Under the title ‘Light’, artists Caleb Fung, Liao Jiaming, O’Young Moli, Julian, Tang Kwong San, Yuen Nga Chi, Wong Wei Him and Catrine Val offer varied interpretations of the theme while exploring the possibilities of the media of photography, ﬁlm, performance, and pinhole camera to bring attention to the city’s transforming social climate.
While the notion of ‘Light’ is intrinsically related to photography, determining tone, mood and atmosphere in the process of image making,it also allows for artistic interpretation, whether it is about the dawn of life, or light as a symbol for reason, enlightenment and knowledge and the capacity of humans to develop on a rational level. In Plato’s allegory of the cave, light allows us to see the shadows on the wall. If humans were to leave the cave and venture outside, the light of the sun would let them see the world around them. Light, therefore, means knowledge.
The six bodies of work, five shortlisted for the WMA Masters award and one artist’s residency, were selected from submissions in response to an open call to international practitioners to reﬂect to the theme of light
in the context of HK.
The WMA is a non-profit platform dedicated to facilitate greater understanding of Hong Kong through the photography art form.
LIGHT consists of 6 books developed by Monica Allende and designed by Sarah Boris.
Laws of Hong Kong, Cap. 503 Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.
In 2019, the anti-extradition law movement erupted in Hong Kong. Life is now ﬁlled with feelings of hopelessness, anger and hatred, as we are confounded by graphic images from the news, day after day. I am constantly confused by this inescapable reality. Using everyday objects, I reconstruct moments and scenes of the movement, which create a sense of security within myself.
Half of the images evoke anger and fear. The mundane is now unrecognisable, dehumanising and violent.
Yet the sparks among us have illuminated new meanings and values for our city. It is heartening to see that materialism is no longer the only totem for Hongkongers.
Wong Wei Him
BURNT is a photo diary recording the recent social unrest of Hong Kong. All photos were taken using only the ﬁrst frame of the roll (the frame prior to the camera hitting zero on the frame counter) on a 35mm ﬁlm camera.
Of these ongoing anti-government protests, one incident caught my attention in particular—a photo of a girl who was shot in the eye during a clash between protestors and police in the streets. The vivid image of her injury reveals a partial truth; it shows the result, but not the cause. No one can follow or digest the plethora of news that is being circulated. No one can tell if the news is showing the whole truth, or if it is a collage of ﬁctions.
The making of these photos was both mechanical and chemical. When a roll of ﬁlm is being loaded into the camera, the ﬁrst few inches of the ﬁlm are exposed to light, and consequently they cannot capture a distinct image. For this reason, many photographers discard the ﬁrst photo taken with a roll of ﬁlm. However, I like the dynamic of having a scar-like line dividing the photo into two parts, making the image partly seen and partly unseen. It presents only a partial picture, echoing the ambiguities in reality.
Tang Kwong San, Yuen Nga Chi
Somewhere in Time
A ray of light pierces a withered space, reviving scenes that will soon vanish.
In the 1950s, public phone booths were installed across Hong Kong by the British Hong Kong Government. As technological advancements have provided city-wide network coverage, the gleam of smartphone screens can be seen ﬂitting in the streets. Scattered across the city are disused phone booths about one square metre in size, with broken lightboxes inside.
We wrapped a disused booth in a reﬂective cover and added a coin from the colonial era with a hole drilled in it, turning the booth into a pinhole darkroom. Through the inverted images inside the booth, the viewer shuttles back and forth between different landmarks before and after the handover, tracing the endlessly shifting political relationship between ‘deconstruction’ and ‘construction’ in the city. A discarded phone booth waiting to be dismantled; a memento of the Queen still being circulated today.
Do You Know Where the Birds are?
Located in the bustling area of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Park is secretly known as a cruising spot for gay men seeking casual sex. The project observes Kowloon Park as a public space for recreation, as well as a ‘stereotopia’ — a place for a marginalised group to escape from social norms. Gay men look for fun here like animals chasing after lights. But what are they really after?
O’Young Moli and Julian
Early this summer, a friend of mine who is a photographer met a kindred spirit online. Just as they were getting ready to meet in person, the social movement broke out in Hong Kong, and the two of them became occupied with their own lives. They joked that they should see each other only after at least two of the ﬁve demands were met. They began an experiment: until this goal was achieved, they would only meet in a dark place. The only light source is the ﬂash of an instant camera, as the vague impressions they had of each other from online continue in real life.
To this day, they have met in the dark several times. Each still has no idea of the other’s appearance or identity.
Light Matters is an evolving multi-media project created by the artist Catrine Val, referencing the WMA thematic cycle of ‘Light.’ Conceived in 2019, the project reflects Catrine Val’s commitment to creating, through her artmaking, platforms of connection and communication for women in different parts of the world, highlighting both their strengths and their challenges within the given gender politics of their societies. For Light Matters, Val originally worked with the concept of interviewing and recording women on the ground in Hong Kong during the protest movements. However, in the face of the changing political and global landscape, Val conceived new ways of connecting with Hong Kong women at this challenging time and of opening new visual and textual channels for their voices to be heard. In these videos and photographs, Val’s subjects use primarily the language of gesture and dance to articulate and illuminate their inner worlds as they navigate the emotional landscapes of Hong Kong at this moment in history.
6 Paperback books
20 X 25 cm