To imagine Hong Kong as it exists today is to visualize crowds of young and old rushing beneath a heavy gray sky which, if already not blocked out by towering skyscrapers and apartment homes, is practically obscured by stacks of signage. By day or by night, the signs are as much a part of the Hong Kong landscape as any other landmark. A search of “Hong Kong neon” results in articles like CNN Travel’s “Why we love Hong Kong’s garish, gaudy neon signs” and videos, blogs, and countless photos celebrating the aura that neon bestows upon the city.
One blogger writes of a Hong Kong night scene, “As if held by invisible hands the signs appear to float in mid-air […].” The neon seems almost self-supporting, at one both essential to the image of the night and yet separate from the people below. What, then, is the place of neon in Hong Kong? Can we imagine a Hong Kong without neon – or without lights? What would such changes mean to the essence of the city? Would it be, with the flick of so many switches, an end to its magic? [ read more ]
Photo credit: Keith MacGregor, Peking Road Fantasy (2013); Thierry Cohen, Hong Kong 22° 16’ 38” N 2012-3-22 LST