The In/Visible City: Cinema, Control and Contemporary Hong Kong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In his prophetic essay ‘Societies of Control Gilles’ Deleuze introduces us to the new system of domination that he sees emerging in post-war Europe. Breaking down the sites of confinement that dominated nineteenth-century modernism, installing free flows of control “forming a system of varying geometry whose language is digital”, the role of technology in this form of government is essential. Largely hidden from Western media sources, the Chinese Communist Party has, over the last decade, realized a control society that shows remarkable resemblance to the system Deleuze saw coming.

In this chapter my aim is not so much to analyse the society of control, but rather to explore how the people of Hong Kong are resisting its upcoming dominance, in other words, what the ‘new weapons’ are (as Deleuze calls them), that allow people to resist. Bruce Lee’s famous adagio, “be water,” is practised in how these protesters creatively reinvent the streets of their city (analogically and digitally), and it is an interesting methodology of establishing a new weaponry. Obviously, these new weapons of resistance are not developed in hidden, state-funded labs, but often concern everyday objects that are distributed on the streets. The safety helm, the gas mask, the laser pen and above all the umbrella are revolutionary technologies in how they offer an alternative to the Chinese/Hong Kong police state, to military intervention of the People’s Liberation Army, to facial recognition cams and surveillance systems. Lacking the budget and the research facilities of their military and state-run counterparts, but with ample creativity and commitment, my aim is to map in what way this shows us how protesters from all over the world are always searching for new techniques of resistance, practicing another materialism, and explore the technobodies to come.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology, Urban Space and the Networked Community
EditorsSaswat Samay Das, Ananya Roy Pratihar
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-88809-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-88808-4, 978-3-030-88811-4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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