Cubicle Life

Cubicle Life narrates the livelihood of the poor in Hong Kong. These people have no alternative but to dwell in the cubicles that have an area of only three to four square meters.These cubicles usually do not have any windows and thus the air does not circulate and the atmosphere becomes stuffy. In summer, the room is unbearably hot and bed bugs run rampant, making it an extremely harsh living environment.

People dwelling in these cubicles are mainly the grassroots who have no means of changing their destiny. They barely exist below the poverty line, with poor quality of life and confined social network, thus often exist in a passive, lost, alienated and melancholic, a sub-health mental state of mind.

Cubicle Life was literally cramped to sealed spaces that are unknown and seemingly detached from this city. Perhaps this is where lonely souls learn to live with abject privations.

The stories of cubicle dwellers presented from cinematic angles through touching scenes, portraits and point-of-view shots. With great sensitivity to colour and tonal subtleties, a highly coherent body of powerful images has created.

Just as I did in my previous projects, I deftly use a mix of medium shots and close-ups to connect and interact with my subjects. The results were honest yet unobtrusive – to capture the characters on camera with their dignity.

Today, documentary photography is disdained by the mass media, and documentary photographers are literally boxed into a corner. It is only through candour and sincerity –the fundamental qualities that drive the endeavours of these photographers – that their creativity can be sustained through tough times.

Through image after image of life experiences, I have relived every down-and-out soul who is kept alive in the confines of their own cubicle, a space they call home. Over the course of this project, I kept asking myself two questions:

What does it mean to exist? How could freedom be realized?

Martin Heidegger, exploring Taoism in his later years, ruminated over the phrase:

‘Poetically man dwells.’

This is a state of life.

We have to remove the shackles of alienation and oppression before we can start putting an end to inhuman states of existence, and enable every individual to reach their true potential.

Cubicle Life gives light to the lives that are buried under the dictatesof elitism revered by our society. It also exposes the plight the underprivileged are trapped in, a situation where they are deprived of any opportunityfor upward mobility. It also attempts to find out the meaning of life, as well as the worth of human existence.