The following works featured in the exhibition are from Joni Gutierrez’work-in-progress thesis project, Hong Kong Series
Date: 1 June - 3 July, 2016
Venue: L3, Hong Kong Baptist University Au Shue Hung Memorial Library
Hong Kong: Study One
Hong Kong: Study Two
Joni is a PhD Candidate (Film & Media Studies) at the HKBU School of Communication.
Taking an intuitive route into the Hong Kong lifeworld entails a certain degree of vulnerability.
A sense of loneliness is felt in the documentary film that progressively downplays personal interaction, starting from the human crowd, to animal life, to plant life and ultimately to inanimate objects. But as the work unravels, it uplifts contemplation on the place’s physical aspects – living, nonliving and everything in between. It then forms a transcendent sense of rootedness and affirms that home, like happiness, is a choice.
Wandering around Hong Kong has become my path in connecting with its lifeworld - something that I cannot satisfactorily express in words. The photographic medium, however, with its dual affinities for the concrete (‘the minutiae’) and the indeterminate, offers a way for me to invoke this elusive sphere. The ensuing ‘panoramic mosaic’ in this exhibition manifests an ongoing attempt at a creative conversation with the Hong Kong lifeworld.
One way of approaching Home for Now is to read through the narrative that the images propose. The sixty photographs are grouped into three, which I coined as stages of home-ing. These are the stages of how he, Joni, and perhaps others, encountered and is encountering Hong Kong.
The first group are images on how Hong Kong can be experienced on the surface—focusing on scapes and objects, because they are either too familiar or strangely unusual; in either case, Joni maintained a perspective informed by his city of origin.
The second group of images captured how he negotiated his way into the crowd of moving bodies, spaces and signs, until he was able to discern which of those he can relate to, make sense of, and use as a “handle” in his conception of Hong Kong.
The third group are images that tell a story of how familiarity to Hong Kong enables one to focus on details; the mundane—that which is not anymore unusual, and the nostalgic—that which reminds one of past home/s.
In this project, Joni’s Hong Kong lifeworld resists terminality. His stages of home-ing will not exactly bring one to realize how home is defined, but rather sample how stages of encounter shape one’s imagining and imaging of place and time, and how one positions oneself in this present, coming from or going to another.
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