In recent years, Hong Kong has become a muse in the realm of architectural photography. Its densely packed, vertical apartments have inspired mind-boggling images from the side, from below, and above. Architect Mariana Bisti’s latest film falls distinctly into the latter camp. Shot via drone, the video captures the geometric lines of the city’s soaring, dense towers and also something of its street life and vitality. The mesmerizing film serves up a bird’s eye view of a city that can’t be fully comprehended from the ground.
Bisti produced the video as part of a 10-week residency at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong. Her intention was to illustrate the Chinese organizational rule of Hong Kong—“wěndìng fánróng” (stability & prosperity)—and relate it to Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown’s theories on complexity and contradiction in architecture.
“HK’s contradictions and complexities are scribed on the body of its city, manifested in its urban landscape, in the organisation of working, living and public spaces,” Bisti writes in a description of the video. “The city’s structural formations and functions encapsulate the spirit of its past, present and future, speak of its monstrosities and its miracles, uproot the official Chinese discourse and reveal a wealth of contradictions that constitute HK as one of the most attractive and mesmerizing dystopias on earth.”