New media artworks by SCM students present extreme climate
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Twenty new media artworks that made use of meteorological data from the Hong Kong Observatory by students in the School of Creative Media (SCM) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) were showcased at F Hall Studio in Tai Kwun from 27 to 29 April.
Titled “Blown Away – Art, Science and Extreme Weather”, the exhibition explored the damaging effects to society of extreme weather and presented the complex relationship between mankind and nature.
Working with researchers at CityU’s School of Energy and Environment, SCM students turned meteorological data collected by sophisticated sensing devices into visual artworks. Through different forms of experimental film, interactive animation, time-lapse photography, programming and sound, they reminded us of the disasters caused by extreme weather.
Many of the artworks in the exhibition highlighted the trauma resulting from super Typhoon Mangkhut last year and addressed dire environmental issues such as rising sea levels, the greenhouse effect, air and light pollution, and microplastic waste.
“Showcasing projects that combine art, science and environmental activism, the exhibition aesthetically presents critical issues such as climate change, aerial traffic congestion and disaster response,” said Dr Zeng Hong, curator of the exhibition.
“Science presents the facts, but art finds the feeling,” said Mr Scott Hessels, programme executive producer and Associate Professor in the SCM. “Scientific data is the foundation of every artwork, and the students translate those statistics into fear, sadness, awe, beauty, humour and resilience.”
This is the first SCM exhibition held in Tai Kwun. F Hall Studio, the venue of the exhibition, started as a government printing shop and was later turned into the ‘fingerprinting’ room for incoming prisoners. The history of the building offered the perfect background for the presentation of innovative artworks, and the room became alive with the new media art exhibition, Mr Hessels said.
By using programmed LED lighting strips suspended from a drone in remote sites in Hong Kong, Skyguy Mok and Marius Richter’s photographic work Elements of the Future captured light paintings drawn by two datasets of statistical predictions of intensifying climate change. Skyguy and his German classmate Marius wee Year 1 and Year 3 students of the SCM, respectively.
In their photograph, a young girl was surrounded by wind speed data from the super Typhoon Mangkhut. “We seldom thought about its impact on us when we saw the data in the past,” Sykguy said. “As a coastal city, Hong Kong is faced with the threat of rising sea levels and super typhoons. We hope to provoke visitors to this exhibition to think about these issues through our artwork.”
In her artwork Candle in the Wind, Zoe Soo Hon-ling, a Year 4 SCM student, used candles of different lengths to show the number of people killed in each typhoon in Hong Kong since the 1960s. The melting candles with extinguished flames expressed mourning for the victims due to extreme weather.
“The death toll deserves our deep reflection,” she said. “Although Typhoon Mangkhut caused fewer casualties than Typhoon Wanda in the 1960s, the number of super typhoons attacking Hong Kong is on the rise. I hope that visitors to the exhibition can think about their relationship with nature through my art project.”
She said she was grateful to her SCM teachers for their patient guidance, which allowed students to turn their creative ideas into artworks to be presented to the public.