Hong Kong Neon
In the 1950s to 1980s, neon was booming in Hong Kong and had a major impact on the cityscape. Absurdly large installations immersed the streets in this very special, mystical light, as only the flickering gases in neon tubes are able to produce. Filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai used neon in 1995 in Fallen Angels as a formative stylistic element – and thus a monument to the city’s lettering.
At the end of the 1990s, the demand for neon advertising dropped and producers began to migrate to mainland China, where production was cheaper. New LED technologies and a growing awareness of night-time light pollution increased the pressure on the often illegally constructed neon installations. Starting in 2006, Hong Kong's city government removed an average of 3,000 installations per year.
Mouseover makes the neon glow ☟ ☞
In December 2017, I travelled to Hong Kong to document the remaining neon installations. My explorations took me to all parts of the city, night after night I followed the glow of this magical medium. Even though Hong Kong’s neon may be fading, it hasn’t lost its fascination at all.
If you want to know more about Hong Kong’s Neon Heritage, you can find extensive information on neonsigns.hk, the website of the M+, Hong Kong’s museum for visual culture.