Human Billboards of Hong Kong

Aug 5, 2017 · 2 min read

Like any large shopping district, there is an inordinate amount of advertising going on in Causeway Bay. To pass through Tung Lo Wan is to be molested by billboards and banners that plaster shopfronts or stick perpendicular out of buildings to lean over the street. And out of the prairie of heads bobble various posters on sticks; it is towards the humans who hold these sticks that I direct your attention today.

The idea behind sign walkers (or human directionals) is that they are more interactive than a regular billboard. But it seems that good portion of sign walkers in Hong Kong are passive. Or asleep. One possibility is that it is legally easier to hire a human (who may or may not carry a sign) than it is to rent advertising space.

Altogether I have many questions about the sign walking industry, but I don’t speak Cantonese. I’m not sure how to feel about that fact that as a society we’re building brain implants to merge humans with software but there is a need for people who essentially perform the role of a cardboard box.

I like that she has customised her pole with a hook to hang stuff

Writing this has encouraged me to find out more about guaranteed basic incomes.


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Update: I hardly take photos anymore, but I’m keeping this up to remind myself that even as I focus on other things for now, being outside is important.