Losing Freedom, Losing Home: Sensing Hong Kong’s “Now” and “Then”
Winnie W. C. Lai
Hong Kong has deteriorated from semi-democratic to semi-authoritarian since the unprecedented resurgence of pro-democracy protests and escalated unrests from June 2019 to June 2020 (known as The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill and Pro-democracy Protests), which was followed by the enforcement of the National Security Law (Hong Kong) right on the 23rd anniversary day of the city’s handover on July 1st, 2020. Transforming political sound milieus have emerged in the city since then—dissent has been muted by heavy security presence in public areas, especially street spaces, which amplification of police warning occupies now while the mundane urban noise of everyday activities remains. My generation of Hongkongers [香港人 hoeng1 gong2 jan4], who was born into sound, has been rendered into silence. The XR sound installation Losing Freedom, Losing Home: Sensing Hong Kong’s “Now” and “Then” documents the city’s political transitions, inviting participants to virtually visit the “ruins” in the “new” and muted Hong Kong, our losing home. Participants listen to field recordings and monologues recorded by Hongkongers that are played throughout the virtual tour. Through listening, participants experience the juxtaposition of the present and the past of the transforming city, an experience shared by Hongkongers through remembering the collective action in the bygone protest sphere while performing quotidian practices and being muted at present.
Please access the XR tour with a laptop/computer via a private network. The XR tour will be open for this exhibition from 11/16, 0:00 to 11/17, 23:59. The password will be available for registered participants at the venue or via email from the organizers.