Things that happens (如常):What's left to the mundane when protests become the everyday?
Abstract: In this 20-minute film piece, I combined my video footages with the ones provided by my main interlocutors, a mainland protestor and a Hong Kong protestor in the 2019 Hong Kong protests. I focus on the mundane and beyond to document things that happen (Daß es geschieht) between September and October 2019 in Hong Kong, three months since the beginning of mass protests. Their voices are edited in order to ensure anonymity.
I purposively avoided an overwhelming journalistic view of representing conflicts in the frontline of the protest. Instead, I include video footages like hawkers selling things illegally in front of the protest-poster-covered metro station, the moments when a protestor eat with family or work or just wandering in the streets of Hong Kong and a Taxi driver muttering about the protest.
In juxtaposing the highly political with the mundane during times of protest in Hong Kong, I revisit Lefebvre's critique of the everyday life to show how the continuation and disturbance of the mundane in Hong Kong during the anti-extradition protests. I see the protests as generating a utopia in dystopia. On one hand, the protesters have romanticised the protest for a sense of belonging to the rising new Hong Kong identity in opposition to Mainland China. On the other hand, the protestors are aware that their actions are highly likely to end up in vain and even punishment. The city had become a dystopia of chaos, where the mundane of consumerism continues.
Screened in China Centre at university of Oxford and Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge in 2019. Presentation accepted in the International Visual Sociology Association annual conference 2021.