In this series I revisit my former home, Hong Kong, after a 20 year absence. Neonopolis is for me about joining dots. Or more appropriately for the narrative of this series, joining nodes. Thought nodes. In essence I regard this series as a highly personal body of work, given my relationship with Hong Kong goes back for almost 3 decades. The nodes represent for me a convergence of a 3-tier thought stream; 1) my memories of HK from 30 years ago. 2) my contemporary impressions of Hong Kong today and how I interpret them? 3) I ask the question, “is Hong Kong a vision of the future?”

Twenty years after the handover from British to Chinese rule, twenty years after I left, the city once again enraptures me, and just as the notorious walled city of Kowloon inspired the bleak, neon-soaked, perpetually dank and rain-soaked dystopia of Blade Runner, so does its sequel now cede to the alternate reality of Neonopolis – a realm strangely futuristic all the while rooted in the present.

Taking the basic principles of street photography, that is capture reality as it happens, my work is social commentary. However, I present this commentary in an alluring way, by creating images that warp reality stylistically into something akin to neo noir cinema. I purposely chase down scenes and locations that allow me to build upon my already preconceived quasi fictional narrative. Embedded within this narrative I explore themes such as; lack of privacy, the rate race personified, addiction to smart phone use and consumption of social media trivia, high rise living, cyber espionage, disconnect from reality.

“Through a glass darkly, I hold up a mirror to the twisted skeins of stories being played out on the seething streets. Welcome to Neonopolis.”


TO SEE THE BOOK VISIT: http://www.blurb.com/b/8580437-neonopolis-soft-cover

RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Printed on Archival pigment print on 100% cotton rag
NEONOPOLIS THE SERIES
All images circa 2018
Printed on Archival pigment print on 100% cotton rag

ALL PAPER PRINT SIZES

100cm x 140cm paper size
80cm x 120cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP

56cm x 76cm paper size
40cm x 60cm image size
Edition 8 + 2 AP

32cm x 42cm paper size
20cm x 30cm image size
Edition 10 + 2 AP
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS

RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Where the wired thngs are
Neonopolis #1
Where the wired thngs are

The vast sprawling leagues of crumbling dreams and connective tissue, the pulse and the impulse, the will to power that kept the consensual hallucination that was neonpolis humming, growing, agglomerating, accreting, coalescing … no one was really sure but the rumours were strong. Somewhere high in the clouds of static and smog, betrayed by a vague and opalesent grey-green glow, a few putrescent shades off the stuff that passed for blood in a synth, the Other was pulling the strings, pushing our buttons, leading the dance.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #2
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #3
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Vanishing points
Neonopolis #4
Vanishing points

Time has no meaning to a synth. Oh sure, your average synthetic can reel off definitions, expound on concepts, parrot shared intelligence, thanks to ancient breakthroughs by actual humans. But what really goes on between those 3D-printed, made-meat ears? Do androids dream of electric sheep? Do synths really think about space and time? Or do they just drone on in their electric dream, slave to some greater good, oblivious to the ticking of the seconds, the hum of passing hours, the shuffling off of mortal coils. To be immortal is to be ineffably, unutterably cursed, and not to care because you can’t.
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2018
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS The fading, the shading
Neonopolis #29
The fading, the shading

The chameleon changes its colours to assume the hues and textures of its environment. In the rainforest, there exists a lizard that thermoregulates, adjusting its temperature to the ambient surroundings, rendering it invisible to snakes and heat-seeking predators. In the city, it paid to blend in, to assimilate. Thermoregulate, even. It was an art. There were tricks, tools. You learned or got burned. We all fade to grey.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #34
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Pleasures of the not-flesh
Neonopolis #35
Pleasures of the not-flesh

You could find anything you wanted in the pleasure zone. Mostly we wanted imperfection. The second sexual revolution, the coming of the synths, had sated our desires, made us bored with beauty. Perfection was a platitude, symmetry stifling. You might as well be fucking a Stepford Wife or a Barbie doll. Ho-hum. So the new servosynths strove for something else; the flaws, the flab, a whiff of decay, a blast of flatus. The ineffable desirability of broken, dirty things. Most of us had long since lost the ability to deal with actual humans. Why bother? And how would you know half the time anyway?
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #36
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #37
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Pleasures of the not-flesh
Neonopolis #38
Pleasures of the not-flesh

You could find anything you wanted in the pleasure zone. Mostly we wanted imperfection. The second sexual revolution, the coming of the synths, had sated our desires, made us bored with beauty. Perfection was a platitude, symmetry stifling. You might as well be fucking a Stepford Wife or a Barbie doll. Ho-hum. So the new servosynths strove for something else; the flaws, the flab, a whiff of decay, a blast of flatus. The ineffable desirability of broken, dirty things. Most of us had long since lost the ability to deal with actual humans. Why bother? And how would you know half the time anyway?
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #39
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #52
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #53
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS See these eyes so blind
Neonopolis #54
See these eyes so blind

They’ve been watching you for a thousand years. Which to the Other is a day. The trick is to see and yet not to see. And by doing so, lessen the chance of being seen. Scene: a superfast train, total brain drain. Is she a synth that’s been thrashed within a nanoparticle of her life, plug pulled, dessicated and dejuiced; or just another sad sack of flesh, fluid and bone ground down by neonopolis and its unrelenting stresses and pressures? Only her handler, high up in the towers, knows for sure. But in the cracks, the crevices, the interstitial spaces and especially within the chemicals, respite can be found. In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree …
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #55
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #76
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #77
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #78
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #79
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #80
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #81
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #82

100cm x 140cm paper size
80cm x 120cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP

56cm x 76cm paper size
40cm x 60cm image size
Edition 8 + 2 AP

32cm x 42cm paper size
20cm x 30cm image size
Edition 10 + 2 AP
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #83
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #84
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #85
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #86
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #87
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS The medium is the message
Neonopolis #88
The medium is the message
Beneath neonopolis flowed the medium; a kind of ectoplasm that superconducted digital signals and electromagnetic pulses. It was a liquid city beneath a city, clogged with the detritus of decommissioned synths and the odd human corpse that had been, well, liquidated. If this ur-city had a lifeblood, this was it, this thin, clear watery soup that connected the dots, made the synapses snap and the wires hum. It was the fuel, really, but we were putting out the fire with gasoline.

100cm x 140cm paper size
80cm x 120cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP

56cm x 76cm paper size
40cm x 60cm image size
Edition 8 + 2 AP

32cm x 42cm paper size
20cm x 30cm image size
Edition 10 + 2 AP



RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS

RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS

RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS

RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #89
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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Neonopolis #94
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #95
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS A body in motion
Neonopolis #96
A body in motion

Tends to stay in motion, if you subscribe to quaint ideas like the laws of thermodynamics. Kommand Zentrum made sure the city never slept, kinetic energy made manifest, a transport ballet terrifying in its precision and beautifulin its perfect execution. Synthetic intelligence and refinements of lithium ion transmuted into perpetual motion machines. Equal and opposite reactions to every action. Accidents were impossible. The trains ran on time.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #97
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #101
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS All along the watchtower
Neonopolis #102
All along the watchtower

That was the thing about neonopolis. You were never truly alone. Someone was always watching, looking over your shoulder, following in your footsteps,
peering inside your thoughts. They tried to camouflage the mental
observation towers but a bit of creeping foliage couldn’t really disguise the creeping dread of complete state control of the populace. In the big smoke, big brother was all up in your business, 24-7. You deal, or you deal yourself out. End of story.




RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #103
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #104
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #105
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS The dream police
Neonopolis #106
The dream police

Keep your electric eye on me babe. Put your ray gun to my head. But this ain’t no moonage daydream. This is the Big Chip. The circuit that never sleeps. Yes, you are under surveillance. The dream police exist. Step out of line, speak out of turn, think outside the stream and you will be terminated, liquidated, vaporised in the blink of an eye in the sky. You take your creature comforts where you can find them. Because life tends to be nasty, brutish and short, even though we have cracked the genome and can live forever. Eternal life? You can
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #107
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #109

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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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Neonopolis #117
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #118
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #118
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #119
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #120
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #121
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Off the grid?
Neonopolis #122
Off the grid?

Eventually we were all reduced to shadows. Tune out, turn off? Oh no, you were on the grid, in the grid, of the grid, eternally, inexorably, inevitably and intractably. In the beginning was the grid, and the Other smiled and saw that the grid was good. Good god. Was this what the city had reduced us to? Scuttling shapes, shades, simalcra, human palimpsests, serried ranks of digital elipses; the obverse of the platonic ideal, folorn, forgotten figures flitting through digital twilight.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #123
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS Under neon loneliness, datacycle emptiness…
Neonopolis #124
Under neon loneliness, datacycle emptiness…

Oh yeah, we’ll always be together in electric dreams. What a joke. The more connected we were, the more at one with the hive mind, integrated into the web, plugged in to the mainframe, the more we were truly alone. Who knew who was human and who was synth anymore? Your closest friends could turn out to be exotic alloys and fancy plastics and tissues grown in a laboratory. Won’t get fooled again, you’d say. But you would. And so the disconnection, the dislocation would begin. You wouldn’t even know if your own thoughts were real, or just another forcedownload as you slept. People who need people are the loneliest people in the world.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #125
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #126
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #127
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Neonopolis #139
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Neonopolis #140
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Neonopolis #141
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #142
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS The white car
Neonopolis #143
The white car

The white car could often be seen in the city late at night, cruising slowly like a shark, or simply stopped, watching, waiting. It glowed softly through the neon soup. It had no number plate or ID. Did it even have a driver? It flowed along with the bright red corpuscles of the taxis through sclerotic lanes. Was it a white blood cell, fighting some unseen infection? Or was it a new virus?
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #144
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
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Neonopolis #147
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RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #149
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #149
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Neonopolis #150
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #151
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Neonopolis #152
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Neonopolis #153
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Neonopolis #154
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #155
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #156
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #157
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #158
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS I blink, therefore I am
Neonopolis #159
I blink, therefore I am

Life is a light emitting diode. In a neonopolis mired in untold millions of dark nights of the soul, at the last, we were left with the lights. The ceaseless wheedling reds, blues and greens, primary colours of persuasion, cybernetic cyanotypes. The massive bioluminous truetone 5D advertising screens, blasting and cajoling and importuning, personalised to within an inch of your life, dictating fashions, creating trends, ending fads and shifting paradigms, all in real time. Son et lumiere, sturm und drang, sound and vision … and eventually, sound and fury, signifying nothing, just an empty echo inside a synth’s dream of electric sheep.
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #160
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #161
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #162
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #163
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #164
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #165
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #166
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Neonopolis #167
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #168
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #169
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #170
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #171
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #171
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #172
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #173
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #174
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #175
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS
Neonopolis #176

100cm x 140cm paper size
80cm x 120cm image size
Edition 5 + 1 AP

56cm x 76cm paper size
40cm x 60cm image size
Edition 8 + 2 AP

32cm x 42cm paper size
20cm x 30cm image size
Edition 10 + 2 AP
RICHARD MARK DOBSON Street-NEONOPOLIS The big hang up
Neonopolis #177
The big hang up
The information would come, mostly at night, from the handlers in the north, usually at an old coin payphone. The shrill blast of an old dial-up signal, and then the cochlear implant would take over. The information dump, and the pain, always the pain. Mostly operatives could survive an infodump. Mostly. It was like a dead letter drop from the old days of spycraft, except it was hundreds of thousands of gigabytes downloaded straight into your cranium, in a matter of nanoseconds, digital to analogue.
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