The Lennon Wall of Hong Kong: A Political and Aesthetic Reflection


  • Caspar Chan


bstract. In Hong Kong, 2019, during the Anti-Extradition Movement in which the Hong Kongers protested against the controversial proposal of the extradition law by the government, people began to stick notes, posters, photographs, and other visual objects onto walls and façades in common places like tunnels, bridges, flyovers and shopping malls all around Hong Kong. On these walls, one can see news regarding the protest, words of encouragement, voices against the government and even artefacts whose goal is to stir the emotion of the people. Such an artistic-activist movement borrows the concept of the “John Lennon Wall” emerged in Prague during the 1980s, and thus, this collective of walls as well as other public spaces where such a concept is materialised bears the name the Lennon Wall of Hong Kong. By analysing the case of the Lennon Wall in Hong Kong, this project looks into one of the notions resonating the idea of democracy: that of commons and “commoning”. Also reflecting on Jacques Rancière’s understanding of politics and aesthetics, this paper explores the following question: How the Hong Kongers articulated their voices through the Lennon Wall in a political movement? I will take into account the societal background of Hong Kong, the features, as well as the development of the Lennon Wall. The outcomes of this artistic-activist initiative and the political movement also reveal possible challenges of any politically-charged common, which, in turn, allows us to re-think democracy through commoning.

Keywords: Aesthetics, Common, The Lennon Wall, Politics.



2021-09-10 — Actualitzat el 2021-09-11