Dustin Shum

A Labyrinth in the Dark
Location: Hong Kong
Nationality: Hong Kong
Biography: Dustin Shum was born and currently lives in Hong Kong. He graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Photographic Design.  A photojournalist for more than ten years, he now works... read on
Public Story
A Labyrinth in the Dark
Credits: dustin shum
Date of Work: 12/31/69 - 12/31/69
Updated: 01/06/20
A Labyrinth in the Dark: Kowloon Walled City

After its demolition in 1993, the Kowloon Walled City remains a fascinating architectural and urban phenomenon that continues to captivate architects and designers around the world. Once considered to be the densest place on earth, the Walled City represented an unusual colonial wrinkle in time and space that eventually grew to support a complex array of manufacturing operations, food and textile production, illicit activities, and residential units.

This series of photos was taken in 1992, the very last moments before the demolition. While majority of the residents had already moved out and left the spaces deserted there were still a number of them resist to stay and kept on their living and business there. For me the walled city itself was a bigger symbol, it summed up our city in the so-called “Post-transition” period of the colonial era before the sovereignty handover to China in 1997: people were eager to escape, chaos awaited to be patched up or otherwise cleared out, etc. The labyrinth like environment inside the walled city echoed my angst and insecureness of my younger self at that time, enough those feelings still stick to my mind even today.


By Dustin Shum —

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