The Void. The Fulfilment. The Dream
《缺 · 圓 · 夢》: 音效及煙幕表演藝術 @「光·影·香港夜」Lumieres Hong Kong Festival 委約互動燈影
Artist Mr. HK’s light and animation installation and performance project which took place from the 23th to 25th November, 2017. The site-specific artwork was situated at one of the city’s historical sites, Man Mo Temple which could be dated back to the 19th century, consisted of a multimedia light projection piece and a silent performance, both taking place at the temple’s front gate. The temple’s religious and cultural significance have inspired HUNG to imagine the place as a gateway between different worlds — the mundane reality we live in and the spiritual realm. The temple itself could be seen as a culmination of hope, dreams and faith passed down from generations, throughout repeating cycles of life; its gates also a form of boundary between life and death, as the urns may suggest. HUNG’s work thus made use of imaginative lighting, animation and shadow play to invite the audience along on a dream-like journey, in which time and space were transformed and the boundaries between realms were blurred. This work was presented in periodic 15 minute sessions, in several sections forming a fantastical narrative:
1: Night Smoke ( Projection Mapping): As each performance session begins, smoke rises to shroud the area in mystery.
2: Eclipse ( Projection Mapping Design): An illuminated circle is propped up against the dark background and moved across the temple façade, its shape shifting slowly from a full sun and moon through an entire eclipse cycle; this is achieved by a mechanical design, and echoes the the conventional Chinese saying (cycles of darkness and light with the moon), which underlines a fundamental Chinese attitude towards experiences in life.
3: Circus ( Projection Mapping Design): Rhythmic spotlights dance across the temple’s roof, which is soon entirely illuminated to form a stage for projected animations of shape-shifting shadows, in a scene that is at once playful and almost intimidating.
4: Battle ( Projection Mapping Design): Projected onto a semi-transparent screen covering the front gate are animated sequences of the Gods’ own symbols: the sword and the ink brush. Fluid strokes of ink brushes and a sword being wielded swirl and melt into each other, creating a mesmerising battle sequence. The animations were also projected onto the balloons.
5:Dawn or Not ( Projection Mapping Design): An electronic mirror machine built with a spot lamp, wheels, and motor would rotate and reflect above her a circle of bluish light resembling the moon; it eclipses with a disorienting sense of the passage of time, visible to the audience on the other side. She sleeps completely still, while the screen lights up surreally with a digital video animation projected from behind, of a gate (replica of the actual temple gate) over the bed. An illustrated female character half emerges and disappears sporadically from the gate, amid flying spirits. This is a reference to a phenomenon in Eastern Han period tombs; a female figure would be painted or carved in the front of these tombs, her form emerging from a half opened gate.
6: Final ( Projection Mapping Design): The woman in white would awake, rise, and leave, either returning to reality or entering yet another dream. It all begins again a while later, the cycle of light, shadow, dream and reality playing out just as the sun and moon eclipse before our eyes.
Conclusion: This lighting and animation show was a feat of technological and imaginative mastery, which brought to the audience a magical, immersive experience connecting contemporary new media art and cultural traditions that stretch far back in time, also formed a spirited dialogue between different time periods, as well as across people’s evolving — yet in some ways unchanging — beliefs in life, and that which lies beyond.
Text: HK@ 2018