Canvas of dissent : a study of visuals and its significance in group formations and communications during the 2019 Hong Kong Anti-ELAB movement
Abstract: Beginning from June 2019, the streets of Hong Kong have been turned into a theatre of protests. Together with their banners and umbrellas, protesters took to the street to protest against the proposed extradition bill that allows the government to send suspected criminals to mainland China. This ongoing movement is the largest anti-government movement in the city’s history, and it is also the first movement that employs a voluntary mass production of protest arts. These posters are seen across the city and countless ‘protest poster groups’ are established to dedicate themselves in the creation and distribution of the posters. This thesis aims to analyse the roles of visuals in group formations and communications during the Anti-ELAB movement, through establishing a theoretical engagement with protest images, in the forms of posters. 9 in-depth interviews with creators and distributors, and a critical visual analysis of 10 posters were conducted, while theories from visual culture, network society and social movement studies were applied to the analysis. The findings indicates that protest posters highlight different important cultural perspectives and play significant roles in bridging communicational, information and geographical gaps between participants.
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