Hong Kong is a city, like many others, where buildings reign over people. Life is predictable to the extent that some rich man is always going to have food on his plate (to be more precise, 8 small plates that would cost the same as what we pay for rent every month). You might get a promotion the year after—but hey—you might not. You might end up working the same job for 8 years without a raise.
Everyday life at the level of the economy is predictable. Like in many other places, the wolves of Wall Street (or we would say here, Central District) have swallowed the excitement whole. Then, what is left, is what some would call the “remainder life” or in other words, the weekend. Eating together as a family is a rare instance; it’s either too much of a bother to eat together as the table is too small to accommodate the four of us, or we are not present at the same time (my father proudly says he is on the clock 24/7). Then, the aspects of our lives that become unpredictable, uncontrollable, are precisely those moments that subtend work, office, paychecks, promotions: they are the building blocks of life as we know it.
Family time is radical.
There is no weekly Sunday dinner, and as such, every dinner together becomes relevant. A silence dwells here that allows for the unknown to erupt; we see a moment of familiar unfamiliarity; the teleology that work life promises becomes undone because of the danger of such moment—the danger of not-knowing, of being a family—of being together. What I have said so far illustrates the theme in the photos of my family members.
The photo that connects what I have said so far with the building material is titled “God.” The buildings that propel, consume and consume to propel the dreams of MNCs, the wolves of wall street, the CEOs, have their building blocks as well. There is “rubbish” and “waste” that is often forgotten about; these are often an “eyesore” for those that live in the neighborhood, but they are precisely where moments of the uncontrollable dwell. Here lies the question of life and death, as workers inhabit unsafe conditions to exponentially multiply the income of those that are to occupy the buildings after construction. I wanted to capture those moments of danger, excess, and suffocation.
These are pictures from a series that I call “Market Stories.” They offer a different version of Hong Kong, one that is located in the bustling, loud wet markets. These stories breach into the story that the cityscape tells. The pictures offer an uncontrollable narrative, a different one. A narrative that breaks into the alienated nature of lives of Hong Kong-ers. Alienated from one another. Alienated from ourselves.
Aadityakrishna Sathish is a student at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME. He is pursuing a B.A. in Human Ecology. He is from Hong Kong and India. His studies lie in the intersection of post-colonial studies, feminist theory, anthropology, philosophy, and performance. He addresses some of the question they pose through photography.