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Shing Mun River, Hong Kong

Along the River

Research Process and field notes#

Along the river

by Alessandro Carboni – 25.11.2013



In the first part of the research Alessandro Carboni focused  his interests on the observation and analysis of the territory.  He looked at the transformation of the landscape through old maps and historical photos.  The history of Hong Kong could be rewritten simply looking at the urban transformation of the landscape. The anthropic activity on the Shatin area, that began in the early 70′, after land reclamation and extension of land over the sea, has cancelled a many rural villages creating the biggest residential urban agglomerate in Hong Kong.

The reclamation of land from the sea has long been used in mountainous Hong Kong to amelioriate the limited supply of useable land. The first reclamations can be traced back to the early Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), when beaches were turned into fields for salt production. Major land reclamation projects have been conducted since the mid-19th century. One of the earliest and best-known modern projects was the Praya Reclamation Scheme, which added 50 to 60 acres (240,000 m2) of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken during the Colonial Hong Kongera. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong International Airport, and its predecessor, Kai Tak Airport, were all built on reclaimed land. In addition, as the city expands, new towns in different decades were mostly built on reclaimed land, such as Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Sha Tin,Ma On Shan, West Kowloon, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O. Alessandro explored the areas of Tai Wai, Tai Po, Pai Tau Village, Siu Lek Yuen Village, Fo Tan and Sam Mun Tsai village with the practice of soundwalks that involves listening and recording while moving through a place at a walking pace. While recording, he wrote a diary concerning with the relationship between his perception and the surrounding sonic environment. Alessandro Carboni collected a series of aerial photography from 1963 collected from the Lands Department. For each of them, Alessandro creates drawings with the aim to explore his perception in connection within objective mapping as photography and subjective mapping as drawing.

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