Life has begun in water; Seventy-one percent of Earth’s surface is covered with water while human bodies are made with necessarily large amount of water. Water, undoubtedly, is the fountain of lives and consists of unusual superpower. Water can transform with the temperature. She is like a large living being with emotions. She stays still, she surges, and she performs storms. Media arts begin with water. The very initial thought was derived from chapter 8 of the "Tao Te Ching” by Laozi, “the highest good is like that of water. The goodness of water is that it benefits the ten thousand creatures; yet itself does not scramble, but is content with the places that all men disdain. It is this that makes water so near to the Way.” The highest excellence is like that of water, the excellence of water appears in its contribution of all things without striving. She is soft and gentle at the extreme, at the same time fearless, tough and powerful, fiercest among the world. When technology and science are deemed as inhumane and cold, it has in fact multiple dimensions and involves numerous of possibilities. It slips among diverse platforms and transforms into different states which performs water-like vitality and capacity.
Last year, Microwave explored our city’s ecology and urban life through the idea of living architecture. In Microwave 2015, we return to the essence of media arts: Invention and Intervention. The theme of “Be Water” will be presented in two episodes: the first part will be in 2015 and the second part will be in summer 2016 during the 22nd International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA) hosted in Hong Kong. In the first episode, we display the work “Trike Writer” by Nicholas Hanna to demonstrate the “water form” of electronic media. “Trike Writer” is a modified tricycle which carries a reservoir of pressurized water. The device implements a customized computer running software, controlling the time of the water droplets and the riding speed to write characters on the ground behind. When Nicholas lived in Beijing in 2011, he enjoyed watching people practice water calligraphy in local parks. This inspired him to build a tricycle that can write on the street with droplets of water. Calligraphy, as a traditional Chinese art form, by time to time incorporates with technology, leaving our own instant messages in this tiny piece of land.
Apart from the flowing state of water by “Trike Writer”, “Bubble Device” is another kinetic installation which gives a sense of romance in the atmosphere. If we say technology is cold and inhumane, then what that derived from technology can be warm. Like what everyone did at the park in the childhood, the small bubbles we blow carry not only happiness, but also fantasy and hopes, and so do the device. The “Bubble Device” employs a custom designed pulley system to blow a big bubble, bringing hopes to our city; giving warmth to technology. From these two installations, you can experience the power of makers.
Maker is a group of technology lovers and innovators, enjoying sharing their ideas and skills. When technology penetrates into everyone’s lives and people are so dependent on it, actually everyone is now a maker. And therefore, we have makerspaces, a place where creative minds meet and allow every possibility to grow. In Microwave 2015, we invite three local Maker Spaces for collaboration. They are: Dim Sum Labs, LAB by Dimension Plus and MakerBay. They demonstrate maker culture with diverse aims and each of them has their unique maker qualities. Directed from engineering, intervened with electric, kinetics, 3D-printing and laser-cutting technology to expand the landscape of DIY culture, they let innovation grow with existing resource.
Stepping back to the very beginning, video is one of the most important key elements when we talk about water as electric media. Not only do we screen water-themed animation like “Water Lives…”, but also the 3 great videos by a famous Japanese artist Masakatsu Takagi’s in special invitation. His work blends digitally processed and animated images with flawless music of his own composition, depicting ultimate smoothness. Then we come to maker culture. The process is at the utmost importance. Seni Gotong Royong*: HackteriaLab 2014 – Yogyakarta is a documentary recorded a two-week maker-marathon. Audience could understand how amazing the moments when the makers collaborate and blend together, there is no such delighted moment where talents are gathered and work towards their common goal. At last, this statement ends with a book entitled “Water Knows Answers”. Living beings in the world are never static; each has its own stable frequency of presence and interactively influences each other. Water knows even when human cannot see, hear or touch. It tells under microscope with its structure. Isn’t Life-on-life behaviour the most eternal rule in this fluctuated world?
Waterflow never ends. Let’s stay tuned to our episode 2 telling the sequel of episode 1’s story.
2015年的微波國際新媒體藝術節， 繼去年為我城以建築出發去探討城市生態生活後，今年回到媒體藝術的本質，發明與介入(Invention and Intervention)。整個主題分為上下卷，2015年的是為上卷，下卷則於2016夏天與第二十二屆國際電子藝術硏討會(ISEA)同期推出。上卷以媒體藝術家尼古拉斯‧漢納的作品「水書法器」繪出如水的電子媒體狀態。「水書法器」是一座改裝的三輪車，裝置載著裝滿水的桶子，根據運算程式設計滴水的時間和騎車的速率，騎過的路上就會出現滴水繪字。作品繆思源自藝術家早年在北京的生活時被人們在當地公園就地以水書寫練字所吸引而成就的滴水書法概念，而書法作為中國傳統的獨特藝術形式，經日月變遷再糅合科技後，將會在這片土地上不同角落留下一瞬間的句語。在「水書法器」的流動狀態以外，尼古拉斯 的另一機動裝置「泡泡法器」即為空間駐入一點水氣浪漫，如果說科技是冰冷的，那麼由科技而來的即可以是暖的。泡泡吹出來的可以只是夢，就像我們兒時在公園在家裡吹出來的小泡沫一樣，泡沫讓我們笑，機器一樣可以。由電腦程式配合裝置吹出來的大泡沫，為我城添個夢，也給科技增點暖。不難發現，兩件作品都攜帶著點Maker的力量。Maker，創客，又稱自造者，意指一群酷愛科技、熱愛實踐的人們，以分享技術及交流思想為樂。其實人人也可創客，當人人都離不開科技的同時也可與科技同樂共生，是故有了Makerspace，一個無盡創意自造的空間，集合了同好者。展間內有來自本土的三個自造者單位，以不同的目標出發裝載創客文化，Dim Sum Labs、Lab by Dimension Plus 還有工匠灣，分別擁有不同的自造特性，以工程化作導向，介入技術如電子、機械、3維打印及激光切割等，延伸了DIY文化，用現有資源發揮創造無限的力量 。