈下、彈下,彈下﹔彈下…>
Part I of project “Learning to Learn” <唔識學到識…學.識.未?>

I started to learn piano playing when I was 6. As I can recall, I attended weekly piano lessons until the age of 15. Since then, piano and piano playing fell out of my life almost altogether.

I don’t think I am bad in playing piano, though I can’t consider myself good at it. For the nine years of piano practice, I learned how to play, and that’s all. This is probably why I quit playing so easily.

After all these years of staying away from the piano, it’s time I unlearned my unhealthy learning attitude by reinforcing myself to learn how to learn.

Pianovel: I play the piano to play you a song (2010)
Through looking into the learning path and practice process of two little girls, I (re)study piano playing from an alien angle, to see, through the camera, in what ways piano is being played.

Untitled (2010)
This photograph shows the exact disposition of an all-time-covered-up piano at my home.

Untitled (2010)
A reconstruction of an all-time-covered-up piano…

(Jolene Moke)