The second assignment tasked us in discovering the story of our selected place, then displaying that story in video format to the rest of the class. From the research we conducted during the previous week, we saw an overarching prevalence of disconnection in Mei Foo, both spatially and/thus socially. The elevated podium levels divided the pedestrian and vehicular presence which provided safety for either party, but in doing so limited vibrancy in said locations. Our video set out to show the inhabitance conditions of these spaces visually, additionally implying our thoughts on the space’s connectivity metaphorically; the video’s protagonist walked through places while searching for a cellular connection. Aforementioned character, interview English translations, minimal video editing via Adobe Premiere Pro, and partial script decisions were performed by me, while filming, directing, major film editing were done by the rest of my group.
In comparison with sites presented by other groups, Mei Foo shares many similar aspects. Not unlike many housing projects in Hong Kong, Mei Foo housing complex’s main function is to provide large quantity over any other purpose. It features the common podium level construction, which elevates semi-private space usually two to three levels above street level. It has easy accessibility to transportation devices such as MTR, taxi, and bus. The dense, rugged condition simply resonates with numerous other cities in Hong Kong. However, when compared to other cities such as San Francisco, (Near where my family currently lives) it is entirely dissimilar. Although also sharing the need for relatively large population, the availability of space greatly influences the typology and efficiency of the buildings. Certain Victorian/Edwardian homes in San Francisco also share a common walls, similar to the Mei Foo complex. Yet, these generally do not exceed three stories and offer much more visibility than the respective “towers” in Mei Foo. Public space/ Semi-private space either takes form in parks or the pedestrian streets, which are significantly wider. Experience at the street level has its own differences, heat/density, based on location and existing structures.
Constructed during the 1940’s, the buildings seem lackluster and even foreign when placed next to contemporary or modern buildings and complexes. One can easily determine negative aspects of the complex, the inability to perceive location among the wall of buildings, relatively dark arcades, divided spaces; however, with time and effort, certain positive elements begin to unveil themselves.
The usage of video format gave us the ability to demonstrate what if felt like to be in a space, with still-shots of spaces themselves and the movement/inhabitance of humans. We included interviews of residents/visitors, and asked them for their opinion of Mei Foo; while broadcasting their responses we switched between video recording of themselves or relevant still shots. Having both verbal and visual displays reinforced the points they/we were making; this was another benefit of using video format.
Overall, the video-making process as well as watching everyone’s video was an insightful and fun experience. The videos provided us a perspective on the place, and the group representing it based on how they presented.