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Synergy Hongkong 2008/2009

Hongkong impresses the visitor with its skyscrapers, which crowd together and surge upwards on a small strip of land between the hilly interior and the coast of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. The dense architecture is one of the best-known symbols of the booming Asian metacity, whose constricted borders and hilly topography positively demand continuous densification.

Whoever leaves the coast of Kowloon behind and wanders through the New Territories first encounters scattered development, further open areas, and soon suburban or even village structures. The natural borders which prohibit the further expansion of the financial district as well as the Gold Coast of Hongkong, and of course the rapid growth and demographic pressure have all contributed to the urban boom and to the intense construction activity in these districts. The city administration is quite aware of the dangers of this thirst for land, and accordingly works to assure the preservation of parks and green zones.

Nicola Meitzner moves along the inner borders of the New Territories, where city and nature seem to be interwoven in an unconstrained and democratic manner. In the urban area, we see zoned-off green stretches, hills, and park landscapes; trimmed shrubbery, trees and palms separated from the streets by fences and concrete parapets. Upon closer inspection, however, the penetrability of these boundaries comes into view there where the city expands outward into nature like an ill-trimmed tree, or where—far less frequently—nature as slender plant cover nestles into cracks and crannies between concrete elements. It is the city which proliferates, whereas nature requires meticulous care as a protected recreational area and space of retreat, for it is too fragile to withstand the conversion and overexploitation. This endeavor, however, has an aspect of futility, of melancholy, even of hypocrisy, for it offers only a temporary respite from further appropriations and infringements.

And yet there exist these peculiar hybrid zones between construction and cultivation, between diligent control and wild proliferation. Nicola Meitzner shows us the marginal areas right in the city. For only there where, outside the parks, free growth remains possible but is neither promoted nor protected, does a vigorous mixed landscape arise in which rampant growth and natural decay also have a place. This new type of landscape is neither romantic nor sublime but, in its defiant vitality, thoroughly heroic.
                                                                                                  Tomas Kadlcik

7 motives
Inkjetprints 70 x 100 cm