Neon in art and art history often spoke to a kind of optimism for the future, in many ways, this was also true in the early 80’s to late 90’s Hong Kong as well. “五十年不變” (Fifty Years Unchanged) is a reference to a phrase often uttered by the Chinese government. It represents a promise of semi-autonomy to Hong Kong’s culture and politics when it became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) after the 1997 handover. In light of many recent events, it seems to be evident that this promise is quickly dissolving. My neon sign, which is native to Hong Kong’s visual culture, reflects this disappointment and frustration. Just as Hong Kong’s political freedom and culture is fading so are the neon signs themselves. The sign alternates between”五十年不變” (Fifty Years Unchanged) and "_十年_變" (ten years changed) pointing to not just the fear of a fully Chinese governed Hong Kong but also the inevitability of change, for better or worse. I wanted to incorporate both these elements in my piece, both the fading aesthetics of an older Hong Kong and the ideals that it represented.
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