chapter  1
17 Pages

Spectral monumentality and the face of time: virtuality, distortions of scale and asynchrony in post-colonial Hong Kong

For some days and nights before the final Star Ferry service to the old Central terminal on Hong Kong Island in November 2006, crowds gathered to take photographs1 and, in particular, to bear witness to the final clock toll at midnight on 11 November. Estimates put the number on the final day at 150,000 -the scale of a large demonstration (Lai, SCMP, 2007, AI2). On the surface, it was hard to know whether the unprecedented numbers of photographers, both amateur and professional, were like a pack of paparazzi, chasing a celebrity to her death, since there was a sense of waiting for a significant event to occur or the imminent arrival of someone important. In this case, perhaps the ‘important' people ('temporary celebrities'?) were simply those ordinary passengers taking the ferry, continuing to move backwards and forwards across the harbour ,的 testimony to an everyday practice, resisting change, but equally adapting to it and surviving.