Kwai Shing West Estate


published by: Building Books and Chambre Noire

Pascal Greco begins by identifying his fascination: in each image, a piece of Earth. Systematic revelation of the support for the buildings: the hill—Hong Kong placed as best it can on the rock. There is dialogue between the organic and the artefact, structural and chromatic entanglements, an interweaving of technical, plant and mineral elements that Greco stages in different scenarios: minimalist abstractions in sublime cameos, golems alternately of asphalt and stone, highly complex graphic meshes imposing on the eye the density of a compacted space, an assembly of tones as harmonious and soft as they are pale and restrained. The marriage of all these confined elements raises a question: is it a happy marriage? Greco does not answer it. It’s as if the story took place between the Earth and an abandoned building.

At night, the body of the hill is no longer visible, and we discover scraps of food, bin bags, an abandoned envelope and a lit-up shop. Traces of recent passage. What is Greco talking about? The bewitched night owl discovers the answer as a matter of course. The subject is architecture. Look at this collection of seats, tables, pylons, pipes, lights, railings, roofs, dustbins, staircases, doors, windows, planters… Stigma of a place and an era. Greco collected them, with care and affection, with adoration. But it’s a good idea to forget and to remember this subject. It provides a foundation for the pleasure of aesthetic intoxication.

Until now, Pascal Greco has taken us on a journey through a world in which he looks at familiar-sized things with delicacy. Now he’s added to the graphic intensity of the journey with magnificent, terrifying expanses of walls and windows. This is where we live. Real life. Paradoxically, it’s the drone’s eye that gives us a sense of it. It gradually makes us feel weightless, until everything is flattened: the crush is total. Even the photographer’s body has disappeared. e discover a living space, surrounded by other buildings, an entire city, connected by roads to a larger whole. In the clinical precision of the overhang, something has become humanised. The question comes up again: Can we live well here?

A film was made at the same location where this book was photographed and the QR code on the final page allows readers special access to view it. The same place, another project, the same buildings, other impressions, the same eye, another camera: Pascal Greco is keen to distinguish the two objects, which complement rather than juxtapose each other.

Hong Kong. A film, a portrait, a tribute to the atypical architecture of public housing—in particular, Kwai Shing West Estate—and its streets, but also to the loneliness experienced in these complexes where around half the population lives.

The camera moves along a monster of concrete. The slow movement of its peregrination through the asphalt tunnels, skimming over what surrounds it like a prison or a tomb, seems to be watching for something in the corridors: A presence? A way out? Walls, staircases, boxes, cables, pipes, neon lights, and nothing, no one. And yet, discreetly, life pulsates: a cat, trickling water, voices, a plant between the cracks. In a subtle complicity with the image, the sounds dig into the ear via a three-dimensional mimetic survey of the granular, dragging us even deeper into a sensorial immersive experience.

Between March 2019 and January 2020, demonstrations filled these streets and Pascal Greco captured them. Led by black protesters, mainly young people, they were defending their rights to democracy in Hong Kong. Out of a total population of 7.4 million, around two million demonstrators took to the streets one Sunday in June.

The sound captured in the streets and on the Kwai Shing West Estate has been modified and processed to become a raw sound material, reflecting the image of these places where concrete is omnipresent. This is the theatre of a living environment and it was the theatre of protest, which is now punishable by life imprisonment in Hong Kong since a law came into force on July 1, 2020.

A film by Pascal Greco. Original soundtrack by Lea Bertucci. With the support of the City of Geneva and also of the Republic and the Canton of Geneva. Coproduction: Mapping Festival.

Pascal Greco is a self-taught filmmaker, cinematographer, editor and photographer, Pascal Greco is Swiss & Italian and lives in Geneva.

At the end of 2017, Pascal Greco presented Shadow at the LU in Nantes and at the GIFF in Geneva, a magnetic, intense and hypnotic film with actress Asia Argento and her daughter Anna-Lou Castoldi, that he codirected with Philippe Pellaud. The movie had excellent reviews in media like Numéro, Le Courrier, Le Matin Dimanche or La Repubblica. Shadow is now available, since March 2022, in free access on Vimeo.

Greco is finishing is first feature length documentary called The Scavengers on the elderly, in Hong Kong, with insufficient or no retirement to cover their basic needs and expenses, and who, to meet their needs, collect all day long, paper, cardboard or sagex, to resell them by the kilo at a ridiculous price. A first version of the film was presented in the FIFDH | International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, in Geneva in 2019.
In 2008, Pascal Greco directed Super 8, a poetic and psychedelic movie with the music by composer Kid Chocolat. His second contemplative movie called Nowhere, with an original soundtrack composed by Goodbye Ivan, was showed in 2013. Stun, a movie that captives the senses, with dancer Stefania Cazzato, the last film who end his trilogy of contemplative films, was presented in 2015 at the Mapping Festival.

Seven works of his photographs have been published. Kyoshu, nostalgie du pays (Infolio, 2007) presents moments of life across Japan. Seoul Shanghai Tokyo (idpure, 2010) brings together photographs that reveal the contrast between modern architecture and the dilapidated architecture of these three big cities, RATRAK (Verlhac, 2012), with Gabriel Mauron, reveals the ski resorts, at night, with the machine’s beam of light. No Cliché (Jane & Jeremy, 2013) offers Polaroids of architectures lost in the vastness of Iceland. Hong Kong – Perspectives, Prospectives, Typologies (Infolio & Mccm Creations, 2018) describes the typology of Hong Kong’s atypical and unique architecture. After that work, Greco released his book & film Hong Kong Neon (Infolio & Mccm Creations, 2021), realized from 2012 to December 2019, which ended his diptych on Hong Kong. End of 2021 (Chambre Noire, 2021), he self published the book Place(s) an experiment involving in-game photography, photographs of a mystical and fantasized Iceland… after canceling his travel to Iceland due to the lockdown.
His two last books, Hong Kong Neon & Place(s) were notably featured in The Guardian, Vice France, Vice US, Monocle, Fast Company, Les Inrocks, Libération, L’Obs, Fisheye, Télérama, Phroom, CNN and Creative Review.

He had the opportunity to show his work in solo exhibitions in Espace abstract, Lausanne, Musée Alexis Forel, Morges, Guillaume Daeppen Galerie, Basel and in group exhibitions in La Ferme de la Chapelle, Geneva, Kornhausforum, Bern and in Photo Elysée, Lausanne. And presented a live in-game photography performance, with an exhibition, in Centre de la Photographie Genève.

In the early 2000’s, he started out in the fashion industry as a model and went on to organize fashion events and fashion shows in New York and Tokyo.

Greco also worked, during 5 years, with young people without diploma and / or in social exclusion by helping them to create, write, direct and edit short films. And equally teach them and work with them on commercial videos for clients.
With stage director Radhia Chapot-Habbes, they created the ELAN collective whose objective is to allow vulnerable, precarious or isolated people to make human and artistic experiences in order to regain esteem and self-confidence in order to allow better integration.

Copyright © Pascal Greco, Building Books and Chambre Noire, all rights reserved

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