Brave new worlds

| Lisa Kao 1 Mar 2019

When you look at the screen outside Sogo Causeway Bay this month, you will see something different. Instead of advertisements, there will be moving images that bring you into another world.

Sogo is experimenting with Videotage through a 19-by-72-meter Full HD LED screen, which is bigger than five tennis courts. Artificial Landscape, which features four young artists, is creating a new look in the urban area.

"The screen is so big that it can change the landscape of an area," said project curator Isaac Leung. "Like a screen in a concert, it is able to bring people into another space.

"People in Hong Kong are used to being surrounded by commercial billboards. It will be interesting to see what happens when art intervenes in the landscape."

Embers by Shi Zheng and Black Moves by Carla Chan entice the audience into a brand new space through their animations.

"The two works are artificial landscapes themselves," said Leung.

He wants the audience to feel they have left Causeway Bay when the screen changes into the red and black animations.

"One way to watch it is from the pedestrian crossing, but another is to view it from a parallel plane from Hysan Place."

Meanwhile, Notel by Lawrence Lek explores the future of the city, disguised like a property-selling advertisement.

"The animation is about a fully automated luxury hotel of the future with the transparent screens we often see from science fiction movies and artificial intelligence."

While the other works are animations, Howard Cheng's is created from reality. "I shot the pedestrian crossing in front of Sogo with a drone," said Cheng.

Noting how there are surveillance cameras all around the city, he "wanted to use the angle from a bird's eye view to give the audience a feeling that they are under surveillance."

That feeling is enhanced as the video is being played when the people are crossing the road. "Even though it is not a real-time scene, people might want to try to find themselves in the screen," said Cheng.

The 33-year-old addressed the distance of people. "In Hong Kong, people are physically near but mentally far apart."

The phenomenon is seen from the road crossing scene in his video. "People are so near to each other," he said, so he added lines to connect the people.

However, Cheng does not want to impose a meaning on the audience but leave people free to interpret. "I hope at least my video is playful and works like eye candy."

Leung said some people might think art is high and formal, far away from them. "The project this time is placed in a public area, making the art accessible," he said.

And he is excited to see how the people are engaged this time. "From our previous events, we see that people like to take pictures of art pieces and put them on social media."

It would be fun to see how the videos are recaptured by people this time, he said.

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