DEEP WATER — PUBLIC SPACES IN SHAM SHUI PO, HONG KONG
Claim. Reclaim. Occupy. Enlarge. Extend. These are everyday words in Hong Kong.
In the high density district of Sham Shui Po, which translates as Deep Water Pier for its former maritime importance, the people tend to be friendly, community-minded, resourceful, and down-to-earth. They also, statistically, have the lowest incomes in Hong Kong.
The area has been changing for decades, centuries. The post-war factories have all relocated to Mainland China. The temple for Tin Hau, the goddess of the sea, was erected near the harbour in 1901 yet today, the goddess looks out at hawkers selling second-hand electronics.
Regulations for urban public spaces of pavements, alleys, and streets in Hong Kong are sometimes negotiable. It can be unclear what is legal in Sham Shui Po. Can carpenters carry out their work on the footpath? Can a homeless person leave belongings in front of a bank? Can trash pickers store their items on the streets? Deep Water explores this “politics of space”, undoubtedly an idiosyncratic beauty of the city.