Everyday Hybridity

Dr Paul O'Connor
Anthropology/Sociology/Cultural Studies/
Hong Kong/Ethnicity/
Skateboarding/Everyday Life

Lecturing in Anthropology at CUHK

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cuhk.academia.edu/PaulOConnorFollow me on Academia.edu
@peejayohhsee
everydayhybridity@gmail.com

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What is Everyday Hybridity?


Posts on Hybridity
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Posts on Islam
Posts on Skateboarding

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  1. Old Hong Kong Street Map from 1971

    I have tried to juxtapose a couple of these maps with current Google Maps. You see some distinct difference at Tung Chung with Chep Lap Kok airport. I also like the final map of Tsim Sha Tsui. Here you can see the old KCR terminal too.

     
     
  2. whoismims:

Shanghai’s Insane, 26-Year Transformation Summed Up In Two Photos
To offer further perspective: When I lived in Shanghai in 2006 = 2 subway lines. When I went back in 2010 = 13 subway lines.

I just love these sorts of shots. When there is such a radical difference between the two photos you look for traces of the old in the new picture and then you flick back to the old one to look at the absence of the new. Endlessly fascinating to observe the same thing in different guises.
So in honour of these types of posts I present a collection from the archive. There are a lot more out there of course…
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/26073926726/i-think-this-collection-of-pictures-is-just
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/32182230641/happy-valley-100-years-apart-here-is-another-one
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/31183050943/this-is-a-great-comparative-piece-bravo-mika
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/31089775810/last-night-whilst-talking-to-colleagues-and
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/24197928207/earlier-this-month-i-posted-on-the-transformations
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/56445870684/same-spot-same-month-different-years
http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/11474101823/skateboarding-and-intimacies-of-space-the-two
http://sincerelyhana.com/projects/switcheroo/

    whoismims:

    Shanghai’s Insane, 26-Year Transformation Summed Up In Two Photos

    To offer further perspective: When I lived in Shanghai in 2006 = 2 subway lines. When I went back in 2010 = 13 subway lines.

    I just love these sorts of shots. When there is such a radical difference between the two photos you look for traces of the old in the new picture and then you flick back to the old one to look at the absence of the new. Endlessly fascinating to observe the same thing in different guises.

    So in honour of these types of posts I present a collection from the archive. There are a lot more out there of course…

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/26073926726/i-think-this-collection-of-pictures-is-just

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/32182230641/happy-valley-100-years-apart-here-is-another-one

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/31183050943/this-is-a-great-comparative-piece-bravo-mika

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/31089775810/last-night-whilst-talking-to-colleagues-and

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/24197928207/earlier-this-month-i-posted-on-the-transformations

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/56445870684/same-spot-same-month-different-years

    http://everydayhybridity.tumblr.com/post/11474101823/skateboarding-and-intimacies-of-space-the-two

    http://sincerelyhana.com/projects/switcheroo/

     
     
  3. Same spot, same month, different years…and different times of day.

     
     
  4. Last night whilst talking to colleagues and students we debated Hong Kong landscape, history, and photographs. I commented that whenever you go to a bookshop in Hong Kong, despite the vast array of books on Hong Kong, typically 50% of what is on the shelves are photo books of Hong Kong. These books are normally contemporary pictures, or a collection of ‘old’ Hong Kong. What is desperately lacking is a contrasting book of old and new.

    Fortunately there is a wonderful Flickr group that fills this void. It houses a remarkable collection of photos in which it is possible to trace change, discontinuity, and permanence in the Hong Kong physical and built landscape. One photo that I do not include here shows Chungking Mansions photographed approximately 25 years apart. There is little change.

    For Hong Kong people these photos are valuable in dramatic ways. THe cultural history of the territory changes in such a dramatic pace, that these small fragments of the past hold the key to unlocking memories that have been cemented over, lost in the sea, and constructing upon.

    For my further musings on the changes to HK places see here. Also some other collections of Hong Kong photographic history here and here.

     
     
  5. Earlier this month I posted on the transformations of mundane spaces and wrote about the ‘green path’ in Happy Valley. 

    Those thoughts have stuck with me these last couple of weeks and been reflected back to me in some interesting conversations about photographs in Hong Kong.

    However, I found myself back in Happy Valley earlier today and I took this shot to contrast with the old view of the green path. It is remarkable how such a simple place has transformed so quickly. The signs at the top of the street are different, some bamboo scaffolding has gone up, the new brickwork is visible, and a number of businesses have changed hands just on this one narrow alley.

     
     
  6. Changing Places Changing Faces

    Recently in the news I have seen a whole bunch of clever time lapse videos and photographs where children have been shown ageing years in just a couple of minutes. I have also seen a few of the same videos but done with pregnancy. At a tangent Richard Linklater seems to be doing the same thing on a more epic scale.

    There is no doubt that these videos are always captivating. It is remarkable to see human change so quickly, and also to have it documented for posterity.

    Living in a city like Hong Kong it is also really important to document the mundane urban environment as it changes so fast. In the movie Smoke Harvey Keitel’s character, Auggie Wren, takes a photo of his tobacco shop from the same street corner every single day. He has photo albums full of what at first appears to be the very same photo. He explains to William Hurt’s character,Paul Benjamin, that actually there is subtle difference in each one. Some people appear walking on the street in the background of the photos. Over the course of many years the photos show them ageing, or routines changing. For Auggie these photo albums are a visual diary. Reminders of the uneventful and mundane changes that eventually make up the sum of our lives.

    I include a photo above of a pathway in Happy Valley. This picture is not remarkable, but for the friend that took it, and myself, it holds the key to some of the everyday that we lived for a number of years. Historically the path is of interest as the green material that is visible was actually a soft sponge like flooring. It has since been removed. Many many years ago the horses for the Happy Valley races were kept on race day at the stables at the top of Shan Kwong Rd and were walked down to the racetrack via this path. The green cushioned path served to deaden the loud noise of the group of horses as they made their journey. As the Happy Valley stadium now houses its own stables this path became obsolete and has now been replaced with brick work with a racehorse pattern. I shall take a photo and post it at some point.

    This photo is also significant because during the 8 years in which I lived in Happy Valley I would see this old man selling his fruit on a daily basis. Over the years I saw his health deteriorate. I remember he sold off his actual fruit stall. Then he took to using this cart and occupied the green path for a year or more. His son would come and help him about. I remember seeing his son once in Chai Wan and he explained to me that Happy Valley was just where he went to look after his father. His father was tied to Happy Valley in terms of trade, but also lived in Chai Wan I believe. Eventually I saw the son pushing the old man around in a wheelchair. Finally he had stopped working. A few months later I realised I hadn’t seen either of them and I realised that the old man had finally died.

    Like the green path, part of the fabric of my everyday life, he had vanished. It is a theme dear to Hong Konger’s and one the Abbas articulates beautifully. With all the complexity of the city, sometimes we don’t quite realise what we are seeing until it has finally gone. Places have a humanity because of how we interact with them and the people that occupy them.

    I am going to be spending sometime taking photos of some boring and mundane stuff over the next couple of weeks.

    A big thanks to Lyn who brought the path and the old man back to life for me through this photo.