Place: Hong Kong
Publisher: Inertia Books
Size: 26 x 25 cm (approx.)
Hard Cover, white foil stamping title on cover, transparent foil stamping title on spine. Desgin by Kai-ting Lin, texts by Edwin K. Lai and Dustin Shum.
„Public housing in Hong Kong has recently been portrayed as a carrier of good neighbourhood that is vanishing in our society and the public has romanticised its image. However, the public has neglected the many real problems faced by people living in these flats: low income, jobless, disability, family problems, new migrants, ageing population and so on. Meanwhile, meaningless renovations have been carried out in old public housing estates but no improvements have been made on facilities that that are really in need. Since taking over the management of shopping malls from the government, the Link REIT” (a real estate investment trust), has bought in many giant chainstores and chain restaurants that many small shops have been forced to be closed. The living standard of people living in these estates has failed to be improved after all.
All these phenomenons became the catalyst for Dustin to work on this project. Wandering in the public space of the various public housing estates through these years, he showcased to us many scenes that looked ridiculous and surreal. Dustin instilled his own experiences and memories in public housing into the many images of concrete that appeared deadpan and cold, similar to the introduction of Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. The “Eternal City” in Ancient Rome, where buildings from different historical periods co-existed and overlapped in disharmony, was used as a metaphor of the mental lives of human beings.
“BLOCKS is perhaps my Ancient Rome, through which I look back to my past. Rather helplessly, I watch people being forced to invest feelings of "home" in these buildings and to explore the bizarre living conditions inside these artificially engineered residences of happiness.” (Dustin Shum)