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Niemandsland - Johannes Schöllhorn

Our eyes wander across the huge façade of the great city theatre in the south part of Kowloon near Star Ferry Pier in Hong Kong. 360 degrees, day and night our eyes look around in a spiral, which the music attempts to reflect, at that splendid, breathtaking façade which hides the unspeakably sad image of a declining city yards. We listen to their sounds, from the early hours of the morning, and we look east, toward the countless tower blocks behind North Point. At dusk we reach Hong Kong Island and our eyes wander from Happy Valley through Wan Chai south to Central and farther to Chai Wan, the centres of excited consumption and stupefying lack of history, of the Now constantly on the run, whose highest point bears the significant name of The Peak. Our eyes guess the new airport across the sea. We watch the crates carried through the air from and onto the ships on the other side of the Pearl River Delta in Macau, and the immense building site of the Elements mall, enveloped in the afternoon light, where at head-spinning heights builders erect bamboo-like scaffolding. And behind them, a bit to the side, clad in darkness, the erstwhile shop floors of goods Made in Hong Kong, now – Made in China, produced beyond the hills in factories adjacent to the great cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, working day and night shifts, in a neverending mechanical cycle. The goods are loaded and sent worldwide. In the darkness we gradually return to our point of departure, our field of vision becomes wider, and we sense the presence of continental China, of which Hong Kong is the southern edge, a gate to the outside world and to inner China, to which Hong Kong both does and does not belong. Nearly completely surrounded by the waters once crossed by the founders of this southernmost territory, a no man’s land, historically and geographically: the huge nomadic city dazzling us with its noise, but at the same time always in danger of disappearing as fast as it was built, and becoming again the fishing village that it was less than two hundred years ago.

Johannes Schöllhorn