Hong Kong Stillness
‘Hong Kong Stillness’ is a photographic series that explores themes of introspection and silence in an Asian city undergoing significant social, political, urban, and cultural transitions.
Cities are synonymous with bustle and chaos. Population growth and the influx of refugees has created a giant identity crises for the inhabitants of European cities. To cope with the situation requires a significant reversal in the mindset of individuals and a genuinely global outlook. The pace of change is staggering and with that comes new challenges.
Hong Kong has long since embraced this future but how do the city’s inhabitants, the hundreds of millions of people who call it home, create a livable context? If stillness and silence can be found in Hong Kong, what might we in the West learn from such a densely populated metropolis about how to cope with massive transitions? In places where people feel that they are being swallowed up by the crowd and fear they will lose their identities, this project proposes stillness as a vital source of knowledge.
In 2015 I created a small series of color photographs depicting people and structures in Hong Kong in various states of stillness, capturing the quieter moments of transition in the daily life of the city’s inhabitants. I noticed that people seemed to accept the transitions in their frenetic urban lives in an almost poetic way. Employing soft colors and drawing on the city’s pattern of ever-present lines, I translated this observation into stylized images that evoke an atmosphere of air and light, and in which silence reigns. What remains when the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong dies down, when the city transitions from a state of intense activity to a state of stillness, is silence.
My proposed project for the WMA Commission is to capture Hong Kong’s population, and the city in which they live, at moments of transition in their daily lives. As a Belgian photographer living in Antwerp, an urban context that is undergoing huge transitions, ‘Hong Kong Stillness’ is a celebration of a diverse Asian metropolis and a response to the questions and challenges facing cities in the West.
Curated by Natasha Becker, independent curator, NY
Submitted as a project about Transition at WMA Commission HK
Selected by ddk-live.com to pitch at De Donkere Kamer Antwerp
Shortlisted by Nikonians Photography Awards 2017
Obumex, Antwerp Art Weekend, 20 May - 17 June 2016
Gang-Maker cc De Warande, Turnhout, 19 juni - 11 september 2016
Geuzenhuis, Gent, duo exposition with Geert Huysman ('Il était une fois'), 06 - 14 oktober 2016
MKKPT, Borgerhout, December - January 2016
Peter Van Heirseele: “Het is een oud verhaal, de strijd van schilderkunst met fotografie. Als kunstschilder dacht ik lang dat - in deze tijd van digitale media - de fotografie gedoemd was te verdwijnen. Sepp van Dun bewijst met zijn analoge middenformaatcamera het tegendeel. Met grafisch sterke beelden in sobere kleuren wekt hij weemoed op. Tijdloze plaatsen nodigen uit om te blijven kijken. Schilderkunst komt steeds dichterbij. De fotografie is gebleven, er wordt nog altijd geschreven met licht.”
- MKKPT, Borgerhout, May - Juin 2014
- Loft Living, Nieuwpoort, November 2014 - July 2015