What You Need to Know: Open through April 2, 2023, the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) Gallery is presenting the group exhibition “Hylozoism: An Arts and Technology Exhibition.” Comprised of five exhibits by five national and international artists and creative duos—fuse*, Ryuichi Sakamoto x Daito Manabe, Keith Lam, Ellen Pau, and Living Architecture Systems Group/Philip Beesley—the show highlights the intersection of technological innovation and pioneering artistic models. Curators of the exhibition Joel Kwong and Keith Lam, both of whom are based in Hong Kong, said, “The merging of innovative technology with artistic concept displays a response to the contemporary and the near future. Like the five elements, the five works in this exhibition present a neo-nature to propose the concept of symbiosis.” Together, the projects in “Hylozoism” highlight HKDI’s ongoing mission to foster and promote new modes of thinking on the present and future roles of science, art, and civilization and their junctures.
Why We Like It: Consideration of the dichotomies between art and technology, humans and nature, has inevitably come to the fore of cultural conversations as the future and its uncertainties become more pressing. The artists within “Hylozoism” offer a glimpse into possible realities and solutions, synthesizing concepts and ideas from seemingly disparate subjects. Keith Lam’s (2022–23) is made in reference to a common indoor farming method involving artificial overhead lights to facilitate plant growth. Instead of using a traditional plant-growing light panel, however, the lights that make up the “sky” imitate the undulating colors of broadcast news. The light feeding the plants and concept of “feeding” information creates a conceptual loop between lived and virtual realities. Elsewhere, Ellen Pau’s (2022) features a blossom from the Hong Kong orchid tree, a leguminous plant that is a hybrid of two non-native species. Presented within a sterile and precise digital medium, evokes questions around artificial and new intelligences, and the scientific and artistic tapping of DNA as a guide for both latent and yet-discovered conceptions of life and experience. Alongside the other exhibitions in the show, visitors can explore and discover new ideas rooted in the Anthropocene and consider the myriad possible futures that can flourish from them.
According to the Gallery: “We are delighted to present ‘Hylozoism: An Arts and Technology Exhibition.’ Arts and technology are both key areas in which HKDI is committed. We began offering a new arts technology program in September 2022. The institution organizes extended learning programs for students to acquire new and emerging knowledge and skills that are outside the standard curriculum. This exhibition is one of those extended learning opportunities and we hope it will both stimulate curiosity and generate discussions on the interwoven relationships between art and technology, humans and nature, the virtual and the physical.”—Dr. Lay Lian Ong, principal of HKDI
See inside the exhibition below.