Self-fashioned identities: Art deco architecture in Hong Kong as resistance and empowerment

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Abstract

This essay argues that certain modern architectural styles, particularly Art Deco, can be understood both as the imposition of power by the colonizer and the demonstration of resistance of the colonized in early-twentieth-century Hong Kong. The study also demonstrates that these buildings are not passive objects but rather subjects that are able to consume the dominating culture to self-fashion and self-represent. Using postcolonial theory, this critical historiography adopts a three-tiered methodology. First, the essay reveals how the architecture formed an interaction between the patron, architect, and the audience, highlighting their interconnected relationships in identity formation. Secondly, the essay will problematize the architectural style, revealing self-fashioning and self-representing of different identities. Third, the essay will critique the dynamics between the dominated-subjugated in colonial Hong Kong. The paper concludes that modes of resistance and empowerment can be identified in the colonial built environment of the period. Copyright © 2016 Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalPostcolonial Text
Volume11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Hong Kong
Art Deco Architecture
Colonies
Architectural Style
Empowerment
Self-fashioning
Art Deco
Postcolonial Theory
Methodology
Historiography
Interaction
Built Environment
Identity Formation
Imposition
Patron

Citation

Lau, P. L.-k. (2016). Self-fashioned identities: Art deco architecture in Hong Kong as resistance and empowerment. Postcolonial Text, 11(3), 1-20.

Keywords

  • Architectural historiography
  • Identity
  • Resistance and empowerment
  • Art Deco
  • Colonial Hong Kong