Curatorial Statement
Curatorial Statement
Be water is easier said than done.

Throughout history, both in the west and in the east, philosophers and scientists talked about water: from being the origin of life to benevolences toward all others. They all respect water. We started to talk about media art through water in 2015 by using Laozi's "the greatest virtue is like water" as the main theme of the first episode. By comparing electronic media to characteristics of water and by extending the discussion on maker culture in doing more good. In this second episode, continuing through the character of water, we channel the penetrating power and capacitance of water into the traits of media arts. In Sushi’s A Reply to Xie Minshi, “It is akin to the floating of cloud and flowing of water, it started without a solid body. But they go where they should go and stop whenever they have to stop.” The floating of cloud and flowing water never stops and cannot be restrained. Everything disappear easily without a trace, just like the world’s visible and invisible data. Not only we use the floating of cloud as an allegory of data, we also use the flowing water as an emblem of the quality of media art; letting the work into the life of the audience and spreading the invisible influence out into the world.

It had been half a year since the last episode of Microwave International New Media Arts Festival. Continuing the fluidity of the electronic arts and using non site-specific performances to let the art intervenes the life of the audience. This episode will showcase the different possibilities of the arts of data mapping. The relationship between data and daily life has been proven to be important and widespread. Everyone is upset by numbers: height, weight, money in the bank, weather, humidity, real estate market and stock market. All of which affects the emotions of the common people. Data lies inside much of the space, tangible and intangible, influences our life without our knowledge. Italian artist Paolo Cirio’s Street Ghost find images of people on Google Map, colour print them lifesize and paste them back on the street. His work shows the problem of copyright and privacy in the the age of internet, and the conflict in the rights to distribute data. Local artist Bryan Chung based his work on human brain wave. Through the collection of audience’s brain wave in their meditation, his work contains and show collective thoughts. There are data that we should learn more about that is not originate from personal nor commercial activities. This must includes a much discussed issue: radiation. Local art group XCEED’s Radianscape visualize the real-time data published by international organization Safecast. It turns the invisible into both visible and audible, which makes us inescapable. In Akousmaflore, the French duo Scenocosme, Grégory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt uses plants as a touch interface to show the invisible static changes within them and enable human and plants compose music together. We are at a time when ‘smart’ is everywhere; human and machine is inseparable. Japanese artist Kimura Masa’s Musical Mechanical instruments reshape emtional space. Between the all mechanical performance on the unmanned stage and the performance by human and mechanical performer, emotional tension is created through artificial intelligence. As an extension of electronic medium, the American duo Cuppetelli & Mendoza connects body, sound and visualization in their work Transposition to shorten the distance between the action of the audience and reaction.

It is not an easy feat to stay active for 20 years, Since it establishment in 1996, Microwave International New Media Arts Festival has been discussing different world and social issue through the lens of new media art. This year we use the unstoppable movement of the cloud and water as an analogy to our on-going mission in all different forms.

We should believe that

While it is not easy to stay active as the cloud and water, technology and science should aim to bring us the greatest virtue.

古今中外不少哲學科學理論談水,從生命之源走到為人為仁的論說,對「水」之心不無敬重。二零一五年以水出發談媒體藝術,「上善若水」為主題揭開了上卷,概念源自老子的《道德經》。把水的特性扣緊電子媒體,以「善」為任命延伸討論造客文化(Maker Culture)。走到下卷,持續著「水」的品性,把其川流不息、其穿透與承載力與媒體作品的特質連貫起來。讀過蘇軾的《答謝民師書》,裡面說「大略如行雲流水,初無定質、但常行於所當行,止於不可不止」。行雲、流水皆流轉不定、不受拘束,一切就像易於消逝又了無痕跡,就像大世界裡那些可見與不可見的數據,是以不單以行雲代喻數據,更以若水延續媒體藝術的品質與特性,讓作品遊刃於觀者的生命之中,並把其無形卻又浩大的影響力效應出去。

今年的微波國際新媒體藝術節跟二零一五年只單單相隔半載,繼上卷刻劃如水的電子媒體狀態,以不定點表演模式讓作品介入觀者生活,下卷則重於把數據轉譯的作品以多種方式呈現人前。數據與生活終於被認同了其相關性與普及性,人人為一大堆數字開心不開心,無論是身高體重戶口銀碼天氣濕度樓市股市,通通都牽繫著大眾情感,然而數據存活在大部份的空間之中,有形無形,卻在我們不為意之下影響著生活。意大利藝術家薛理遨的《遊魂》運用谷歌街景找出人們的影像,彩色打印如真人般大小並將之貼回街道上,以揭示網路上的私隱及版權問題,並延伸至數據處理權之爭。本地藝術家鍾緯正則以人類的腦波出發,透過冥想搜集觀者的腦電波,讓作品裝載及呈現集體意念。然而我們知道身邊的數據不單源自個人及商業環境,還有一些不可不知曉的,當中一定包括近年關切議題──輻射,本地藝術團隊 XCEED的《輻射界》更根據國際性組織Safecast中的實時數據以視效呈現,把不可見的轉變成可聽可見,讓人們無處可逃。法國藝術二人組樂碩理與安世迪則通過《聽花》,以植物作為本體觸碰介面,透過不被看見的靜電變化,讓人與植物同譜樂章。當智能無所不在,現已走到人與機械已不可分割的世代,日本藝術家木村匡孝透過《機械音樂組》重塑情緒空間,無論是全機械演出的音感無人舞台,還是真人與機械之間的熱情演出,都在陳述透過人工智能而重新建設的情緒張力。由電子媒體作延伸,美國藝術二人組古特利與文多薩,把身體、聲音及虛擬視效三者互扣,讓《移形》拉近了觀者動作與反應的距離。




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