In a city where space is gold, it’s been wonderful to witness what artists, designers, and people in general, have done in the past weeks when given the freedom to express themselves in open / non-curated environments. And we’ve see creativity not just in artistic expression but as creative functional as well.
Walking down Causeway Bay and Admiralty reminded me of the old IKEA campaign where subway stations are transformed into living spaces.
During these past weeks, instead of subway trains, the occupiers have taking it into the streets and transformed roads and highways into living spaces, from classrooms and study halls, to dining rooms and bedrooms. And they’ve then surrounded themselves with artworks and designs that inject colour, dynamism, and energy into their make-shift living spaces.
Politics aside, we see the current movement less about 'occupation' of places like Admiralty or Mongkok or Causeway Bay but more of a 'reclamation' of what's rightfully our natural right --- our god-given personal space. Which is incredibly hard to come by in this city owned by a handful of 'real estate mongrels' (oops I meant 'moguls'). We step out of our tiny cramp apartments only to venture out into elbow-to-elbow restaurants, speedy escalators, freezer-like malls, and three-foot wide sidewalks. No wonder the 'occupiers' don't want to retreat home... they finally have SPACE where they can live!
As a gallery space dedicated to locally groomed/working artists in HK, seeing the movement unfold has been nothing short of fascinating and long-lost pride in our city other than just being a money-hungry metropolis.
We’ve been fascinated with the seemingly neverending creativity fueled by youthful passion and ideals… not retail.
Quite surprisingly, we’ve also been proud that, at least as of today, we live in a city whose people are still able to express themselves creatively – in all its glory – without censorship or stampeding. To be honest, it would be hard to imagine similar setups replicated in most other major cities. I just can’t imagine Angelenos closing off and living on the 405 or New Yorkers suddenly erecting a sculpture surrounded by small potted plants at the intersection of 57th and Broadway sans permit.
As a gallerist and champion of the local creative industry, we have heard so many times over the years who've bitched (perhaps rightfully so) about the lack of creativity in our finance-obsessed city.
But as the world has seen – the sheer number of creative energy generated in the past 30 days at various occupy sites have finally prove to the world quite the contrary. And we believe the newfound attention to the city’s creativity will pay off in spades.
This segment from CNN sheds more light on the creativity that has come out from the movement.