Connecting the Dots
The first Microwave Festival was found 25 years ago, when film, television and video were still in analogue mode. Nevertheless, it marked the history in the line of Hong Kong media arts development and opened up possibilities in the collaboration between art, technology and science. This project is about connecting the dots between the past and the future. Part 1 is a WEB-ZINE about the brief development of HK media arts through interviewing HK media art practitioners. Part 2 is a FUTURE GALLERY – a virtual exhibition which showcases present day media arts by using a new mode of curation experiment online. Through this project, we hope the audience can review the past and project the future by connecting the dots together.
Founded in 1996 by Microwave Company Limited, the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival was first launched as an annual video arts festival. As technology progressed and became more accessible, video arts slowly evolved to involve other media. Microwave began to embrace the wider range of new media arts with the integration of arts, technology and science. As the first and only art festival in Hong Kong dedicated to new media arts, Microwave has steadily grown into a well-established festival that brings cutting-edge works to provoke thoughts in the technological hub every year. Microwave serves as a platform and gateway for Hong Kong artists to develop their artistic skills with international institutions, curators and experts in art tech for more cross-disciplinary collaborations. Microwave avidly supports the exchange and dialogue between artists, professionals and the public.
Tapping into the Future of Media Arts by “Connecting the Dots”
The legendary Steve Jobs shared three stories as a guest of the 2005 commencement ceremony at Standford University. In the first one, Jobs remarked that, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to TRUST that dots will somehow connect in your future.” This becomes the underlying concept of “Connecting the Dots”. The project functions as a review and a forecast at the same time with two constituents. The first part consists of interviews with media artists, which help create a portrait of the industry through dots, lines and planes. The second part is a virtual exhibition in which media artists create their impressions and stories of Hong Kong. Going back to Jobs’ anecdote, we might not see what kind of picture comes out of the dots, but the faith of trusting each dot will serve a purpose will serve as the impetus for change.
Part 1: Web-zine
What is the possibility of a magazine? Media arts are closely connected to the media development. When media keeps changing, the possibilities of the artform varies. In the past fifty years, people have experienced different mass communication stages such as radio, television, computer, mobile phone and smart phone/devices, and all these seemingly everyday objects can be employed in wide aspects in the media arts world. Throughout the development of science and technology, Hong Kong media arts has also undergone many crucial turning points in the past 50 years. When all these “dots” being connected, a brief picture of Hong Kong media art will be revealed. The creative team visited Hong Kong media arts practitioners from pioneer artists, curators to young artists, to look at the changes and possibilities of media arts in the process of reviewing important historical developments and technological trends. The whole web-zine will be compiled with texts, photos, videos and interactive design to reveal the stories behind throughout the years with the aspirations towards our future, and audience are invited to explore and interact in this dynamic virtual space and experiment together.
Part 2: Future Gallery
Space could be imagined, and it is not limited to a matter of n-walls. With the support of technology, the old concept of space could be challenged and redefined. Media arts have continually evolved through the practice of experiment starting in the 60s, hence this project focuses not only on reviewing the history of media arts in Hong Kong, but also creates a profoundly important platform to ignite creativity with a medium of space. The curator joins hands with artists in this experiment through the commissioning new works, remodifying of existing artworks in digital format, as well as selecting outstanding works from the local institutions. This future gallery is also regarded as an interactive experiment, or even more, an extraordinary online experience. The showcased works are woven together to bring a brand new “online exhibition” experiences for the public, to promote media arts and its development in Hong Kong, and to broaden public imagination of arts posited at the intersections with science and technology.