The architects will build it, but the inhabitants will personalise it. Kim Vernon explores the relationship between buildings and their occupants.
In a place where most people know only highrise life, Hong Kong appears an organic city, forever growing and changing. Bamboo scaffolding provides the framework for bridges linking skyscrapers, rotting in the humidity, growing and decomposing at the same time. The spaces within these buildings constantly alter…occupants add, modify and tear down in an attempt to personalise their space and extend ownership.
Like neural networks, some links are renewed and strengthened whilst others fall into disuse and decay. Some are built over or around. Set pathways give way to shortcuts and trespasses on stolen space.
Melbourne is in the early stages of this journey. The newer buildings are shiny and clean, the older ones already connecting to each other with walkways and other linkages. Interiors are mutated, signs are added, posters and billboards cover once proud new walls.
Responding to the unseen bonds between occupant and highrise, Vernon captures the homogenized city, and its mutations, on canvas.
Vernon has lived in Hong Kong for several years and has regularly exhibited his work there. He now lives and paints in Melbourne.