The Tale of Two Streets – Wing Kwong Street and Cheung Fat Street (Exhibition)
The power of storytelling is not confined only to words. Oftentimes, the surroundings in our communities and objects, such as shop signs and walls of the buildings, after years, can tell impressive stories with rarely known details that will surprise you. This time, the team designed a research workshop to be conducted in two distinct streets respectively located in two different neighbourhoods of Cheung Sha Wan and To Kwa Wan. Although with a 20-minute driving distance from each other, Cheung Fat Street and Wing Kwong Streets have a lot in common, such as their rich diversities in shops with local owners and unique architecture of buildings. With the outset of this project established on these premises, we conducted a detailed research in finding, documenting commonalities of these two streets. The aims were to explore the possibility of exchange and dialogues between these two neighbourhoods, and to conserve collective memories and community cultures through the use of creative mediums in documentation and exhibition, in response to the rapid changes brought by recent reconstructions of the streets.
In this project, we mobilised passionate locals from two districts to participate in the research process. Seven participants were encouraged to conduct detailed observations in groups by walking down the streets, to discover and document unique qualities surrounding five keyword themes: “the Beginning”. “Light”, “Vision”, “Identity” and “Connections”. Their goal was to identify and select unique characteristics of these two 10-kilometre-long streets, then record them through creative means. Along the process, we aim to engage the public in meaningful conversations and to develop an awareness of local diversities and topics surrounding urban redevelopment. With more than six visits in a period of two months, documentations have taken place in forms of photography, videos, sounds, drawings, writing and even interviews, with the aim to develop a sense of mission in conserving community cultures through creative mediums and imagination.
Participants visited community institutions in small groups.
In bringing the project to fruition, the team and participants carefully constructed a graphical illustration of their documentation into a “Community Map”, connecting unique elements of two streets with creatively written annotations. The Map has been printed into portable leaflets and exhibited in the form of large display boards in two local cafés, reaching a wide audience of different ages in the districts. It was a fruitful reflective experience for participants and the engaged public to understand concepts such as spatial relations in urban planning, to be aware of social relations and the deep and valuable social connections developed overtime that are often unspoken about. In face of the foreseeable transformation brought by reconstruction, we believe it was a timely project to encourage public awareness, engagement and contribution from the people to our beloved communities.