This might be an odd thing to say about Hong Kong, but the place lacks spontaneity. For all of its hustle and intensity, it’s awfully beholden to routine: every day, the same street markets, the same packed MTR trains, the same carnival of consumerism. Even the political protests, though frequent, are quite orderly, almost choreographed.
So thank goodness for things like Detour, a new art and design festival that is headquartered at the old Married Police Quarters, a wonderful 1950s-era housing block (home to Hong Kong’s chief executive in his early years) that was once home to police families and is now empty and abandoned. Just a few years ago, it was meant to be sold and redeveloped, but it has now been preserved and earmarked for creative uses like Detour.
Detour is run by the Ambassadors of Design, a well-funded group whose stated mission is to make Hong Kong into a more creative city; among the events it organizes are Pecha Kucha Night, Cut and Paste and the Business of Design Week.
For the most part, these things take place inside galleries, design shops and other private venues. But this year’s Detour is the first to occupy a public space, and the Ambassadors have done a wonderful job of converting the police quarters into an urban playground, with installations from dozens of artists housed in the old flats and the central courtyard turned into a big beach. So far, the beach has played host to film screenings, lectures, Pecha Kucha Night and an indie music showcase.
You can read more about the festival at CNNGo, which did a quick survey, and Time Out, which ran a nice feature on the construction of a bamboo bridge between the police quarter’s twin apartment blocks. I wanted to hear more from the event’s organizers, though, so I sat down with two of them, Millie Hung and Alvin Yip, earlier this week. Read the interview here.
Alvin Yip and Millie Hung
Tags: Celebrations, Events, Festivals, Hong Kong