Hong Kong’s Visual Citizenship: The Depiction of Sadness and Despair in the 2019 Protests (80859)

Session Information: Culture in Politics & Politics in Culture
Session Chair: Yasuko Suga

Sunday, 26 May 2024 13:45
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 705
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

In Hong Kong in 2019 large-scale protests began in opposition to an Extradition Law Amendment Bill (ELAB) due to be introduced into the Legislative Council. This social movement brought millions of people onto the streets across the city in protest. In addition to the embodied public resistance, there were thousands of creative works made in support of the movement. Perhaps the most striking form of protest art was the work that circulated online in digital form. This presentation will look to further the thinking around image gestures that are simultaneously local and yet globalised through connections to popular culture and regional media flows. These media objects travel between cultures over the network, creating questions about efficacy, control and affordances across platforms of transmission. This presentation will examine a selection of digital protest art that was created by the Anti-ELAB movement in Hong Kong in 2019-2020. The case studies chosen are artworks that depict Hong Kong citizens crying. The human vulnerability seen in these images is not envisaged as a weakness, but instead as a display of authenticity. This paper argues for an affective ‘visual citizenship’ in Hong Kong that is brought about from protest artworks created “by the movement” (Khatib, 2012). This presentation examines how layers of visual meaning are encoded within digital protest artworks and how Hong Kong citizens decode these latent meanings and bind themselves to the movement via complex emotional identification.

Martyn Coutts, University of Melbourne, Australia

About the Presenter(s)
Martyn Coutts' art projects have been shown extensively throughout Australia and internationally in Taiwan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Netherlands, UK, US and Canada.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00