Johnny Gin - The Architecture of Insurgency

Johnny Gin

Johnny Gin is a Hong Kong-based copywriter who has embarked on a second career as a photographer. As a member of the first intake at SCAD HK, he has been working part-time towards an MFA in photography since 2010. He is expected to complete the program and hold his thesis exhibition in June 2016.

His photographic interest lies in the examination of urban spaces and vernacular environments and the ways in which these spaces inform us about the culture and identity of a city. His work has been exhibited in Hong Kong and in the US, and is part of SCAD’s permanent collection. The Architecture of Insurgency, completed in 2014, was selected for inclusion in a showcase of 18 Hong Kong and Taiwanese photographers in the Angkor Photo Festival 2015.

Johnny Gin
Project Statement

The Architecture of Insurgency

Since the first barricades were erected as a form of neighborhood defense in the 1500s, these makeshift structures have maintained their significance as a powerful symbol of protest and uprising well into modern times, most recently in Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement, during which major intersections and roadways in the city were blocked off by protesters demanding universal suffrage. The impromptu barricades in Central were erected with great expediency and resolve as a response to forceful police action taken to disperse the crowds. Over the course of the occupation, their configurations were continuously reshaped like communal sculptural objects that are perpetually works in progress.

These provisional, adaptive structures are viewed as a type of vernacular expression arising from protest culture, representing the material and metaphorical emblems of an anonymous, ideological collective.

Set against a backdrop of Government buildings and monolithic office towers, this somewhat nostalgic mode of resistance created a singular “privatized public” space, underscoring the dialectical relationship between traditional power structures and their subversive counterparts.