Two Wongs go to sea: Trying to stay afloat in Hong Kong real estate

Two Wongs go to sea: Trying to stay afloat in Hong Kong real estate

CNNGo witnesses artist Kacey Wong launching his hand-built Paddling Home, a commentary on Hong Kong real estate

hong kong real estateKacey Wong on board his Paddling Home.Between recessions and outbreaks of communicable disease, Hong Kong's real estate market is notoriously stormy, with property values rising and falling like waves in a bad typhoon. For the average Hongkonger, living in an overpriced box in the sky is standard.

Architect-turned-artist Kacey Wong puts the lie to Hong Kong's property obsession with "Paddling Home," an installation at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture\Urbanism. Wong has hand-built a boat that's a cross between a typical Hong Kong apartment and the makeshift rafts that float around the city's typhoon shelters, and he rowed his houseboat out to sea this past weekend.

"To me, it's kind of poetic, the idea of using human power to propel this piece of building, which seems kind of impossible. It's the same idea as going to work your whole life just to pay your mortgage," says Wong.

Wong paid particular attention to detail: there's pink tile cladding, a bulky airconditioning unit, external plumbing, a metal gate, a door altar and even a notorious "bay window" that ubiquitous architectural feature that allows developers to charge extra money for useless space.

On Saturday, Wong threw his houseboat into Victoria Harbour as part of a performance with designer Stanley Wong called "Two Wongs Go to Sea." CNNGo was there to see Stanley Wong's greenery-and-tree-filled sampan float innocuously in the background, while Kacey Wong tried to row his houseboat against the harbour's choppy waves, as a meditation on Hong Kong real estate. Below are photos from inside the Paddling Home.

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Christopher DeWolf is a writer, photographer and self-styled flâneur.
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