Occupy Central: Towards A Geography of Presence

Author: Edward Irons, Hong Kong Institute for Culture, Commerce and Religion, Hong Kong
Email: edirons@aol.com
Published: January 2016

Citation: Irons, E. (2016). Occupy Central: Towards A Geography of Presence. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.1.1.01


Occupy Central was a 79-day experiment in urban identity. Occupy – the Umbrella Revolution of 2014 – rearranged space on the streets of Hong Kong. This rearranging suggests a geography of presence. Such a geography will explain how spaces of transit become spaces of meaning, how impersonal landscapes become imbued with memory. This paper takes up the warring ideologies — the accommodating and the discontented — as well as the range of lived experiences the erupted during Occupy. It connects the events of Occupy to Hong Kong’s core identity: its Chineseness, its status as a world city, and its postcolonial legacy. On the political level Occupy seemed doomed to fail. Yet on the level of signification it subverted an urban landscape through a reimagining of presence.


Occupy Central, umbrella movement, world city, Chineseness, urban landscape