Palimpsest of Living Habitat in Hong Kong from 1960s to Millennium
Palimpsest : a manuscript on which more than one text has been written with the earlier writing incompletely erased and still visible.
In ancient times, parchment was used as the writing media. Made of sheep skin, this durable material was reused for new scripts after the original writings were washed off. The outcome was a juxtaposition of the old and the new with the previous writings still visible.
Architecturally speaking, whenever spaces are re-created, re-built or re-modeled, the remaining old buildings and areas, or that project an image of the past, constitute an urban palimpsest, which provide a witness or evidence that can also be a figurative accumulation and reinforcement of the original design or use over time.
Hong Kong has been moving fast ahead on the development highway. As Hong Kong becomes more affluent on the whole, the changing aspirations for a better living condition have urged the birth of different habitat configurations. The criss crossing of habitats from different times constitutes a palimpsest worthy of examination.
The living conditions of Hong Kong from public and private sectors set against the eras of 1960’s, 1970’s 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s are the subjects of study in this installation. Layout plans of housing from different times are etched onto transparent acrylics and installed into 5 cubic birdcage matrixes representative of the 5 decades. Superimposed chronologically, the 5 matrix walls shall take the viewers to a visual journey of time on the palimpsest of the living habitats in Hong Kong over 5 decades.