Buoyantly free in rule-bound Hong Kong

A giant, inflated suckling pig lurks in the grass.

A giant, inflated suckling pig lurks in the grass.

The heavy-hand of Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) stunts the enjoyment of many of the city’s public spaces. LCSD guards have told us we couldn’t “frolick”, lean over railings (to better view the fish pond), or even sip from a juice box at Nan Lian Gardens. They have warned us away from the edge of a turtle pond in Hong Kong Park. By observation, I have deduced that their general policy is to discourage all of the sorts of things kids like to do in public open spaces.

No frolicking or running

Hong Kong Park sign

In striking contrast, the Moble M+ INFLATION! exhibit is a wonderland of freedom and bliss. At “Inflation!” the public is allowed to walk, skip or (even) run through what feels like a swiftly tidied up construction site — uneven surfaces(!), clumps of tall weedy grass (!), mud (!) — to see, touch and explore a series of huge, irreverent inflated sculptures.

The giant suckling pig!

Giant suckling pig

The "exit" to the suckling pig! with the ICC as backdrop.

The “exit” to the suckling pig with the ICC as backdrop.

Half-burried bodies and cockroaches!

Half-buried human and cockroach

The real surprise highlight is what appears at a distance as simply an inflated Stonehenge replica.

Jeremy Deller's "Sacrilege"

But which turns out to be a massive “bouncy castle” that everyone can (and does!) jump on:

Jeremy Deller's giant 'bouncy castle'

Old and young alike delight in running, jumping, sitting and falling all over the sculpture’s green, bouncy surface. It’s all smiles and just a few common sense restrictions:

Rule board at Inflation!

The whole experience is unexpected, mind-freeing, and fun.

Go now, before a net of rules is thrown over the whole thing. It’s on through June 9th at the West Kowloon Cultural District (which, fortuitously, is not managed by LCSD).

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22 responses to “Buoyantly free in rule-bound Hong Kong

    • Walking through the nearby Elements Mall to reach the West Kowloon Cultural District, I passed empty, pretentious luxury store after empty, pretentious luxury store. That place certainly felt like a cultural desert.

  1. When I saw the pic, I thought Pink Floyd had done a reunion concert that I wasn’t aware of.

    Alas, if I can’t eat while I’m sacrificing humans, I won’t be going to Hong Kong anytime soon. (I still haven’t forgiven them the lack of Komodo dragons…)

    • Too perfect. The key difference being that Hong Kong’s inflatable pig was pre-butchered: you could bounce on cross sections of meat inside its cavernous rib cage. Really. Don’t be made at HK for the lack of Komodo dragons, be mad at Macau. 😉

      • I could blame the US public school system for my geography gaffe, but I take full responsibility as I used to know all the shooting locations for all the Bond movies.

        That inflatable park looks awesome though. I don’t think there were bouncy things when I was a kid. The height of fun in my day were trampolines (dangerous) and ball pits (potentially peed in) so this is one thing the youths of today have over my gen.

      • If I’m honest, I didn’t realize that “Macau” was a place until I took a work trip to Hong Kong in 2002. I picked up a Lonely Planet titled “Hong Kong and Macau” and wondered what the hell is “Macau.”

    • I may have to take a trip to the rubber duck on Wednesday’s public holiday. We couldn’t spot it from the shoreline of the West Kowloon Cultural District.

  2. Awesome. Who doesn’t love a giant inflatable suckling pig! Love your photographs and the contrast between LCSD parks and the West Kowloon Cultural District. Looks like a fun afternoon!! (“No human sacrifice!”)

    • It was awesome. The only let down that day was that the piece “Complex Pile” (read: giant poop) was un-inflated for maintenance…

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