Contained in:
Book Chapter

Hidden music scenes: governmentality and contestation in postcolonial Hong Kong

  • Diego Caro

Floor 26 of Ho King Commercial Centre in Yau Ma Tei, the elevator stops. At the end of the corridor, the sound of a heavy metal band, detuned screams buffered by the cracked plywood door of a tiny music studio. Outdated factory buildings in Kwun Tong, industrial architecture gradually surrounded by new commercial and residential complexes; their precarious wait for urban renewal has offered an opportunity for young musicians to establish music studios, classrooms, or improvised bedrooms where music and teenage discoveries mingle with the noise of machinery. A rusty anonymous intercom partially hidden by some plastic ivies. Past the door, a narrow metallic staircase, source of random encounters and only access point to a one-off experience; hundreds of people—local and foreigners—gathered in a tiny dark room, a miscellany of sweat, smoke, voices, and distant music. The hidden networks formed by musicians scattered in unexpected venues around Hong Kong provide a sonic collage that reformulates some of the city’s social peripheries from within. Through emergent sub-cultures, young artists deploy a wide range of tactics to counter the commodification and politicization of creativity, and the speculation over space in order to achieve new opportunities in a “bureaucratic society of controlled consumption.” In his work on everyday life, which focuses on the resistance of (extra)ordinary people to structures of power, Michel de Certeau makes reference to the idea of “silent discoverers of their own paths in the jungle of functionalist rationality.” The main actors of this essay, despite feeding on and actively participating in Hong Kong’s consumerism dynamics by taking references from social media, e-commerce, or shopping malls, produce “wandering lines”—or wandering sounds—with their own (syn)tactics through their artistic practices. Notably, in Hong Kong’s reductionist bureaucratic system, with a strong predominance of statistics and evaluation focused on “classifying, calculating and putting into tables,” these artistic rituals and reinterpretations of the city’s culture often remain overlooked or hidden to the system.

  • Keywords:
  • cultural studies,
  • underground music,
  • post-colonialism,
  • governmentality,
  • production of space,
+ Show More

Diego Caro

University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  1. Appadurai A. 1991, “Afterword,” in A. Appadurai, F.J. Korom, M.A. Mills (eds.), Gender, Genre, and Power in South Asian Expressive Traditions, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
  2. Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI) at NUS 2019, “A Case on Hong Kong Case Study – Some Deep-seated Economic Factors behind the Massive Protests?”, Asia Economic Forum, August 2019, Hong Kong.
  3. Cartier C. 2008, “Culture and the City,” China Review, 8(1), Special Issue: Hong Kong: Ten Years after the Handover (Spring 2008), pp. 59–83.
  4. Certeau M. de. 1984, The Practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, Berkeley.
  5. Chalana M., Hou J. 2016, Messy Urbanism: Understanding the “other” Cities of Asia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong.
  6. Chan A., Cheung E., Wong I. 2015, “Impacts of the Revitalizing Industrial Buildings Scheme in Hong Kong,” Sustainable Cities and Society, 19, pp. 184–90.
  7. Chak E. 2017, “Stardust,” So It Goes, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG3XtIKZ5xY>, (10/ 2019).
  8. Chu Y-W., Leung E. 2013, “Remapping Hong Kong popular music: Covers, localisation and the waning hybridity of Cantopop,” Popular Music, 32(1), pp. 65–78.
  9. Cuthbert A. R., Mckinnell K. G. 1997, “Ambiguous Space, Ambiguous Rights: Corporate Power and Social Control in Hong Kong,” Cities, 14, 5, pp. 295–311.
  10. Deleuze G., Guattari F. 1987, A Thousand Pleateaus, trans. B. Massumi, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
  11. Harvey D. 2012, Rebel cities: From the right to the city to the urban revolution, Verso, New York.
  12. Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong 2015, Views on Housing and Youth in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK, Hong Kong.
  13. Hong Kong Planning Department 2018, Survey on Business Establishments in Kowloon East 2018.
  14. Hong Kong Volunteer. 2013, “The Warehouse Teenage Club,” 14 July 2013, <https://hongkongvolunteer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/the-warehouse-teenage-club/>, (09/2019).
  15. Kin Wai M., Zhu M. 2016, “Neutral Equilibrium in Public Space: Mong Kok Flower Market in Hong Kong,” in C. Manish and J. Hou (eds.), Messy Urbanism: Understanding the “Other” Cities of Asia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 136–153.
  16. King A. D. 2004, Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture, Urbanism, Identity, Routledge, London and New York.
  17. LCQ18, Regulation of use of industrial buildings, 11 November 2015, <https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201511/11/P201511110462.htm>, (10/2019).
  18. Lefebvre H. 1984 [1968], “Bureaucratic Society of Controlled Consumption,” in Everyday Life in the Modern World, trans. S. Rabinovitch, Communications Series, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ, pp. 68–109.
  19. Lord R. 2018, “Hong Kong indie music venue Hidden Agenda returns as TTN” South China Morning Post, 11 June 2018, <https://www.scmp.com/culture/music/article/2150173/hong-kong-indie-music-venue-hidden-agenda-returns-ttn-and-it-plans>, (08/2019).
  20. Louie K. 2010, Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong.
  21. Lui T-L. 2007, Sidai Xianggang ren (Four generations of Hong Kong people), Step Forward Multimedia, Hong Kong.
  22. Mathews G., Lü D. 2001, Consuming Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong.
  23. Ng J. 2009, Paradigm City: Space, Culture, and Capitalism in Hong Kong, SUNY Series in Global Modernity, SUNY Press, Albany.
  24. Ong A. 2006, Neoliberalism as exception: mutations in citizenship and sovereignty, Duke University Press, Durham.
  25. Pang L. 2020, The Appearing Demos: Hong Kong during and after the Umbrella Movement, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  26. Roy A., Ong A. (eds.) 2011, Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA.
  27. Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors 2009, Report on industrial buildings – strategic review of issues associated with conversion for adaptive re-use, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Hong Kong.
  28. Sai Coeng (n.d.), “About” [Facebook page], <https://www.facebook.com/pg/saicoenghk/about/>, (10/2019).
  29. Siu H. F. 2001, “Returning a Provincialized Middle Class in Asia’s Urban Postmodern: The Case of Hong Kong,” in A. Roy, A. Ong (eds.), Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global, Wiley Blackwell, Malden, MA.
  30. Siu K. W. M., Zhu M. 2016, “Neutral Equilibrium in Public Space: Mong Kok Flower Market in Hong Kong,” in C. Manish, H. Jeffrey (eds.), Messy Urbanism: Understanding the “Other” Cities of Asia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 136–153.
  31. Time Out Hong Kong 2020, “The legacy that Hidden Agenda: This Town Needs leaves behind,” Time Out, <https://www.timeout.com/hong-kong/music/the-legacy-that-hidden-agenda-this-town-needs-leaves-behind>, (02/2020).
  32. Void Noize (n.d.), “About” [Facebook page], <https://www.facebook.com/TheVOIDNOIZE/>, (01/2020).
  33. Wong Y. C., 2017 “Localism in Hong Kong: Its Origins, Development and Prospect,” Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations, 3(2), pp. 617–655.
  34. Wu C. 2020, “Interview with My Little Airport,” Honeycombers, <https://thehoneycombers.com/hong-kong/my-little-airport-hong-kong-indie-band-interview/>, (April 2020).
PDF
  • Publication Year: 2022
  • Pages: 240-256

XML
  • Publication Year: 2022

Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Hidden music scenes: governmentality and contestation in postcolonial Hong Kong

Authors

Diego Caro

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-661-2.11

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2022

Copyright Information

© 2022 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Embodying Peripheries

Editors

Giuseppina Forte, Kuan Hwa

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

304

Publication Year

2022

Copyright Information

© 2022 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-661-2

ISBN Print

978-88-5518-660-5

eISBN (pdf)

978-88-5518-661-2

eISBN (xml)

978-88-5518-662-9

Series Title

Ricerche. Architettura, Pianificazione, Paesaggio, Design

Series ISSN

2975-0342

Series E-ISSN

2975-0350

148

Fulltext
downloads

75

Views

Export Citation

1,310

Open Access Books

in the Catalogue

1,977

Book Chapters

3,352,053

Fulltext
downloads

4,172

Authors

from 873 Research Institutions

of 64 Nations

63

scientific boards

from 340 Research Institutions

of 43 Nations

1,150

Referees

from 344 Research Institutions

of 37 Nations