The Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2020 will take place in Hong Kong from October 30 to November 15. The theme this year is Sharp Chronicles, which explores the pursuit of truth in the era of information explosion and manipulation by presenting a series of exhibitions, online activities, and screenings.
The curatorial theme of this year’s edition starts from the idea that media art is not merely the practice of creative ideas, but also reflects the characteristics of science and technology. Apart from communicating messages, documenting evidence, researching and awakening, it also opens the possibilities of tracing and pursuing the truth.
The following list is the 7 main exhibitions of this year’s festival, which ride on critical discussions and navigate between the threads of media art in the context of information overloaded everyday life.
1. The Whole Truth (2012)
by Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Lebanon)
The Whole Truth is an audio documentary that introduces the current application of speech analysis as a polygraph method. This documentary uses broadcast conventions as experimental subjects and includes a collection of interviews with software developers, anthropologists, and entrepreneurs from the Netherlands, the United States and elsewhere in the biometric industry. Abu Hamdan uses this speech-based polygraph to process speech, thus proving that the conclusions it produces are arbitrary.
2. Wandering Ghost No.5 (2020)
by Tao Ya-Lun (Taiwan)
The Wandering Ghost No.5 shows a virtual image of a large radar, echoing the information collection surveillance radar system operated by the national capital – this is the artist’s explanation of how virtual reality completely replicates the political and social systems in the physical world.
It has become a new form of technological despotism, creating resistance between power centers and peripheral equipment, and tension between dictators and those fighting for freedom in virtual networks. As modern people desire to remain free, he must become a “ghost”, often switching from one virtual space-time to another virtual space-time to escape virtual devices and their governance.
3. Technological Totalitarianism (2020)
by Tao Ya-Lun, Shih Yi-Shan, Chen Pin-Chen, Tsai Chi-Hung, Wu Po-yao (Taiwan)
Contemporary technology governance is an “invisible comer” at all times. With the advancing of the times, governance technology has become ubiquitous and latent. Unexpected content and forms appear, wantonly infiltrate into the things, domains, individuals, and consciousness that it wants to control and supervise, making it possible for us to be driven out of our private domain, deprived of the freedom of existence, and realize the transition from virtual to physical, which embodies the full penetration, the full control of consciousness and soul.
4. Environmental Triage: An Experiment in Democracy and Necropolitics (2020)
by Critical Art Ensemble (US)
The concept of triage is a fundamental organizing principle for deciding who lives and who dies when numerous injuries happened at the same time. When there are plentiful resources, the person with the greatest injury will get the largest share of resources and receive treatment before the others of less injury. However, the person with the greatest injury will be treated last when there are insufficient resources.
Triage is not only applicable to people, but also to wildlife and the environment. With limited resources, how do people organize the remediation of damaged or unhealthy ecosystems? Will people try their best to repair, or just give up?
5. A Walk in Fukushima (2015-2017)
by Don’t Follow the Wind (Japan, US, Italy)
Don’t Follow the Wind is a collective project situated inside the radioactive Fukushima exclusion zone. However, due to environmental pollution preventing the public from entering the restricted area, the Fukushima exhibition is still ongoing but largely invisible, which is similar to radiation itself. Since the works in the Fukushima exclusion zone exhibition cannot leave the area and remain unseen, the immersive 360-degree video will show the exhibition location instead of the artwork.
6. Triple-Chaser (2020)
by Forensic Architecture (UK), Praxis Films (US)
Forensic Architecture began the project using “computer vision” classifiers to collect and interpret the use of Safariland tear gas by responding to the invitation to the 2019 Whitney Biennial and in solidarity with Whitney staff who for months were protesting against Kanders. The Triple-Chaser will use a video to explain how to use the methods of machine learning, synthetic image generation, and photo-realistic modeling to detect Safariland canisters among the 7 million images shared online by activists, protesters, and other allies.
7. The Glass Room (Misinformation Edition) (2020)
by Tactical Tech (Germany)
The Glass Room Misinformation Edition invites the audience to explore how social media and the internet change the way people read information and react to it. This allows them to understand the latest opinion leaders, the old and new tactics they use, and the role of consumers and users in the flow of information. The exhibited work examines personal information, target marketing, the underlying business model, and the relationship with people’s opinions and behaviors.
To check out more about the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2020, click here.
(Feature Image: Photo/microwavefest.net)