For A Fictional Residency, Witte de With and Spring Workshop invited acclaimed Dutch novelist Oscar van den Boogaard as writer-in-residence at Spring, Hong Kong. During his stay, Van den Boogaard worked with a group of Hong Kong-based practitioners including visual artist Nadim Abbas, writer-director Enoch Cheng, writer-journalist Doretta Lau, artist-architectural duo Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix of MAP Office.

Oscar van den Boogaard’s entry point for A Fictional Residency was a miniature atlas by Belgian artist, poet and filmmaker Marcel Broodthaers. Created in 1975, La conquête de l’espace. Atlas à l’usage des artistes et des militaires (The Conquest of Space. Atlas for the Use of Artists and the Military), measures just 38mm x 25mm. Consisting primarily of a series of small icons of national territories, yet depicting no cities, rivers or mountains, the atlas would not be of any use to a soldier trying to find his way. The miniature atlas instead provided an opportunity for the participants to reflect upon their own appropriation of space and scale.

According to Heman Chong, the Moderator of the multi-faceted Moderation(s) program, A Fictional Residency explores the role fiction plays in our thinking about the world. The diversity of the invited writers – from architects and journalists to visual artists – is intentional and inspired by the idea that all creativity contains a fictional aspect. In visual art, we produce many objects: paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations while in literature, we produce words, sentences, paragraphs and in turn, stories. A Fictional Residency sets out to locate a meeting point where a dialogue can exist between both forms.


At the end of the residency, and in tandem with the book presentation, Heman Chong directs a version of Lucia Melts, the first play written by Van den Boogaard in 2001. In a minimal and intimate setting, the script will be performed by two actors. The play is about a woman who prepares for a visit from a lover who left her a year ago.