請 按此 免費下載電子版《城市字海–香港城市景觀研究》
A person’s uprightness is reflected in his/her legible handwriting, as calligraphy practitioners believe. Similarly, how can we get to know a city by its street typography? What characters does Hong Kong exhibit when we look carefully at the overwhelming sea of words in such a compact urban landscape?
A sea of words, once a dominant feature of Hong Kong, reminds us of the neon signs on both sides of Nathan Road as well as not-yet-renewed Lee Tung Street. Mounted high, the advertisement signs of all shapes and sizes, the grey plastic words written on the exteriors of old tonglau buildings as well as small shop signs and company directories upon the building’s ground entrance mark the co-existence of different associations representing various business, fellow villages in the mainland and sport clubs. The urban appearance might look a bit disorganised, but it actually reflects the spirits of diversity, inclusiveness and respectfulness in Hong Kong urban aesthetics, as well as the early development history of Hong Kong society.
Due to rapid urban renewal, the diverse urban landscape has been slowly turning monotonous. See Lee Tung Street as an example – the scene of old shops mixed with different calligraphic styles has now been replaced by chained shops. Dubbed as “conserving the old street’s characters”, the renewed street actually already loses its charm because of the strict and top-to-down management practice under the current urban redevelopment model.
Similar situations can be found on Sneaker Street in Mong Kok, Gage Street Open Market in Central, which have turned into themed shopping streets after the process of urban renewal. Whether the shops can stay or has to leave and how their shop signs should be presented are at management’ discretion. The disappearance of the sea of words, as well as the street landscape that once embraced the spirits of diversity, personal autonomy and differences, reflect the changed way of our living and the respective urban aesthetics.
The new urban layout and business model under the current urban redevelopment model can no longer cultivate an organic and interactive cultural landscape. In face of the vanishing urban aesthetics, how can we start the public discussion about conservation on urban landscape besides being merely nostalgic?
“Typography and the Sea of Words – The Study of Hong Kong Urban Landscape” puts the focus on the urban typography and tries to look into the possibilities for conservation on our urban landscape. We have visited several handwriting artisans in the city – from inscribing shop signs, letterpress printing, neon sign making, stencil making, acrylic and wood sign making to computer font design. Through in-depth interviews, their stories are presented here to sketch the picture of how this unique urban landscape was gradually formed, and how the sea of words has been vanishing gradually.
The exhibition also showcases the art of typography and the way to observe this unique urban landscape from the perspective of typography.
While the exhibition may not provide immediate answers to concrete policies on the conservation of urban landscape, it is hoped to contribute to future discussions with the respective information and analysis.
Please click here to download the e-version of Typography and the Sea of Words – The Study of Hong Kong Urban Landscape
/香港賽馬會社區資助計劃 — 社區文化遺產保育計劃
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant: Community Cultural Heritage Plus
This project is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and organised by the Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage. The project includes a series of programmes to promote heritage conservation. Through the strengthening of public understanding on domestic history and community cultural heritage, every stakeholder can foster their local identity and community cohesion and hence participate in the conservation of community heritages. Launched in 2005, HKJC Community Project Grant provided their partners with grants in three-year cycles, in order to deliver appropriate community services and support the underprivileged.
The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe)
Established in 2005, The Conservancy Association Centre for Heritage (CACHe) is committed to organising different heritage conservation activities. Our mission is to promote the history and culture of Hong Kong, to develop a knowledge exchange platform, and to encourage public engagement in the conservation of community cultural heritage and hence enhance the realisation of their social identities.