Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to bring together the work of Alan Kwan (b. 1990) and Kenny Wong (b. 1987), two young artists from Hong Kong, for a joint exhibition entitled “The Interstitial/Interstitial Space”. The exhibition will feature a series of installations, prints, and video games by the artists, who will present a dialogue about the interstitial space between the physical and the virtual to narrate emotion and memory.
The exhibition will showcase works from various stages of the artists’ careers and will use computational technologies to compose motion, memories, and ideas from the imagination in dynamic and fluid forms. The use of computer software accurately simulates physical phenomenas, but the two artists will attempt to excavate beyond the material nature of reality to assess our psychological and emotional conditions. By creating a displacement from the objects of our lived environment, the works on display will explore the mental state of “stuckness”, as well as the space in the artists’ minds, presenting unsettled feelings and recollections that allow for further exploration.
The works of these artists naturally intersect, placing us in an in-between state and making us ponder the inherent bodily and psychological qualities that structure our perception in real time.
Exhibition highlights will include Alan Kwan’s The List (2008), a video work that served as a suicide note created by the artist when he was 18. The video lists the names of the women Kwan loved at the time and is a piece about love, confession, and honesty.
Also on display by Kwan will be The Hallway (2016), a single-player video game inspired by Kwan’s childhood experiences, in which the player assumes the perspective of a five-year-old child who has wandered into the hallway outside his home, having been kicked out by his father. The player encounters evocative spaces that give concrete shape to childhood experiences of rejection and insecurity, and is forced to confront spatial paradoxes that allow them to share the anxiety felt by the child.
Kwan has also drawn on his own speech impediment to create other works in the exhibition. In The Words After (2016), footage of the artist stuttering is pieced together from a previous documentary work that involved the artist attaching a video camera to his glasses. The artist has edited the footage, causing it to visually stutter, while also amplifying and exaggerating his own speech in order to express the anger and anxiety caused by difficulties in verbal communication.
Kenny Wong explores the delicate relationship between daily experiences and perceptual stimulations, merging kinetic and digital representation to create computational kinetic installations. Presented at this exhibition will be Last Walk on Thirteen Streets (2016). Shot in the Thirteen Streets area in To Kwa Wan in Hong Kong, four customised kinetic LCD panels that incline randomly will be placed on stairs, and will show a continuous loop of a man endlessly walking down some stairs. The random movement of the screens gives the illusion of the man’s descent down the stairs. The work explores the interchange and relationship between the real and virtual space, or reality and dreams. Another highlight will be Wong’s Dist (2016), an ongoing project that includes dist.solo, dist.intervene, and dist.duo (a future project). Dist.solo involves an LCD panel, featuring close-up video of a pair of eyes, suspended from a pendulum. The work is inspired from the moment of intimacy that occurs when two people make eye contact and the indefinite variables in relationships. Dist combines rational and irrational rules, expressing the artist’s personal feelings towards human relationships.
About the Artists:
Alan Kwan was born in 1990 in Hong Kong. Kwan attained his BA in Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong in 2012, followed by an MSc in Art, Culture and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, USA in 2016. Kwan currently lives and works in Boston, MA, USA.
Alan Kwan transforms his personal experiences through the mediums of film, video games, and immersive virtual reality to study the nature of pain, human memories, and simulation technology.
Kwan is an independent filmmaker, as well as a media artist. With more than 10 years of filmmaking experience, he wanted to use technology to bring cinema to another level, which prompted him to transfer invented ideas from real life to film. In Kwan’s work Bad Trip (2012), the artist used a video camera mounted on his glasses to document his life. Having started this in November 2011, the artist has produced an expanding database of digitised visual memories. Using custom virtual reality software, Kwan has created a virtual mindscape that people can navigate to experience the artist’s memories and dreams. The virtual world is perpetually evolving as he loads fresh virtual memories every night.
Kwan’s previous projects were shown at international venues including the Ars Electronica Centre in Austria, the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Germany, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Shanghai. In 2015, Kwan was awarded first prize by the MIT Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts. Other recent accomplishments and awards include the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Award for Young Artists (Media Art) for his body of work that combines art and technology.
Kenny Wong was born in 1987 in Hong Kong. Wong’s works explore the delicate relationship between daily experiences and perceptual stimulations by hybridising analogue and digital representations.
Wong is interested in exploring visual patterns, motions, and sound textures, as well as presenting works in the form of computational kinetic sculptures. Wong actively works as a collaborating artist, multimedia designer, mechanical engineer/designer, and art researcher.
Wong’s solo and collaborative works have been exhibited in over 10 countries, including Ars Electronica Festival (Austria), WRO Media Art Biennale (Poland), Athens Video Art Festival (Greece), Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre (UK), BIAN Montreal (Canada), LOOP Barcelona (Spain), FILE Festival (Brazil), 404 Festival (Argentina), Seoul International NewMedia Festival (Korea) and numerous important exhibitions in Hong Kong. Wong has named one of the Golden 15, as part of the 3rd International Emerging Artist Award (Dubai). He also received the Award for Young Artist 2014, Media Arts (Hong Kong) and was unanimously selected for the Bloomberg Digital Arts Initiative 2013 (Hong Kong).
Wong is currently pursuing his MFA in Sculpture at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He was a part-time Lecturer at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong in 2015. Wong received his BA in Creative Media from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong in 2011.
- Kenny Wong, Last Walk on Thirteen Streets, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries
- Alan Kwan, The Hallway, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries