Sometimes, it’s the ordinary things in life that make all the difference, and the things we usually take for granted and barely notice that can unexpectedly brighten up our days.
Mundane electricity distribution boxes on street corners around Hong Kong have been transformed into street art to add a splash of much-needed colour and vitality to the city amid the pandemic.
To energise some of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhoods, CLP invited local artists to decorate distribution boxes as a way of illustrating the company’s deep-rooted ties to Hong Kong and connection with its culture and values.
The project is being piloted in Hung Hom, Sham Shui Po, Tsuen Wan West, and Tuen Mun (San Hui), where 20 distribution boxes have been given eye-catching makeovers – each of which tells a unique story of its neighbourhood.
The project aims to brighten up the community and celebrate social connectivity and the move to a sustainable future by bringing a dash of contemporary art to showcase local landmarks and culture.
The project is particularly aimed at young people, and nearly 40 guided school tours have been held in the four districts so that primary and secondary school students can visit the distribution boxes as well as local landmarks.
CLP Power Chief Corporate Development Officer Quince Chong says: “The guided tours teach students about the unique history and characteristics of the districts, as well as the importance of a safe and reliable electricity supply to the development of Hong Kong.
“In our busy daily lives, we seldom take time to look around and pay attention to the neighbourhoods we live in. This project gives us a valuable opportunity to stop and reflect on the rich history and the culture of our communities.”
On the tours, students visit traditional shops in their neighbourhoods where they learn about the history of their communities through real-life experiences by chatting with shopkeepers and local residents.
The project is open to everyone, and a guided map and a treasure hunt game can be downloaded by members of the public to add to the excitement of visiting the distribution boxes and other local landmarks.
The project has delivered unexpected lessons for visitors and the Hong Kong community at large, according to Cheng Hoi Kei, who studies at the Hong Kong and Kowloon Kaifong Women's Association Sun Fong Chung College.
“I was really impressed, because we weren’t aware how distribution boxes help power our homes and schools,” says Cheng. “We now have a better understanding about electricity and the landmarks of Sham Shui Po, especially from the umbrella repair lesson offered by the owner of Sun Nga Shing Umbrella Store.”
The project has brought together art and technology, reflecting the art-technology trend that has disrupted cultural ecosystems around the world in recent years, with an added element of public education.
CLP has used the highly popular Instagram platform to bring augmented reality technology features and Instagram filters into the immersive experience.
The use of the technology has drawn in young people and provided them with an engaging entry point to learn about electricity and energy conservation, as well as local history and culture.
Students have found it an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience, according to Chan Yat Kan, a teacher at Hong Kong and Kowloon Kaifong Women's Association Sun Fong Chung College.
“It’s a great experience, and we are glad to see how students’ horizons have been broadened by the innovative elements, including the integration of art and technology, and the connectivity between local landmarks and electricity,” Chan says.
CLP now plans to extend the programme to other Hong Kong districts after an enthusiastic response, marking the start of a colourful new chapter in the company’s mission to deliver a holistic, interactive learning journey for people of all ages.