Hungry ghosts in urban spaces: A visual study of aesthetic markers and material anchoring

Submitted by James Miller on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:08
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TitleHungry ghosts in urban spaces: A visual study of aesthetic markers and material anchoring
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHeng, T.
JournalVisual Communication
Volume13
Issue2
Pagination147-162
Abstract

The Hungry Ghost Festival is a month-long spiritual period celebrated and observed mostly by Chinese individuals, where it is believed that ancestral spirits are released from the netherworld to roam the earth. During this festival, various rituals of offering and burning are performed in simultaneously private and public ways to feed and appease these hungry ghosts. The offerings are left to the environment as ashes, wax and burn marks that scar and mark the landscape. This visual essay examines such activities in a particular suburban town centre in Singapore known as Teck Ghee Court. Through the photographs, the author proposes that the rituals and material practices are an act of material anchoring through the making of aesthetic markers in urban spaces. Individuals appropriate carefully planned public, commercial and residential spaces into temporary sites of performative spirituality and ethnicity. In doing so, they ‘anchor’ their ethnicities and identities to these spaces.

URLhttp://vcj.sagepub.com/content/13/2/147.abstract
DOI10.1177/1470357213496520