Cage Homes Exhibition
I was researching the topic of housing in Hong Kong for class and came across a really interesting street exhibition/campaign that took place a few months back. I thought it was really creative and compelling so wanted to share with you all.
Housing has been such a hot topic in Hong Kong for years now. Most people living in the city are struggling with obscenely high housing prices, as is the case with most metropolises. But the most disadvantaged in society are forced to live in what are called 'caged apartments'. Basically, they're separated spaces no larger than 40 square feet, where they're often unable to sit up or stretch properly. Even so, the rent for a cage is around 100 USD. That's why so many others resort to even more inhumane living conditions such as building illegal, makeshift shacks on rooftops or sleeping on the street. Many photographers have travelled to Hong Kong to capture the conditions of cage homes, which has undoubtedly damaged the city's image in the international community (see photos here, here and here).
Kwong Chi Kit and Benny Lam worked together with Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) to create these miniature recreations of the living conditions of those living in cage homes as part of a campaign to raise awareness for the issue. They were inspired by the idea of paralleling them to 'rat cages' and installed these miniatures in the wealthiest streets in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, I didn't see these in person myself but I imagine that it was quite provocative.
There's a lot that the government can do about the issue but I think the lack of incentive rests in the fact that Hong Kong is such a free-market driven and anti-welfare minded city. The fact remains that more than 1 million people are living in poverty and it is those fortunate ones who are able to obtain public housing. It's really sad to think that the government surplus is not going to improving infrastructures like these across the city or building more homeless shelters, even improving social welfare policies is politically unfeasible. Of course, the issue is more complex but there are things that can be done and I think campaigns like this can help to do.