2 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s independent artistic scene”

  1. Hong Kong’s independent arts scene is still young, but it’s evolving and it seems to me like there’s a lot of potential.

    One of the common refrains among expats is that Hong Kong is “cultureless,” but this strikes me as being the complaint of someone who hasn’t made the effort to discover what actually exists. HK is no Montreal, obviously, but it’s hardly the cultural vacuum that so many people make it out to be. Only a dilettante (and I mean that in the worst way possible) would complain that a place has no “culture.”

    From what I can tell the biggest problem with Hong Kong is not the lack of art but the lack of any good arts coverage in the media. I can’t speak for the Chinese media, but as was mentioned in your Bande à Part piece, the English media does a pretty pathetic job of covering what’s going on, especially the magazines like HK and BC, which are glorified lifestyle rags that care more about the latest vacuous nightclub than they do about any kind of art.

  2. Well, some of the music is not that young, actually! I spoke with a Dickson Dee who started a label in the 90s, and named me a couple of names that I actually recognized.

    The problem, according to Gary, is that the quality of the mastering never evolves in Hong Kong, comparatively to the Mainland. There’s no way to confirm/verify, unless you keep listening to local stuff, which I assume he does.

    I know that the Taiwan scene is a lot more vibrant, with specialized venues in Taipei (which I did not look for / easily find in HK) for instance. The population pool is also larger, and the space, more affordable, I assume.

    There is also the interesting point that Tiffany brought, in that, is the Western-inspired sort of indie music really what interests Chinese people? Maybe there is an under-culture yet to be invented, or maybe it’s something else we don’t get… (I mean, what are equivalents, personality-wise, of our hipsters like in China?) I wonder if it wouldn’t be some kind of neo-Cantopop, or remixed classical instruments.

    Also, Beijing, for instance, has a traditionally strong rock scene – I went to a record shop yesterday night,in BJ and it wasn’t Mandopop playing, but rather one of the rock bands from a compilation we heard before. But again, Dickson was saying how Guangzhou, the South, also had a scene to be discovered, neglected b/c it is so far from the capital, or BJ chauvinism (my understanding, not his words).

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