From September 2014 onwards, I could no longer see clearly. I could no longer see clearly what was in front of me; as if I am in the middle of a grey storm; blown against by a rapid wave of wind. My vision is confused with anxiety and fear. Through this series of works, I wish to depict the underlying emotions and agitation in Hong Kong through photographic representations, while meditating on this society’s transition, and social and political instability.
The series captures small, yet radical gestures of the flag of Hong Kong. While waving in wind, the flag was documented using photography and presented as visual abstractions. In its sculptural shapes and forms, the flag metaphorically resembles human gestures that are indicative of complex and intense emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, and weariness. The visual purpose of a flag is to connote the existence of a group; similarly, the gestures of the flag in these images also physically and symbolically depict the underlying emotions of such a group: the emotions of Hong Kong citizens when facing the instability and transition of society.
Through constructing an alternate visual reality in photography, this series questions how reality is represented in photography, as well as points towards how a constructed reality reflects the actual state of Hong Kong and its people. By condensing a wave of wind into ten frozen moments in time, the series allows the audience to contemplate with each discrete gesture of the flag. Through photography, the once-dynamic flag is decisively frozen and divided into individual forms and figures. Despite the individuality of each frozen moment in the series, the body of work also functions as a sequence when being viewed as a unit: while every image presents a unique gestural form, they all share a sequential relationship when viewed together. As a sequence, the images poetically reconstruct the movement of the wind blowing through, reenacting the flow of the wind. While one can never truly see the wind, its presence is evoked through the movement of the flag, vividly manifesting the flow in transition.
Overall, The Flag of Hong Kong, Waving in the Wind explores an alternate photographic reality while simultaneously reflecting the actuality of Hong Kong and the perplexing emotions of its people. Underneath the physical instability of the flag lies a convoluted stream of emotions and agitation of the people in Hong Kong, one that originates from insecurity, anxiety, and fear with regard to an uncertain future transition. As a part of Hong Kong, I share the same deep emotions and agitation when I see the current turmoil in society, and feel disturbed when thinking of the future. I do not know the answers to my queries towards the future, nor the way out of the chaos, yet it is in this special moment in time when we are truly honest towards our own emotions, exposed and laid bare before the unknown future.