Sunday, January 3, 2010

Black and White in HK

This is one of a series of photos shared via Twitter from demonstrations in Hong Kong on January 1, 2010. The images were aggregated with the term #0101hk.

This image really caught my eye:

"Functional constituencies trample workers."

(Source: sk0207, stellakwok on Twitter)

(Their placards say that "functional constituencies trample workers.")

The use of costume reminded me of commedia dell'arte costumes:

Pierrot (r, in white)
Vasilij Suhaev and Alexandre Yakovlev:
Harlequin and Pierrot (Self-Portraits of
and by Suhaev and A. Yakovlev), 1914.
Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg.

Il Dottore (The Doctor)

Commedia_dell'arte is a highly allusive form of satirical theater from Renaissance Italy, with a strong emphasis on human frailty. Pierrot, a sad clown, wears white. Il Dottore is "a local, angry, disruptive busybody who doesn't listen to anyone else from any of the fields that he claims to know about, which is many (medicine, law, etc.)."

Wouldn't it be something if China could adopt a language of political dissent that includes colorful allusion and metaphor and symbolism and satire . . . without being considered seditious?

Of course, China has always had colorful allusion and metaphor and symbolism and satire:

Cantonese opera: General arrayed in white

Peking Opera - Jing character
"The bla ck face indicates either a rough and bold character or
an impartial and selfless personality"
(description: China National Tourist Office Sydney)

So what's missing?

(Other 1/1/10 images from Hong Kong discussed in Scarry Thoughts.)

Related posts

Years later . . .  I began to take seriously the importance of demons and demon-quelling as a metaphor. (And that includes here and now in our own culture.)

(See Channeling Zhong Kui (the Demon Queller))

"No functional constituencies!" The jig is up: people in Hong Kong want direct elections.

(See Latest HK Prohibition )

Can you think of a concrete symbol of a social protest movement that has gained as much traction?

(See HONG KONG'S UMBRELLA: An Icon for the Ages )

Large protests in Hong Kong have been occuring in Hong Kong for decades. Street demonstrations at the beginning of 2010 exhibited a new high in diversity, expression, and energy.

(See #0101hk: Visual Imagery of Hong Kong Protests Jan 1 2010 )