Keywords:local authority, production of space, critical practice, spatial narrative
Olivia Chen has conducted research into the transient dawn markets of Hong Kong in which hawkers secretly operate second-hand markets, forming a liminal space in which objects of inconsequential value are sold and exchanged. Through this Chen has built an understanding of the web of the social relations and hierarchies that underpin poorer areas in Hong Kong, exposing the socio-economic disparities in Bulkeley Street, Hung Hom and giving the lie to the prosperous facade of Hong Kong. The reality that she captures is a vanishing one, with street markets giving way to shopping malls. Through protracted observation, Chen has found that such markets contribute to the recycling and exchange mechanisms of a material economy of the city, and that such spaces of production build social cohesion through weaving webs of social connections. As a wish to manifest these social webs, Chen’s work The Bulkeley Market explores storytelling as a spatial practice in ways that highlight the importance of such issues in the production of social space.