-Hey Vincent, why have you gone on a hiatus from writing in this blog? Oh, due to work? Well, that’s understandable, but-
Hey wait, I haven’t explained myself yet. Sure, I’m busy-
-See what I mean?
Let me explain myself. I’m busy with work, that is true. However, I’ve also been seized by sights and sounds of the my neighbourhood’s workplace. The industrial district of Kwun Tong was transformed over the past decades, the once bustling factories now abandoned and neglected as workers moved on up to the mainland. Low land values and rents attracted independent artists, green organic merchants, and even rock climbing enthusiasts to name a few to set up space in the vacuous rooms, the term itself ironic in describing Hong Kong. The sliding doors are pushed aside to reveal potential for re-appropriation of space. Need a place to set up a war game? Need a place to learn how to set up a modern art gallery? Look no further than Kwun Tong, as quality doesn’t always have to be on the same increasing relationship as price. Heck, enjoy a decent meal for around $35 HKD (~$5 CDN) while you are at it, as the same meal would probably set you back a $100 HKD in say, Central.
I picked up a brochure the other day, titled “RAD- Leftover City”. RAD stood for Research Architecture Design, its team consisting of, as quoted, “architects, urban planners, interior designers, and media researchers of multinational origin”. The brochure describes Hong Kong as “resilient” and “flexible” in its “urban DNA”, using up all of the available physical left-over space, or “edges”, debunking the stagnant implication of the “Ideal City”. The illustration highlights opportunities for the wide empty lot amongst towering factory buildings. The stagnant city shows a trash heap, the image of waste that the “Ideal City” tries to cover up. Solutions to deal with this “wasted” space includes an area for a party venue rivaling that of Lan Kwai Fong, a water park, or even an artificial nature reserve complete with a man-made waterfall.
Working in Kwun Tong has its merits. I am essentially working in a living museum, a place where every nook and cranny, behind every steel sliding door, reveals “galleries” of independent artists using the potential of relatively inexpensive rents to express their potential and artistic sides, to embrace the progressive aspects of society which has otherwise been defined as compulsive monetary consumption, swanky shopping malls, and glass towers a stone throw away from the factory districts…