The Visual Resistance of the Hong Kong Protest Movement: From Post-it Notes to PR Machine
ChinaTalk by Mai Corlin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Since June, Hong Kong has been flooded by a surge of visual resistance as part of the ongoing protest movement. Throughout the protests, we have seen a visual landscape that is promptly and ingeniously responding to events on the street, in the press and on the political arena in a fast-paced battle of the truth. The visuality ranges from graffiti slogans calling for revolution, drawings of protesters as manga cartoon characters and superheroes with superpowers, memes ridiculing the government, prints with graphic depictions of police violence, fact-filled pamphlets and on to small stickers reminding people to keep hope and their mental well-being, post-it utterances of peace and love for all Hong Kong’ers and so much more.
In this talk, I will show how the visual resistance has developed from hand-written post-it notes to become a full-grown leaderless, decentralized, organic functioning PR machine. I argue, that the more than 150 protest walls wall-papered with protest posters and scattered across the territory of Hong Kong function as central sites of resistance allowing for another temporality and another kind of participation than the short-term explosions of the weekly demonstrations or the massiveness of the visual production unfolding online, on message services and on social media platforms.