Around Easter DROPPING FURNITURE (the film version) is shown at the Hong Kong Int. Film Festival, which is said to be the equivalent of the Cannes festival in Asia. I am invited to go.
On my way from Hong Kong airport to Kowloon I get a first view of the city. With its skyscrapers Hong Kong resembles in some ways New York City, only that its parts are spread out further across mainland China and several islands all of which seem to have a green mountain backdrop against which the skyscrapers have been pushed. Kowloon (mainland) and Central (on Hong Kong Island) seem like the very compressed version of a city of high-rise buildings.
In Kowloon the sky is full of neon signs which are lit by night and shut off during the day. Nevertheless the signs are colourful and still interesting to look at in daylight. I find the signs especially interesting in a part of Kowloon called Jordan. Later I will learn that Jordan is a red-light district which also has a great night market and a street with great seafood restaurants.
I decide to visit Chungking mansions which i have seen on film in a Wong Kar-Wai movie a long time ago. The Chungking building is on Nathan Road, one of the biggest streets which run through Kowloon. The building is a big block, probably built in the 60ies, it has numerous shops on the first floor.
There is not a trace of daylight on the ground floor. A number of merchants offer their goods, from electric appliances to money exchange.
There are several elevators and stairways which lead up to the other floors. Groups of immigrants wait in front of the elevators, ranging from Indian to black people, some of them in their traditional clothes. All of them are men. They wait to get on the elevator that brings them up to an endless number of guesthouses which cover all of the above floors. The African men look quite positive, there seems to be a future for them in Hong Kong (or at least a present).
I get out through a backdoor to a dark and narrow lane. Three guys squat on the floor. One of them has bad teeth, he flashes a rather dirty grin and offers me marihuana. Better get out of that place, it’s too dark and dirty in the backyard.
I continue my trip on the MTR to Mong Kok. I pass high-rise buildings and I walk through streets with a great number of neon signs and numerous bridges (for pedestrians and for vehicles) which cross the streets.
On the main street there is heavy traffic and a lot of noise. I go around the corner and as so often in Hong Kong there is a completely different picture: an open air food market. The air is full of smells, roasted chicken are chopped to pieces for take away. Hundreds of Chinese people visit the colourful market.
The same afternoon I intend to go for late lunch in Jordan. I have a huge appetite for seafood but I must discover that almost all restaurants are closed. The only place which seems to have good food is a food stall on Temple Street. I decide to sit down next to the stall at a tiny table on a low stool made of plastic. I am cautious not to rest my elbows on the greasy table and try to forget the dirt on the stool. The meal is good, though.
Without intent I start watching several young men which are standing at the corner of the street where I am sitting. One of the boys wears jogging trousers, he seems to be on the street occasionally and wait for somebody.
Another guy wears a golden necklace and a shoulderbag which looks a little too female. He crosses the street and runs around busily. A third guy appears, who also wears a shoulderbag. That man is the youngest.
Only then I notice that those boys are hookers. The young one is the most daring, he walks up to passing men and talks to them. Most of the approached men won’t listen nor talk back, they just continue their way.
I watch the hookers unnoticed. Whenever I think they look at me, I stare somewhere else. Finally the young boy approaches me and offers me a massage.
Jordan is a district of red light joints and saunas. Usually women offer their services to men. The male hookers are clearly news in a city which hasn’t quite come to terms with homosexuality.
On our last day in Hong Kong me and a friend make a visit to the bird market. Parrots, canaries and the like are offered in cages.
The bird market is close to Flower Street which only has flower stands. We continue our way to the Goldfish Market which has only aquarium shops.
Well actually it’s more plastic bags filled tight with water which are put up in the street by the hundreds. The bags contain one or more fish, they are that taut that they almost seem to explode. Distortion gives a surrealistic look of the fish in the bags.
I take part in Soundframe (www.soundframe.at), which is a big exhibition about audiovision at the Künstlerhaus Vienna.
This year’s topic is Evolution Remixed. My film ALL PEOPLE IS PLASTIC is chosen for the show (see http://kgp.co.at/index.php?option=com_moviedb&task=viewmovie&id=13&Itemid=84&lang=en for information and trailer of the film).
I also contribute a collage to UKO’s Sista Sadie Life Show, which is a remix project of UKO’s new album on all levels (music, video and photography).
Dj Kosmoprolet aka Karl Kilian has expanded his live performance into a 3 people outfit called Kosmoprolet. Kosmoprolet speak Rrrrrrussian English, they play Trash Techno. Check out Kosmoprolet’s great dance video Coalminestyle on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V68LS_gzOc and their music under: http://www.myspace.com/djkosmoprolet
In December 2008 our video installation DROPPING FURNITURE is shown in a group show called “Soot From the Funnel” at Lokaal 01 in Breda (Holland) and at the “Central European Art Festival” in Trnva (Slovakia).
The single-channel film version premiered at 2008’s Austrian film festival VIENNALE and has been invited for ex. to this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Hong Kong Int. Film Festival 2009. Yippiäh!