So much of this balance between art and practicality is reflected in how Pokit sees artists in Hong Kong. Because artists here have to have a job that pays the bills too, it’s hard to support art. “Many people here have heart, but they just don’t have the time,” he says. He notes that this has caused many artists to move to other cities with a more supportive environment. “I believe that people have to make happen what they want to happen, no matter where they are,” he adds.
What Pokit and his friends have done with this space reflects his own philosophy. One of the tables is an door from the building that houses Afterschool, as is an old gate that decorates the wall. Everything in the cafe is found or salvaged. “Every year, the changes in Causeway Bay are horribly fast,” Pokit describes. In two years, all the shops downstairs have changed. Everything is thrown away. But I think some things are too nice to be left for the street or landfill. So I brought them back to the cafe.”
With a background in interior design and a dream of being a photojournalist, Pokit wanted to change the world. He says, “The root of heart is that function is most beautiful. Then that is enough.” He expects the things in his space to be built well, and to last a long time, an idea a far cry from Hong Kong’s rapid consumption of disposable products. “I am not an artist,” he says, “but I like the real things.”
One real thing he is working on is making an Afterschool album. He doesn’t want it to be background to people eating or going about their business: “We must respect the inside of things.” Since Afterschool is about how to make things that inspire people, he asked friends to select the most inspiring music in their lives. They will then perform and record these songs at Afterschool for the album. Some people might even use the antique piano donated by a friend. “No matter how out-of-tune the piano is, we use it because it’s truthful,” Pokit adds.
He concludes, “I want to know what people think and would like to bring together more people who can share their power, energy, ideas. It’s not easy to maintain this space, and it might one day be lost. But the energy of this place cannot disappear. We have to spread it out to people for their journeys. We all need it.”
Open: 16:30 – 01:30
Address: 2/F, 17 Yun Ping Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2983 2130