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HAPPENINGText: Samantha Culp

Korean artist Young Kim (aka “Suitman”) shared a photo of himself in Hello Kitty-land, and Sachiko Kanaizumi’s luscious drawings portrayed little cat-eared girls playing in a field of fur… that one slowly recognized to be Kitty’s fur, complete with enormous fleas. Other notable contributors include CLOT, the streetwear label of HK popstar Edison Chen, Singapore’s Phunk Studio, and Sapporo’s Wabisabi.

The eye-popping design works are over too soon (and there is really no chance of lingering, as the crowd moves ever forward like a tide), and one emerges in the “Secret Store” to examine the t-shirts, mobile phone holders, and limited edition toys for the exhibit. Luckily a cute cardboard children’s book and small tote come with the price of the ticket, so one can take a little bit of Hello Kitty home without making another purchase.

And besides, the exhibition’s looping soundtrack by Nagoya-based musician Lullatone, though pitch-perfect, will stick in one’s head for another few hours at least. It is, after all, exactly what I have always imagined Hello Kitty’s mental music to sound like, all adorable tinkles and bloops, 8-bit major-key and clean bouncy beats.

At Hello Kitty’s Secret House, I did get a glimpse into the mind of the immortal mouthless cat. But not all questions are answered. “When you look at Hello Kitty, she reflects what you feel. But what does Hello Kitty feel when she gazes back at you?” A zen koan that will stay with me always-or at least until another Kitty extravaganza in 2007.

Hello Kitty Secret House

Date: July 27th – August 18th, 2006
Place: HITEC, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2620 3594

Text: Samantha Culp

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