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What Objects Define Your Hong Kong Childhood?

Inspired by childhood memories and carrying an SPI backpack, four university students, Tony Chiu, Harvey Ye, Joyce Wong, and Hon Lo of LOCAL Hong Kong, set forth to create ‘Childhood Treasure Quest’, a project seeking to discover items that define the generation of children born in the 1990s in Hong Kong. We spoke to Chiu, Director of LOCAL Hong Kong, about his team and the inspiration behind Childhood Treasure Quest, the nostalgic photo series that quickly became a short video journey across Hong Kong.

Chiu, Ye, Wong, and Lo all either grew up in Hong Kong or live here now and their love for the city sparked the digital magazine, LOCAL Hong Kong. “As students, we are at an age of discovery, discovery of ourselves and of the world. In the style of a cultural magazine, we record things that fascinate us and present them in whichever way we find interesting. We write, we take photos, we make documentaries, and we make short films,” Chiu told Localiiz.

The idea started when the group spotted an accessory used by many primary school children in Hong Kong in the ’90s. “We were sitting in a café chatting about our childhood memories. We came across a school bag that a lot of us were using in primary school – the SPI, and from there, we decided to create a tribute to it,” Chiu said.

Using nostalgia as a theme, the LOCAL team spent the summer journeying through Hong Kong with an SPI schoolbag, documenting the experience. “At first just a series of photographs, the project evolved to include a short film. With different formats, we retrace our childhood memories and reflect on our growth,” Chiu explained.

For Chiu and the LOCAL Hong Kong team, they aimed to capture a moment in time with their project. “Only if you experienced the day when you cried and screamed at the department store so that your mum could buy that blue SPI, can you understand what we are on about. This is the feeling that we are trying to capture. The feeling of holding that item on your hand and remembering that specific moment,” Chiu explained.

LOCAL Hong Kong hopes to encourage viewers to submit their own childhood items for a chance to be featured in an upcoming project. “If somebody has an interesting item that they think is a childhood treasure, they can submit it to us and we will do something to it. Something interesting, of course, without damaging it,” Chiu said.

So far, the team has received a few submissions and started creating a video featuring one of them, a type of stationary according to the tightlipped Chiu.

Check out more of LOCAL Hong Kong’s work on their website.

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