Good Morning. Did you know?
When people say ‘The situation in Hong Kong is getting worse’, I really can’t relate to this experience because I have no reference. I moved to Hong Kong from Macao in 2016. As a ‘new immigrant’, my source of information about this city has always been provided by my father, who is from Hong Kong. I have always remembered him talking about the ‘Spirit of the Lion Rock’ being the core value of Hong Kong.
Using ‘elderly memes’ as a medium, Good Morning. Did you know? is a response to my father’s beautiful memories of Hong Kong and it also expresses my feelings about what has been happening since I lived here.
Q1: What do you think of ‘Elderly Memes’ ?
A1: I think they are a tool of communication. Rainbow texts, lotus photos, greeting words… it’s hard not to turn your attention to them. There are loads of publicity works made as ‘elderly memes’ to talk to the senior audience, and of course there are some ironic ones, which are designed to mock. The original purpose of elderly memes is for the older generation to reach us and get connected with their family and friends, sharing health tips and even wisdom words, and I want to do something similar to tell my dad what I’ve seen and experienced in Hong Kong.
Q2: What are the images ?
Ever since my dad moved to Macau in the 90s, he hasn’t really ‘seen’ Hong Kong for a few decades. Some locations where I took the photos for Good Morning. Did you know? are places he frequented in the past. Years gone, a lot has changed, Did you know?
Q3: What are the reasons behind the use of Cantopop lyrics in the texts ?
A3: These are lyrics from the 70s and 80s, times when everything is thriving and growing so fast – the city, the music, everything. I think Cantopop really started to kick off in the mid-70s, and those lyrics always reflect the values of the time and what had happened. For the older generation, there is also an emotional resonance in the texts.
What I want to do is to combine the lyrics, which reflect the collective memories of the past with the images of the present, and to create a room for further thinking.
Q4: What is the purpose of combining ‘texts’ and ‘images’ ?
A4: Every time I come across memes with lotuses and different texts on them, I think of what John Berger says inWays of seeing – “It is hard to define exactly how the words have changed the image but undoubted they have. The image now illustrates the sentence.”
What I find amusing is that while the texts within the images ‘speak’ with each other, the added texts on the memes give them another layer of ‘conversation’, then the observers, those looking at the memes, will also invent their own way to communicate with what they see.
Q5: Why did you create this work?
A5: I want to create a chance and a way to conversation. So many things have happened in Hong Kong recently and there is an apparent disparity on values between generations, and values are always hard to change. What if we start using a mode, a means to talk which can be easily accepted by those you’re talking to? Sometimes it’s better to take a softer stance, a different approach.
Peggy LEI Chi Leng, born and raised in Macau, has based in Hong Kong since 2016. She is a 2020 graduate of Master of Arts in Visual Arts from the Hong Kong Baptist University.
To further her research on the internet memes in visual culture and social media, Peggy works on exploring the relationship between text and images in her art practice. By using text and images in her work, she attempts to tell her own story and way of seeing to her audience.
Good Morning. Did you know? is part of Satellite Exhibitions by Hong Kong International Photo Festival 2021.
“Hong Kong International Photo Festival 2021” is financially supported by the Art Development Matching Grants Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Pilot Scheme for Characteristic Local Tourism Events of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
The opinion or recommendations expressed in any activities organised under this event do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, or the Evaluation Panel of the Pilot Scheme for Characteristic Local Tourism Events.