What do you see before you? Perhaps you’re dazzled by the camouflage associated with wartime ships. Perhaps you see ornamental lace, the kind that frames the windows of a cottage house. Or maybe you see something akin to a smoke screen, a billowing shield that blurs your vision. Perhaps something more spectacularly violent, like the smashed windows on the streets of Hong Kong, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Chile and other protests around the world.

Holes in Smoke is an expanded publication in the form of a semipermeable curtain and website that reveal glimpses of osmosis between personal and political violence through the smoke screens of power that serve to conceal their interconnected flows. Learning from the field of psychology, the author of Trauma and Recovery and psychologist Judith Herman shows us that we cannot understand trauma and violence individually but rather understood in a social context, whereby biological, psychologi-cal, geological, domestic and political dimensions of trauma are interwoven.

This expanded publication thinks through trauma and violence as circulatory in nature. For example how emotional trauma and violence erupts from social movements, how sexual violence and gender based violence is tied to patriarchal structures, how the spreading of images of war might be seen as the site of violence or how state negligence might be equated to abuse. Five contributors, Ultra Clan (CN/HK) + Cosmologists (SG), Clementine Edwards (AU), Hilda Chan (HK), Urok Shirhan (IQ/NL) and Czar Kristoff (PH) draw from their embodied positions on how big violence is carried everyday in the lives of those involved and reflect on how violence and trauma trickles and transmits into different spheres and across time. Each of their works are accessible by scanning the embedded QR code – portals that literally and figuratively become the holes in smoke.

The opening section of 超家族婚礼合集 The Ultra Clan Wedding Collection is a video essay on the entanglements of a relation-ship breakup, the psychological and emotional wear of social mo-vements, the oppression of tra-ditional family values and a deserted single mother. While the background stories that have led to the texts and images do have particular incidents and contexts that link them to the question of violence, what is considered here is less the impact of a punch but a slow accumulation, seepages into the body and across time that very often unnoticeably infiltrate, morph and distort. These perpetrations reveal complexities of emotion in a manner that belie the moment of the hit. The piece is a slowly layered and inadvertent collab-oration between 何穎雅 Elaine W. Ho, Jojo of the Ultra Clan (超家族的Jojo), 賴宇通 Lai Yu Tong (Cosmologists) and 苗母 Mother Miao.

Feeling the earth: on Rituals and Trauma is a short essay by artist and editor Clementine Edwards. She explores how living with tra-uma entangles in the every day, and how contemporary understand-ings of routine sanctify it to the plane of ritual.

The scenes of on-going violence, tear gas, bullets, pepper spray, water cannon trucks, disruption of public transportation ser-vices, road blockage with bricks, smashed shop fronts, vandalised road signs, arrested and dis-appeared protestors, suspicious suicides, severe injuries, and crippled government and politi-cians, have left Hong Kong socie-ty ever divided. People struggle to converse with others who hold different ideologies and politi-cal views, sometimes tearing apart friendships and relation-ships. Family members keep their mouths shut during gatherings, children have been grounded by parents from attending protests, protestors are forced to stay away from home for their own safety, couples breakup, friends become enemies and no longer talk to each other. Colleagues and neighbours become cautious of each other because of unsure political preferences. Why am I throwing bricks? is a trans-cription of a conversation between Hong Kong curator and artist-researcher Hilda Chan and two expat friends who have different perspectives on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Due to each of their embodied positions, each of them share different views on the use of violence, the possibility of neutrality, and the future of Hong Kong.

On the Slow Violence of Images is an essay by Dutch/Iraqi artist Urok Shirhan. In relation to the Iraq war, she looks at the relations and encounters between language, image, and power. She considers how mechanisms of image production and distribution engineer particular forms of encounters, and as such, amount to what she calls the Slow Violence of Images.

Czar Kristoff’s work Institute for Critical Commuting is the research website of a fictional organisation that relates the ill-functioning public transport-ation system in Manila as a site of violence and trauma. Spending much of his time stuck in traffic congestion, the Filipino artist and photographer experiences the horrific negligence of the state on a daily level. The state’s inability to provide humane and safe transportation is form of irresponsibility that promotes mental, emotional, spiritual and physical threat to people and the country. ‘Institute for Critical Commuting’ conducts research, intervenes and performs inside public buses while in heavy traffic in Manila to engage commuters who sit and wait to arrive to their respective destinations.

This project was originally commissioned by Tai Kwun for their Artists' Book Library to Amy Suo Wu (AU/NL) who chose to speak through the contributing artists and from the seams as conduit, curator and designer.