In the sandbox in my back yard, like most American children, I too thought that if I dug a hole deep enough, I just might end up in the Orient. The fantasies of what I might find were filled with bustling rickshaws toting red-umbrella-ed geishas, orient-silk’d emperors sitting in gold-flaked thrones in Shaolin temples, Chinese-starred ninjas battling Kung Fu samurai while their fu-man-chu mustached masters watched atop spiring greed-jaded mountain tops.
When I got older I discovered my fantasies were ever so slightly askew and that getting to the orient did indeed require digging a deep hole, however a financial one, rather that a literal one. And to begin to wrap one’s head around what one might find there would require digging another type of hole altogether.
My first trip to Tokyo in 2004 shared something in common with my first trip to Hong Kong the same year. They were both love at first sight (and smell, touch, taste and sound), everything from the ancient temples to the still very alive food. From a western perspective, particularly an American one, the cities are as unfamiliar and outlandish as they come. There is nothing that can be done to prepare oneself for the bombardment of peculiarities found in the open markets or down the less traveled alleys of both. With the enigmas I continue to find around every corner comes a deepening curiosity in the social and urban latticework that make up both of these unique cities. And the deeper I dig into each of the cultures and cityscapes, the more surprises I come to find, and the less I realize I actually know them. Yet, in this perpetual disorientation have I begun to recognize a reciprocity and a harmony that rings throughout Tokyo and Hong Kong, like a taut thread connected to the belly button of the orient. It is as if they are twins, fraternal albeit, separated by a sea at birth.
For this recent project, I have attempted to visually elucidate my journey, the hole I have dug, through the two cities, and record the continuities and congruencies that run throughout by stacking them on top of each other on film. Opting to use multiple exposures attempts to highlight the surprises one never ceases to find.
It is with great privilege to debut this work here at BOP. Please enjoy.