CityU Playful Media Exhibition showcases digital media creativity

Ellen Chan

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The Playful Media Exhibition, which showcases both the artistic and technological aspects of the digital media creations of School of Creative Media students at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), was held from 16 June to 20 June.

Hosted by the Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Creative Media programme, the exhibition displays 11 student projects ranging from innovative computer games to interactive installations and applied artworks. The exhibition demonstrates the students' creativity and practical capabilities.

The opening ceremony was held on 18 June with officiating guests Mr Nicholas Yang Wai-hung, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited; Mr Ken Law Wai-ho, Chair of ACM SIGGRAPH Hong Kong Professional Chapter; and Professor Liu Zhiqiang, Programme Leader of the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Creative Media programme of CityU. Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU; Professor Lilian Vrijmoed Kwan Lee-ping, Dean of Student Learning, and Professor James Moy, Dean of the School of Creative Media, also visited the exhibition.

"The exhibition is incredible and the projects are very creative," Professor Liu said. "It is a platform upon which the students can demonstrate mastery of the skills they have acquired. I always encourage them to be open-minded and not to feel constrained by simply adhering to skills and ideas taught in the classroom setting. I also advise them to work with other people so that they can learn from each other," he added.

The programme has run for three years and the first-batch of students will graduate this year. Students not only learn the basics but also have the opportunity to implement theories to create more impressive projects. These skills will ensure there is an ample array of talent ready to enter the media industry, Professor Liu said.

Mr Yang said he was impressed by the students' effort in creating the projects and this first-hand practical experience would equip them for their future career. "I encourage all of you to fully utilize your imagination and creativity to develop rich, unique and quality contents," Mr Yang added.

Mr Law said the projects were very creative and provoked new ideas.

Nick Wan Lik-kwong, a Year 2 student of the programme, and his three classmates designed the interactive computer game, "King of the Court". A real-time object-tracking racing game, the playing field is projected onto the floor with players controlling virtual cars by remote control. Players and spectators alike can place obstacles in the way during the game to increase interactivity and levels of difficulty.

"Through discussion, we reached a consensus to adopt a user-friendly design that the whole family could enjoy. Despite differing ideas, all team members were open-minded and willing to accept others' opinions," Nick said.

Also a member of the organising committee, Nick had to work on his project while organising the exhibition. "It has been a valuable learning experience in terms of the planning required to ensure both initiatives were a success," Nick added.

"Electric Violin" is a project designed by Morgan Aasdam and his classmate, both Year 2 students of the School. Morgan said this musical tool was used as a human-computer interface and acted like a toy for people to practice their violin skills and introduce people to the instrument with ease.

"My project is an application of the skills I have learnt from the SIG workshops. I encountered some technical problems when putting my thoughts into action but with perseverance and teamwork, the problems were solved. The insight provided by the teachers and visitors of the exhibition provides material for improvements and changes," Morgan said.

Andy Li Wing-ho, a Year 1 student of the programme, worked with three other classmates for nearly three months and designed the installation work, "Mirage". The work comprised hundreds of metres of metal chains, a grid and a long mirror. The metal chains are weaved through the small grids slots and when hung above the mirror create the reflected illusion of a cityscape. "It is an excellent opportunity to participate in this exhibition as I can learn from senior classmates and broaden my horizon," Andy said.

The Special Interest Groups were initiated and organised by School of Creative Media students and faculty members in 2007. They encompass computer graphics, photography, game design and animation, interactivity and installation, motion generation and tracking and online radio. A new group in graphics and design is introduced to further enhance their development. The students initiate projects of their own interest, ranging from innovative computer games, interactive installations to applied artworks using digital technologies.

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