This newsletter was sent on the 4th May 2020. Subscribe here.
Welcome to the first HKDHNet newsletter, Fill In / 填充!
As a team based in the UK and Hong Kong, we’ve gotten used to working together from across the world and spending many hours connecting digitally in between our day jobs. Over the last year, and right now in amidst the global pandemic, we have found much comfort in sharing news, events, updates and funny moments with each other while in isolation. We thought it might help stimulate those of you watching out for us, to collect together the things we are interested in right now, articles, videos, online events and design in our lives that we’ve noticed and enjoyed, as well as updating on where we are and what we’re doing for our current projects.
We will post these newsletters sporadically, but we hope to publish some more on our blog soon. We’re looking to make our website more of a space to collect interesting research and critique on design history in and of Hong Kong. Maybe you’re working on a research project, have a design project going on, or have simply noticed something in the everyday, and want a space to share it? We’re currently open to submissions for short blogposts, photo essays and more! You can get in touch with us at email@example.com with any questions, ideas, comments or suggestions for us. We’d love to hear from you!
One of our collaborators for London Design Biennale Hong Kong Pavilion, architectural studio aona, has recently been working on restoring an early twentieth-century tong lau in Tai Hang, using their expertise of Shanghai plaster. You can see more behind the scenes of the restoration and keep updated on the progress on The Shophouse Instagram.
Inspired by a similar project organised in New York, Jun Pang from daikon* zine launched the HKG-LDN Mask Circuit to deliver PPE to vulnerable communities in London. Masks are still in short supply in the UK, although many have taken to making washable masks at home. They are currently taking donations and are regularly updating on their progress on this Google Doc.
Amidst the worldwide obsession with Animal Crossing New Horizons under social distancing rules across the world, it has become another creative space for Hong Kong protestors to collect together, so much so that the game has been banned in mainland China. As well as this, we have noticed how it’s been honed by a generation of cultural workers using AC as a space to conduct conference panels, exhibitions, musical concerts and design competitions, including hosting a talk at Now Play This between The White Pube and House House, the makers of Untitled Goose Game, a play on Dover Street Market with downloadable fashion at Nook Street Market, and The Getty and The Met have made their collections fully open to download on the game …a space to watch. What else might this digital deserted island have in store with increasing digital engagement?
Kowloon Flour Mills 九龍麵粉廠 opened its doors to the media for the first time after they released their products to be sold in stores to the public. Opened in 1964 on the Kwun Tong docks, unmissable from the Eastern Crossing flyover with its white and powder blue painted exterior, and calligraphy by the late Ou Jiangong, their normal clientele were restaurants and bakeries from across Hong Kong. But the boom in baking bread and pastries at home and scarcity of flour on supermarket shelves sparked the company to sell smaller 1kg bags for the first time. Designers are also showing support, creating adhoc unofficial designs for the 1kg packaging in homage to the beloved building. The illustrations on the original 50kg bags of flour, however, denote the different types they contain: blue narcissus, gladiolus and begonia representing the different gluten levels of the flour. You can find out more about the history of the mills on this page from Industrial History HK.
In relation to this, it seems that many in Hong Kong during Covid-19 have returned to local food resources, following a growing interest in sustainability and agriculture spurred by local activists, designers, and farmers, but also increasing awareness of consumption, its supply chains, and its consequences. Cache’s exhibition on rice production and consumption last year also pointed to a consciousness of Hong Kong’s own agricultural history, which fed much of the population until the 1960s, when the city began gradually transitioning to sources from Southeast Asia and mainland China.
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Typographer, information designer and academic Keith Tam started his online project (non) material text while in self isolation, here’s a favourite article on his 科達牌中英文電子四色繪圖打字機 Fortec ET-888 Chinese–English electronic four-colour plotting typewriter.
Cartoonist and illustrator Kaitlin Chan regularly publishes her short comics on her own platforms, zines and publications such as Bat City Review, and the New Yorker Magazine. One of her latest Instagram posts reflects on her daily walks under social-distancing in Hong Kong.
Lausan 流傘 is a collective of ‘writers, researchers, activists and artists from Hong Kong and its diasporas, engaging with the city’s political struggle.’ Founded last year amongst the turmoil of the summer, they have been working across the world to create, translate and host writing and events to critically engage with Hong Kong’s social politics. They have also been collaborating with other collectives, their latest being a five-part series Non-sovereign revolutions: Thinking across Puerto Rico and Hong Kong. Lausan’s development has been really impressive, and their website is certainly worth looking through to engage with contemporary Hong Kong beyond mainstream news outlets.
In light of the pandemic, meaning the M+ Pavilion had to close its doors, #MplusFromHome provides online content and resources for the public to enjoy and use at home. M+ Stories has now expanded to incorporate more of their previous exhibition and research material, including a reflection on their acquisition of Hong Kong neon signs and for a longer read, a fascinating article from Podium Volume 1 on Visual Culture reopening the questions from the ‘Visual Culture Questionnaire’ published in October journal in 1996.
_Join_ _ 連結 _
We joined the audience of this event this week, Contagious Cities: Facing and Understanding the Pandemic and the line-up included Ying Kwok, curator of the exhibition Contagious Cities: Far Away Too Close at Tai Kwun Contemporary last year. The Contagious Cities project was completed last year through a series of worldwide exhibitions, workshops and public events including London, Berlin, New York and Hong Kong. A recording of the panel is available here. Given its current relevance we might revisit on the blog…
Two of our colleagues at RCA/V&A History of Design have recently started Design in Quarantine, a real-time archive of design produced during the current pandemic. Here’s an interview with founders Anna Talley and Fleur Elkerton in Disegno. The archive is open to submission! We’d love to see more languages and locations
responding to COVID-19 represented.
_HKDHNet_ _ 我們 _
Don’t forget that we’re @hkdhnet on Instagram and Twitter, we intend to update those channels more often in the coming months. We’ll also shortly be doing a Takeover on the London Design Biennale Instagram, so you can find out more on our project there. The latest on our pavilion Sandtable 沙盆推演 can be found on the LDB website. We should also clarify that the pavilion was previously called ‘Future of the Past’ but after our most recent development on the project, we decided to change the English title to reflect the Chinese 沙盆推演. We’ll be putting together a blogpost about our title and research process soon.
We also have our Resources list on our website for researching during the current lockdown, there are plenty of online resources still available related to Hong Kong. If we’re missing any sites that you know of, please do let us know!
Note: We’ve endeavoured to make as much of our content as possible to be bilingual. You can select your preferred language at the beginning of the newsletter.
歡迎瀏覽 香港設計史網絡 第一期通訊：Fill In /填充！
由於我們的團隊生活於香港及英國，我們已經習慣於跨地域的工作模式，並花費大量時間在日常工作之間以虛擬方式連接。 在過去的一年，特別最近疫症於全球蔓延、社交隔離的情形下，我們彼此通過轉發新聞、更新事態發展和分享一些零碎但幽默的時刻，彼此鼓勵和安慰。 透過分享我們最近留意和喜歡的事物、文章、視頻、網上事件和設計，以及報告我們正在進行的項目的進展，我們希望與一直關注我們的你拉近一點距離。
我們會不定期地發布通訊，但是我們希望在不久的將來在我們的網誌上發布更多消息。 我們希望為我們的網站提供一個空間，收集有關香港和香港設計歷史的有趣研究和評論。 也許你正在進行研究或設計項目，或者只是在日常生活中注意到某些東西，並希望公諸同好？ 目前，我們正在公開徵集簡短的網誌文章、專題攝影、圖文集等等， 如有任何問題、想法、意見或建議，你可以通過 firstname.lastname@example.org 與我們聯繫。 我們很樂意聽取你的意見！
我們在籌劃中的倫敦設計雙年展香港館合作夥伴之一、建築工作室 aona ，最近將其上海批盪的研究應用於港島大坑、建於20世紀初的唐樓外牆復修工程。 你可以在 The Shophouse 的 Instagram 專頁了解修復的過程和最新進展。
在全球交通封鎖與社交隔離的規範之下，電玩生活模擬遊戲「集合啦！動物森友會」掀起了一陣熱潮。它已成為香港抗爭者另一個聚集與創作的空間，以至該遊戲在中國內地被禁。 此外，我們還注意到了一代文化工作者以此作為交流會議、展覽和設計競賽的平台，其中包括 The White Pube 與 Untitled Goose Game 的開發團隊 House House 在電玩設計節 Now Play This 的對談、戲彷 Dover Street Market 的「動森」時裝百貨 Nook Street Market，以及美國的 Getty 和 大都會博物館 都公開其館藏予玩家下載於其虛擬空間展出。「動森」對設計與社會文化的影響拭目以待 – 在日益增長的網絡社群，這個虛擬荒島將會帶來怎樣的變化呢？
九龍麵粉廠在推出家用裝產品後，罕有接受媒體訪問。 廠房位於觀塘海旁，於1964年成立，其白色和粉藍色的外觀，以及由已故書法家歐建公題字的招牌，往往吸引途經東九龍走廊的乘客注目。他們的主要客戶是香港各區的餐館和麵包店，但疫情期間在家烘焙的需求大增以致麵粉短缺，激發他們首次推出1公斤裝麵粉在零售市場發售。有設計師為了表達對品牌的支持，為家用裝創作了包裝設計，向大眾喜愛的建築致敬。而廠房過往生產的50公斤麵粉袋，則以藍水仙、綠劍蘭、海棠花插圖分別代表不同麵筋成分的產品。更多有關麵粉廠歷史的資料，可參閱 Industrial History HK 。
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字體與資訊設計師和學者譚智恆在自我隔離的情況下，開始了他的網上項目「（非） 物質文本」，在此分享當中我們最喜愛的帖文：科達牌中英文電子四色繪圖打字機上最喜歡的文章Fortec ET-888中英文電子四色繪圖 打字機。
疫症流行期間，包括 M +展亭等公共展覽場地必須關閉，#MplusFromHome 提供網上內容和資源，供公眾安坐家中觀賞和使用。M +故事現已包括更多過往的展覽與研究資料，例如他們購藏 香港霓虹招牌 的過程；網站亦提供更進深的內容，例如《博文集》第一卷有關視覺文化的文章，重刊1996年10月出版的《視覺文化問卷調查》中的問題，邀請另一群人士回應，以檢視從當年到現今，人們對視覺文化的理解有何變化。
RCA / V&A 設計史課程的兩位成員最近發起「隔離檢疫下的設計」計劃，這是在當前疫症流行期間實時生成的設計檔案庫。 兩位發起人 Anna Talley 和 Fleur Elkerton 早前接受 Designo 的採訪。 檔案庫現正接受投稿，希望會有來自不同語言和地區回應新冠肺炎的的設計作品！
_HKDHNet_ _ 我們 _
我們計劃在未來幾個月更頻密更新消息，記得追蹤我們在 Instagram 和 Twitter 專頁 @hkdhnet。我們亦即將限時接管倫敦設計雙年展 Instagram 平台，你可以在那裡了解更多關於香港館的資訊。 現時，在 LDB官方網站 上有香港館「Sandtable 沙盆推演」的最新信息。 您可能會留意到，該策展計劃原名為「過去的未來」，但隨著我們對項目的最新發展，我們同意現時的命名更切合展館的設計。 我們現正整理一篇有關是次策展與研究過程的網誌文章，可望在短期內發布。