r/n: What is this series about?
This series is about my own personal anxiety regarding the transitions occurring in my neighbourhood. More than my own personal feelings, there are a lot of people who are also affected by the transformations all around us. Lots of well known business are being swept away, with the cost of space beyond any comprehensible level. More than business, many people are being displaced as their apartment and homes are sold out from under them in an act referred to as “renoviction”.. Through this, we lose so much of our cultural and artistic identity which more often than not resonates from people who are most affected by these selfish acts of capital trade/gain.
r/n: At what moment did you first feel moved to create this series?
This feeling has been fermenting in my mind for some time now. For myself, personally, my own rent has been skyrocketing every year. As I personally cope with the difficulties of remaining relevant to a city that is constantly pushing me away. I have been reminded about this on going struggle every time I step out of my apartment. How every shop across the street is up for sale, how the apartment buildings kitty-corner to mine is being sold off for demolition. This series is a reaction to the cumulation of these feelings. I often get my inspiration from my surroundings and environment. Its where I take most of my photographs. Currently, this is the dominating theme of my surroundings.
This dynamic surrounds everything here. It’s not just the rich versus the poor, and not just the foreign buyers versus the long-time residents. It’s the texture of reality, here, this decade; we all breathe it, we feel it, we all respond to those feelings in our ways. Some people protest, and some are compelled to political organization. And others see opportunity…they become real-estate brokers or construction workers or apartment-flippers or new-service industry workers, or whatever. For me photography lets me state my feelings without having to resolve them into a specific single conclusion that then cuts off all the other feelings. Yes, there’s terror to a deep construction hole in the ground, but also nightmare beauty. Or tearing down, to build up. Or your beautiful view–suddenly blocked by someone else’s even more beautiful view! Photography lets me explore these oppositions without insisting one’s right and the other, wrong. If my images were punctuation I’d like to think they were three dots rather than question-marks or exclamation-points. Inconclusive, so still alive…
Art direction/ photograph: Chieh Huang
Styling: Melissa Graf
Makeup: Carla Sahagún