VIDEOTAGE / DR.ISAAC LEUNG
THE SPIRIT OF OUR TIME
In The Spirit of Our Time, Dadaist sculptor Raoul Hausmann uses a “mechanical head” to envision a spirit perforated by the tragedy of war and effects of technology. The piece is one of the best prototypes depicting humanity becoming robotic—a soul relying solely on technology to survive. This 1920’s vision of humanity may seem dated for many, but the exploration of the intersections between human spirituality and technology have never stopped. In our hyperconnected world, many believe that the spirit, coupled with open information channels, has proliferated a mass transformation of collective consciousness. Others disagree and increasingly argue our current time is leading to a science-fiction dystopia, especially for those concerned about the speculative risks of artificial intelligence. In a time when flashy flat screens hang from every wall, stand on every desk, and are held in the palm of every hand, one must ask: what is the spirit of our time?
Artists often toy with symbols and explore the notions of spirit using different strategies. Instead of portraying the “mechanical head” with an assemblage of tools and devices on a wooden head, “the spirit of our time” is carried forward to a new age by contemporary artists with computer generated animations, 3D renderings and digital performances. These works often involves new forms of symbols utilized not only for compositional structures, but to invoke a peculiar state of mind in the viewer.
Curated by Isaac Leung, The Spirit of Our Time explores visions of the intersection between current technology and our spirituality. The program aims to investigate a unique genre of artistic expression that is eminently psychedelic, hallucinogenic, and spiritual. Set before the hyper-technologized cityscape, the program transforms the Hong Kong harbour front into a dazzlingly artificial environment. The range of animations and performative videos brings novel forms of encounter outside the gallery space and invites audiences to collectively participate in these interpretations of spirituality through large-scale public screens. The curated works will be projected between music performances during Clockenflap 2017.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: DR.ISAAC LEUNG
Isaac Leung is a practicing artist, curator and scholar in art and culture.
In 2003, Leung received an Honorary Fellowship of a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the New Media Art Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since then, his works were exhibited in over 30 venues across the globe, which includes Zolla/Lieberman Gallery (USA), Para Site (Hong Kong), Videotage (Hong Kong), Connecting Space (Hong Kong), MOCA (Shanghai), and Venice Biennale of Architecture (Italy). Leung’s works are centered on critical issues concerning technology and social media, they were previously featured on National Public Radio (USA), and in Agence France-Presse (France), Chicago Tribune (USA), NY Arts Magazine (USA), Chicago Readers (USA) and the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong).
In 2013, Leung was appointed as the Chairman of Videotage. During his tenure, he initiated and participated in projects that included exhibitions, workshops, lectures, publications, online projects and symposia. Some of these are, 40 Years of Video Art in Germany and Hong Kong (Hong Kong and Germany), The 12th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition (Italy and Hong Kong), Perpetual Art Machine (USA), Time Test – International Video Art Research Exhibition (China), ISEA Festival (Hong Kong, China), Both Sides Now (Hong Kong, UK, and various countries), Loop Barcelona (Spain), One World Exposition (Hong Kong), China Remixed (USA), Clockenflap (Hong Kong) and Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative (Hong Kong). In recent years, Leung has been has been active in promoting international exchanges of video and media arts. He is also a staunch supporter of exploring new models for interdisciplinary collaboration and creative entrepreneurship. In addition to his contributions to Videotage, Leung has also served as advisor and assessor for diverse international institutions, previous services include projects presented by Home Affairs Bureau (Hong Kong), Hong Kong Arts Development Council (Hong Kong) and Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).
In the same year of 2013, Leung received his received his PhD degree, specializing in the contemporary Chinese art market. Since 2000, Leung has given lectures at several prominent conferences, which include Transmediale (Germany), International Arts Leadership Roundtable 2016 (Hong Kong), Art Basel Salon (Hong Kong), and ARCO Contemporary Art Fair (Spain). Leung has taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University, the City University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of the Hong Kong Education University.
ART WORK/PROJECT NAME: VIDEOTAGE
Videotage is a leading Hong Kong-based non-profit organization specializing in the promotion, presentation, creation and preservation of new media art across all languages, shapes and forms. Founded in 1986, Videotage has evolved from an artist-run collective to an influential network, supporting creative use of media art to explore, investigate and connect with issues that are of significant social, cultural and historical value. Videotage is dedicated to nurturing emerging media artists and developing the local media arts community. It has organized numerous events and programs since 1986, including exhibitions, presentations (Dorkbot), festivals (Wikitopia), workshops, performances, a residency program (FUSE) and cultural exchange programs, as well as continually distributing artworks through its networks and publications; and developing an extensive offline and online video art archive (VMAC).
As new media art combines the meticulous characteristics from art, science and technology, Videotage strives to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues amongst artists, scientists, academics and entrepreneurs in order to offer critical perspectives on artistic advancements and technological developments.
Going forward, Videotage will continue to leverage on its resources and international networks to promote Hong Kong’s artistic and cultural heritage to the broader audience in the Greater China region, as well as continuing to introduce pioneering art movements and practitioners to the audience at our home base in Hong Kong.