Hong Kong is a place of constant overstimulation and overloaded senses. There are thousands of directions to look, hundreds of possibilities to let our eyes wander. Each second, every day. Immerging into the craziness of Hong Kong Island with, being blinded by the winter sun reflected on the mirrored wall of a tall monster. Bizarre, distorted reflections wave back at you. What is space? Is there any space in Hong Kong? Any space left? A framework with directions. Mental space. Outer space. A gap. Blank space.
Time to get closer to the core of the city. Each tiny or not so tiny unit forming blocks of fortresses. An extreme. A goldfish in a glass. Millions of worker bees in a rectangular hive. Walking through tunnels, never coming up for air. Fluids and gas travelling through a system of pipes. Would anyone draw a complete map of those?
Diving deeper still. Into another Hong Kong. Kowloon – Chungking Mansions. The Chungking Mansions. Almost everyone I encounter knows something about this place. Except for us, before our stay there. It is quite the institution. Buzzing, loud, the air sticky sweet from all the vendors selling fried goods and the candy of instant tooth-combustion. Plus offers of heroine, buyable love and everything – I repeat – everything imaginable. Chargers next to samosas and sim-cards. Bananas and apples, a dish of rice. A room with self-service washing machines. Magazines, water bottles, and touts. Hotel rooms for cheap. Various elevators taking guests up and down the 17 stories (though elevators only run to floor 16) of pure Chungking. Our room is a tiny hole behind a door in a hallway behind a door around the corner of another door behind a door on the other side of a door to the left of a door. A maze. Books, articles and even a movie try to depict the lives and life of the Mansion, but as boring as it sounds, there is no other way than going (and staying) there to experience the depth of it all. People use the term low-end globalization or the less smooth ghetto, I call it a straight-up fascinating place.
Stepping out, stretching the limbs and craning the neck to see up, up, up towards the never-ending top of the skyscrapers. Geometric forms, oddly satisfying symmetry and cleans cutouts of the sky. Is this space right between the world’s biggest collection of high buildings? Here I am, feeling very, very small, but also very much inspired and alive.
Time and space are two words often used together. Direction is another term loosely associated with it. Here is a picture representing all three abstracts at once. Taken on a pedestrian bridge on Hong Kong Island as cars drive by, leaving their marks on the camera’s retina.
January 19th – 25th 2017