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Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2020: Sharp Chronicles

Oct 30 – Nov 15, 2020

Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2020 returns this year from Oct 30 to Nov 15. With the curatorial theme Sharp Chronicles, the festival presents a series of exhibitions, online episodes, and screenings, to explore the pursuit of truth in face of information explosion and fabrication in the everyday life.

Media art is not merely the practice of creative ideas, but also embodies the characteristics of science and technology. Therefore, not only is media art capable of circulating messages,  documenting evidence, instigating research and awareness, it also opens the possibilities of tracing and pursuing truth. The curatorial theme of this year’s festival begins with this intention. In the everyday life of information overload, we ride on critical discussions and navigate between the threads of media art.  Through which, we allow as many possibilities as possible, and reject any certainty to weave together our “Sharp Chronicles”.

The preview of the Main Exhibition takes place on Oct 30 at the Exhibition Hall (Low Block) of Hong Kong City Hall. The exhibition brings together works from international artists, including Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Lebanon), Forensic Architecture (UK), Don’t Follow the Wind (Japan, US, Italy), Tao Ya-Lun (Taiwan), Critical Art Ensemble (US), Tactical Tech (Germany), and more. Through the interaction between art and technology, the works look into issues such as the current application of voice analysis as lie detection method and the arbitrary nature of its verdict; the investigation of tear gas usage; misinformation; environmental triage; virtual reality vs. the real world etc. Registration is required for the preview, and the Main Exhibition opens to the public from 31 October to 8 November. 

Responding to the Festival’s theme, Project Room Exhibition: About Life and Deathdeparts from four original stories. The lives and struggles of the protagonists in three of the stories inspired five creative practitioners, Joe Fang and Chung-Lun Wu from Taiwan; Edward Chiu, Jason Lam, and Jean Tsoi Wai-Yin from Hong Kong. Each of them uses different media, from images, music to interactive installation, to elaborate on the narratives. Audience can immerse themselves in the stories, via digital platforms and a physical exhibition, to ponder in the propositions of life and death. The last story is the tale of the female writer, covering traces of the three stories and creative interpretations, evolving into the exhibition format. The physical exhibition will be held at Cabinet of Stories from Nov 1-15 The stories will be released on the websites of the Festival and StoryTeller.

Unconference challenges traditional formats of conference, offering rooms for speakers to communicate with the audience through various formats of presentations under different situations. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Unconference transforms into an online video series. Four episodes featuring local and international speakers will be released on the Festival’s Facebook page on Nov 2 and 5 at 9pm. Hosted by local news anchor Diane To, speakers will share their insights related to the curatorial theme. Speakers include forensic anthropologist Winsome Lee (Hong Kong), artist and biohacker Dr. Heather Dewey-Hagborg (US/UAE), Co-founder and Creative Director of Tactical Tech Marek Tuszynski (Germany), and renowned filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson (US).

From Oct 25 to Nov 22screenings will be hosted in various locations. The programme includes selected shorts from Fabrica (Communication Research Centre in Treviso, Italy), animation by Yoriko Mizushiri, ANIMATIONISM – All Creativity Welcomed by Japan Media Arts Festival (JMAF), The 23rd JMAF Award-winning Program, Strange Culture by Lynn Hershman Leeson and starring Tilda Swinton, selected films by Harun Farocki, and documentary Democracy: Im Rausch der Daten.

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