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R.O.O.T. ("Revolution of Our Time")

Ho Oi Ying Valerie

Hong Kong


Steel, Digital Printing on Paper and Scratch-off Paper, Digital Printing on Ready-made T-shirts and Stickers, Vending capsule, Tape, Steel, Holographic sticker, Digital Printing on Paper

Following the National Security Law introduced in 2020 by the Chinese Government in Hong Kong, a large “grey area” exists around what constitutes a violation of this law. Invisible political red lines are interwoven into a net of surveillance, and citizens fear drastic censorship upon expressing their dissatisfaction with the government. As an artist working abroad to support Hong Kong’s citizens who must remain in the country under these burdensome conditions, I propose a visual protest system that consists of wearable objects to be disseminated to my generation. Developed as a strategy of intervention, a system of coded symbols, both satirical and popularised, allows for the agency to operate without compromising safety. 

Apocalypse Statement 

It has been three and a half years since June 2019. Hong Kong's democratic system has been continuously damaged, and the political system has even been set back for decades. So the incident continued to happen, and the only remaining rights will gradually decrease. Although the background of my research is based on the current situation in Hong Kong, fighting against the regime or facing suppression is an issue that has not only happened in Hong Kong. Research and development of a visual protest system to serve as a non-verbal resistance continue helping the citizen suppressed by politics from different locations get connected, built up solidarity and opposition to the power. Events during the protest will only happen once in a lifetime and no return, the protesters have also absorbed some experience from the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which also draws on the different resistance methods of foreign countries for reference, which led to a major social movement in 2019. For example, occupying the Legislative Council Complex on 1 July 2019 was referencing the success of the citizens who occupied the Legislative Yuan during the Sunflower Movement in 2014 in Taiwan. Hong Kong also organized a "Hong Kong Road", following the example of the Baltic Way peaceful demonstration in 1989, different levels of action allow more people to take part in the protest. Under the concept of cosmopolitanism, these help to enrich the vocabulary of mass action: identify a tactic, image, or organizing principle, which also influences each other. The social landscape is changed according to social order and atmosphere. Not to mention when the government suppressed opposition and the biased position of those in power. The government lacked integrity and was not trustworthy, and its legitimacy was not recognized and accepted as right and proper. History does not necessarily need to be recorded by the regime because nothing is more crucial to a democratic society than this: historical knowledge is a prerequisite for political intelligence. Nevertheless, history will directly affect how the next generation develops a comprehensive understanding of the world, including shared humanity, and see the issue from a different perspective. Historical memory is essential for self-identity, understanding one's place in time, and feeling linked to society. When a person is denied knowledge of his or her roots, he or she loses the entire sense of self and the sense of shared community that is necessary for full personal growth and responsible citizenship. This makes it even more incumbent upon me to document this unofficial history and record the revolution of our time through my practice. Without history, a society has no shared knowledge of where it has come from, its essential values, or how past decisions have influenced current events. Without history, we cannot conduct any meaningful investigation into societal, political, social, or moral issues. And without historical knowledge and inquiry, we cannot achieve informed to effective participation in the democratic processes of governance and the fulfillment for all our citizens of the nation’s democratic ideals. There is no doubt that fighting against the regime will be a long journey to facing different suppression levels. The fight against tyranny is not something a single demonstration can overcome. All actions are processes taken one step at a time and then leave footprints for future generations. The road ahead is dangerous and unknown, but light must be in the darkness ahead.

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