The ocean in the city, the light through the window

Afternoons by Silas Fong





Two days ago, when riding on a bus passing by the same old highway along the waterfront, I looked out of the window over the vast harbor. Sandwiched between the lines of skyscrapers along the two shorelines, the harbor just appeared like a river. A wild imagination suddenly flashed into my mind — if these are gigantic rocks instead of skyscrapers, and if I got to climb up to the top of one, would I get either the sense of tranquility or an awe at the grandeur of nature, just the same way I do when I stand in front of a vast ocean or adore a long stretch of mountain? Are we too assimilated into the “city” and slowly losing our own sensibility? At that moment, I told myself, “I wish to preserve my own feelings.”

Afternoons by Silas Fong precisely reveals to me the sensibilities that are imprudently erased by city life. “During my days in Berlin, I used to live in a quiet neighborhood rather far away from the city center. I was allowed to slow down my pace of life and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Days went by without any remarkable happenings; all I did was sitting in front of my desk to wait for the sunbeam to slide through.” He documented the seemingly tedious everyday life. It is at the same time a documentation of the changes of light, as well as the silent, insignificant and repetitive routines.

Fong archived the photos into two volumes that consist altogether 20 small books, which are wrapped in bags made of light-sensitive photographic paper. The subtle difference of light beams as photographed reminds the audience of the flow of time, and the ever-changing nature of our world.

Silas Fong (b. 1985) is a contemporary artist from Hong Kong who currently resides and works in both Seoul and Anseong in Korea. Using time and space as a conceptual theme, Fong’s works mainly explore the intimate relationship between life in metropolis and human interaction, and hence reexamine the rigidity of the values imposed by our society upon us. Focusing on the ideology of high-density cities like Hong Kong, Fong endeavors to reflect on the notion of an individual.