The man who attends to the times

2018 / action and artist book / color printing / hard cover binding / pp144 

How distinguished does an individual's existence has to be before he merits a chronicle of his own? What if it's merely that of a watchman, looking after something — a rickety hut on a slope, a nondescript warehouse by the sea — that has long been relegated to the margins of history?

 

Say, the dormitories at the "Royal Depot" which, today, has become Oil Street Art Space. There hasn't been any photographs or official documentation of what life was like there when employees of the Government Supplies Department lived in the premises from 1938 to 1998.

 

But Father was there, when he served as a property attendant at the complex from 1971 to 2000: I've found others who could provide testimonies on his behalf. Along the way, I discovered the transitory nature of Hong Kong's colonial existence, flickering through the many moving fragments charting the existence of the depot. I started this research from the “↑”sign. This is the first half of the book.

 

In the second half of this book, I tried to take up Father's mantle as a timekeeper. I'll take photographs of passers-by at certain moments of the day, or take a stroll along the same route — Father's route — at a particular time. In this sense, the camera freezes time and captures that moment of joy when strangers meet again. These are encounters devoid of drama but entrenched in the everyday: a testimony for Father and his humble life.

 

看管時間的人

2018 / 行動,藝術家之書 / 彩色打印/ 精裝 / pp144

 

人要如何偉大才應被記錄下來?如果他的工作只是看管或作一個見證?木屋和倉庫,有人為它記下歷史嗎?「皇家倉」員工宿舍是油街實現的前身,但卻沒有找到由 1938年至1998年運作期間的照片或公開的歷史紀錄。爸爸是這裡的產業看管員(1971-2000),我想從口述的訪問中為這位見證人落口供寫歷史。我又在紀錄倉庫的流轉片段中發現一種殖民地時間的過渡狀態。「↑」在這次研究作表公物的符號也是聯想的出發點。這是書的上半部。

 

書的下半部,我重操父親的故業,當上「看管時間的人」,在街上定時為路人拍照,在某段時間,同一條路上徒步。攝影在這作為為時間打卡,為捕捉再次遇見時的驚喜,也作為寂寂無名的他/她存在的見證。


project supported by Oi!, WMA

preview of the book, edition of the year 2018, total edition of 29

 © 2019 by Yim Sui Fong

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