Resistance in Hiding: An Archive
At 11pm on June 30th, 2020, the night before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China and one year anniversary of the storming of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, the sweeping National Security Law was officially enacted. Prior to the release of the details, nobody in Hong Kong was allowed to see the details of the law - not even Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Introduced a month earlier by Beijing, it re-defines and criminalizes actions that the CCP considers to be acts of “subversion, secession, terrorism, and foreign interference” that are seen as threats to national security. Inserted into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, it bypasses the local legislature, effectively ending the “One Country, Two Systems” framework - 27 years earlier than its original expiration date of 2047.
As the city awoke to a new reality, with individuals liable to arrest for even possessing protest-related stickers, citizens quickly adjusted accordingly. With a far-reaching scope of 66 articles, waves of social media accounts being deleted and the contemplation of emigration immediately rippled out. However, amidst an air of fear and uncertainty, a heavy silence of blank pages and code emerged, replacing what many were now unable to voice out.
In line with the Hong Kong protest movement’s reputation for being creatively versatile, satirically snarky, and stubbornly resilient, artists and social media users quickly found ways to work around the new restrictions. Playing with visual, auditory, and symbolic puns, here are some of the workarounds that have been widely shared.
Presented in a style reminiscent of a museum’s archive, this series also draws attention to many of Hong Kongers’ fears that the tumultuous year that the city has just experienced will be remembered as nothing more than a footnote in history, gathering dust in a museum - if allowed to be remembered at all.