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Take Back Our FutureAn Eventful Sociology of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement$
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Ching Kwan Lee and Ming Sing

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501740916

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501740916.001.0001

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Protest Art, Hong Kong Style

Protest Art, Hong Kong Style

A Photo Essay

(p.193) 9 Protest Art, Hong Kong Style
Take Back Our Future

Oscar Ho

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents a photo essay featuring protest art during the Umbrella Movement. One of the most outstanding achievements of the Occupy Movement was its artistic creation during the occupation, inside and outside of the occupied zones. The movement triggered an unprecedented outburst of creative expressions, turning the occupied zones into giant theaters and galleries that provided new definitions of political/community art. Outside the occupied zones, there were also countless images, texts, and animations delivered via websites, e-mail, and Facebook. The adaptation of popular culture not only created commonly identified images and values, but it also generated a sense of humor with a touch of cynicism, which is typical of Hong Kong's pop culture. Starting at the turn of the century, when street protest became a common activity in Hong Kong, a new concept called “happy confrontation” was invented. This was a belief that political confrontation could be undertaken in a celebrative mode and that street demonstrations could take the form of a carnival. Of course, there were people who disagreed with such a concept, especially for the Umbrella Movement, which was full of hardship, conflicts, and brutal attacks. Nevertheless, throughout the occupation, such humor and cynicism could be easily found, especially at Mongkok.

Keywords:   protest art, Umbrella Movement, popular culture, humor, cynicism, Hong Kong, street demonstrations, political art, community art, Occupy Movement

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