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Technooriental Hospitality

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by

Jeff Clapp

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of Technooriental Hospitality

Techno-oriental Hospitality from Cyberpunk to Edward Snowden
Verax (2014)
Edward Snowden by Laura Poitras
Introducing Snowden
Citizenfour
(2014)
Snow Crash
(1992) by Neal Stephenson
"...but they won’t let you in with your swords, will they?”
“Yes,” he says, “because I’m a citizen.”
Then she sees it. The sign stands out because it is a rare one….It is a green-and-blue sign, soothing and calm in a glare-torn franchise ghetto. It says:

MR LEE’S GREATER HONG KONG

…The security system doesn’t even have time to rez her visa….She and Hiro climb out of the car.
Hiro is...pinioned in the crossfire of a dozen red laser beams scanning him from every direction at once. The Hong Kong robot security system is checking him out. Her, too; she looks down to see the lasers scribbling across her chest.
“Welcome to Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong, Mr. Protagonist,” the security system says through a P.A. speaker. “And welcome to your guest, Ms. Y.T.” (83)
Idoru
(1996) by William Gibson
Hong Kong as "black hole"
"I live in Walled City," he said.

"Mitsuko told me. That's like a multi-user domain."

"Walled City is unlike anything."

"Give me the address when I give you the emulator. I'll check it out."

"It has no address...."

"That's impossible."

He said nothing.
(63)
"That Walled City, Zona, what
is
that?"

"They say it began as a shared killfile...A way to avoid incoming messages. With the killfile in place, it was like those messages never existed....This was when the net was new, understand?"....the net had been very free, you could do what you wanted, but then the governments and the companies, they had different ideas of what you could, what you couldn't do. So these people, they found a way to unravel something, a little place, a piece, like cloth. They made something like a killfile of everything,...and they turned that inside out..."
(291-292)
Hong Kong
versus
Singapore
"Hive of dream. Those mismatched, uncalculated windows. How they seemed to absorb all the frantic activity of Kai Tak airport, sucking in energy like a black hole."
"Disneyland with the Death Penalty" WIRED, 1993
No Place to Hide
(2014) by Glenn Greenwald
"...the situation seemed so bizarre, so extreme and improbable. This is a surreal international thriller set in Hong Kong, I thought.
Our taxi dropped us at the Mira Hotel, which I noted, was also located in the Kowloon District, a highly commercial neighborhood filled with sleek high-rises and chic stores: as visible as it gets....Why...go to Hong Kong to hide in a five-star hotel?" (35)
"I still didn't know why he was in Hong Kong but assumed at this point that he had gone there to hide. I'd pictured him in some hovel, a cheap apartment where he could afford to go underground ... not comfortably installed in a hotel, out in the open...." (33)
The Snowden Files
(2014) by Luke Harding
"Snowden...was lost in a densely packed metropolis of seven million people." (251)
“As the plane came in to land, the crowded lights of Hong Kong twinkling below, there was for the first time a sense of certainty." (83)
"...the chances of Snowden’s Hong Kong hideout soon being busted seemed much higher." (113)
"They took a cab back to the Mira hotel the next morning…His living conditions were cramped." (104)
Hong Kong as spectacular density
Hong Kong as spectacular density
Hong Kong as "out in the open"
Directed and produced:
Jeff Floro
Edwin Lee
Shawn Tse
Marcus Tsui
Pattern Recognition
(2003) by William Gibson
The front page [of the forum] opens, familiar as a friend’s living room….It is a way now, approximately, of being at home. (4)

The site had come to feel like a second home, but she’d always known that it was a fishbowl; it felt like a friend’s living room, but it was a sort of text-based broadcast, available in its entirety to anyone who cared to access it. (67)
The walls alive with shifting messages....Doorways flipping past, each one hinting at its own secret world. And this time she was more aware of the countless watching ghosts. That must be how people presented here, when you weren't in direct communication with them...and Chia remembered the black hole... (373-4)


Most mornings now, she checks into the City, hears the gossip in a favorite barbershop in Sai Shing Road....and the Etruscan has been hinting at a vacancy, something really small, but with a window. (380)
Reviewing
Push
(2009) over against
Citizenfour

in the
SCMP
"His camera,
fluid and rapacious,
captures the city
in all its grit, splendour
and eye-searing colour."
Whereas
Citizenfour,
it is implied, is boring.
The Law and the laws
The giving of the name
The metadata debate
The disappearing stranger
"The future in the cyberpunk world, no matter how astonishing its technological detailing, is always shockingly recognizable...it is our world, gotten worse...[become] inhospitable" (Rosenthal 1991)
...yet...
Hospitality and the Name
SCMP, "Edward Snowden in Hong Kong"

Hong Kong was still seeking clarification about Snowden's middle
name
. The US was asking for the arrest of "Edward J Snowden" and "Edward James Snowden", but Snowden's middle name is Joseph.
Techno-orientalism
1995 Morley and Robins
"Japan panic"

2006 Chun
"orienting"

2015 Fan
against
"antinomic orientalism"
2000
Hong Kong as franchise refuge
Full transcript