SCM artists win top Hong Kong Arts Development Awards
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A faculty member and an alumna in the School of Creative Media (SCM) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have demonstrated SCM’s leading position in the media arts by shining at the 14th Hong Kong Arts Development Awards (HKADA).
Dr Hector Rodriguez, Associate Professor, and alumna Vvzela Kook were named Artist of the Year (Media Arts) and Young Artist (Media Arts), respectively. The Awards are organised by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. This is the third consecutive year that SCM’s faculty members have won top honours at this event.
Since joining SCM in 1998, Dr Rodriguez, a digital artist focusing on computational art, has founded a new Bachelor of Arts and Science programme. He received the Dean’s Service Award and Distinguished Teaching Award from SCM in 2018 in recognition of his dedication and contributions to education.
Dr Rodriguez strives to reconfigure film history and the aesthetics of the moving image through the exploration of computational technologies. His works have been exhibited in Taiwan, Singapore, London, New York, Poland, France, Germany, Spain and Greece. In recognition of his outstanding works, he won the prize of excellence at the Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition 2003 and an Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards 2012.
“It is very challenging to create multimedia artwork,” Dr Rodriquez said. “The uncertainty consists of whether I can get an artistic idea out of science and especially in engaging with unfamiliar knowledge.” He stressed that science is not simply a tool for creating digital arts but an indispensable partner.
He added that he was grateful to CityU for supporting his teaching and awarding him two Teaching Development Grants. This support has enabled him to collaborate with Professor Felipe Cucker, Head of CityU’s Department of Mathematics. They have worked together to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration by offering a course that integrates arts, mathematics and machine learning. Through the use of computer vision algorithms, Dr Rodriguez created an artwork series titled Gestus.
Vvzela Kook graduated from CityU’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) on the Creative Media programme in 2015. Her video artwork integrates technology and the arts to convert city scenes and history into virtual experiences.
“During my studies at CityU, I was deeply inspired by SCM’s professors. Under their guidance, I broke away from conventional ways of studying the arts and explored more unique paths to create audiovisual artworks,” she said.
Science fiction is evident in her series Confidential Records, which is an extension of her MFA project. The series imagines that the Kowloon Walled City remains hidden underground as a virtual future world.
Kook’s works have been showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (2019), Microwave International New Media Festival in Hong Kong (2016 and 2018), PuSh Performing Art Festival in Vancouver (2017), and the Exhibition of Sound Art China (2013).
She presented her Columbus of Horticulture at “Garden of Six Seasons” organised by Para Site in May 2020. As one of her most favourite works, her exhibit contains special video images that show the role of botany in the history of imperialism.
Winning the HKADA recognises her hard work and the direction of her artistic practice, she said, adding that she would continue to produce new media artworks about history and the future in her continuing exploration of the possibilities of video media.