About the project
ongoing since 2007
Changing from the manufacturing industry to the service industry, many middle-aged people are forced to accept jobs with low salary and long working hours. Undercover worker is an ongoing project in which the artist tried to “cross-border” to work in different grassroots jobs to experience the working environments and make first-hand observations. The artist then shared his experiences by contributing essays to local mainstream newspapers. Moreover, he also tries to develop alternative labor campaigns to improve the working environment in different areas.
Since 2007, Luke Ching has tried to take up many undercover jobs, such as security guard in an industrial building, the Railroad Museum, universities, wet markets, and art galleries. He had also tried to work as a staff in the supermarket and convenience store, and a cleaner recently. Moreover, he did many interesting “labor campaign” during this period. For example, he fought for chairs for all the security guards working in the Museum of Arts and Hong Kong Heritage Museum by utilising the visitor book to sign a petition and make a change. He had also successfully fought for chairs for UA cinema staff at the counter by asking to make an advertisement in Hong Kong Times Square. He used simple materials to solve the problems created by the bad design of public rubbish bins to make the cleaners’ job a bit easier. He holds a slogan competition to urge Circle K convenience stores not to force their staff to wear a cap. Within three years, the artist successfully pushed over ten chain stores, changing their policy to provide chairs to the cashiers. Finally, he urged the Labour Department to improve the guide on preventing health hazards of prolonged standing. In the coming days, he wants to train more people to be an undercover worker.
About the artist
Luke Ching was born in 1972. He works as an artist, reporter, activist and art educator. One of the main concerns of his projects is related to labor rights. He believes that an artist should have two roles in the community: One is as an indicator. An artist should be able to visualize phenomenon/problems hidden under the spectacular city; One is a catalyst. An artist should try to link up different things /situations/ people to create energy and to give new imaginations to social reality.