When we communicate with one another, we wish by nature to do so in a manner that is not subject to distortion.

Source: Do Emotions Distort Knowledge Pt. 1

Lily & Honglei Art Studio’s augmented reality artworks “Crystal Coffin” and “Dragon’s Pearl” on view at at both Longlake Festival & LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, Switzerland, Opening June 24, 2016.

Lily & Honglei Art Studio continues presenting their new project “Shadow Play” by launching the next solo exhibition at Wilfrid Israel Museum of Asian Art & Studies.

Although remains in-progress, the artist collective has been invited to exhibit their new project at several art venues around the globe since 2015, including Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in New York, SOMART in San Francisco, Gwangju Media Art Festival in South Korea, and Wilfrid Israel Museum in Israel. The exhibits include a dozen of large prints, and a slideshow compiled of seventy screenshots of “Shadow Play” virtual reality.

Special thanks to Dr. Anat Turbowicz, museum director,  and Shir Yamaguchi, museum curator, for making this exhibition possible. Find more from museum website http://www.wilfrid.org.il/en/?p=578

Lily & Honglei, shadow play, asian art, chinese art, shadow puppetry

Curatorial Statement
By Dr. Shoshan Brosh-Vaitz and Shir Meller-Yamaguchi. Editing by He Li

“Chinese shadow puppet theater probably began in the 6th century during the Tang dynasty as a means of disseminating religious and historical narratives, often with highlighting the value of justice and morality. Over the years, the design of the dyed leather shadow puppets became increasingly complex; delicate cutting and coloring as well as an impressive repertoire of characters and set decorations came to be developed. Due to the dramatic ideological, technological, and cultural change that took place in China during the 20th century, this art form has waned in popularity and almost become a thing of the past. The medium has been preserved primarily through the work of collectors such as Richard Hardiman, whose collection is presented in the exhibition.

“Folk art, however, is deeply rooted in cultural consciousness and has the power to revive itself when it becomes relevant to its time again. In Shadow Play by New York-based Chinese art collective Lily and Honglei, the shadow puppets reappear in a new guise within a seemingly naïve set. Originally created on a virtual reality platform, the work was adapted for screening as a slideshow presentation for the exhibition. Using the magical imagery of the traditional shadow puppets, the artists present critical commentary on the social ills shadowing over China.

Lily & Honglei, Asian Art, Chinese contemporary artist, Chinese shadow puppetry

Image by Lily & Honglei Art Studio © 2016

“Shadow Play reflects on the radical transformations experienced by China over the past thirty years through a tragic story of a rural family. The story embodies a deplorable trend that has been taking place all over China: villages and rural neighborhoods are being razed, and people who object to it are being murdered by interested parties. Children are being abducted while migrant workers are being relocated from small villages to filthy, overcrowded underground dwellings in large cities, all the while pollution abounds and public security breaks down. Basic values such as life, freedom, and dignity are being trampled in broad daylight. Lily and Honglei sketch this grim reality as a surrealistic narrative, in which mesmerizing beauty and horror are placed side by side. Green sunlight and an enchanted moonlight of yellowish-red color become obfuscated by the shadowy predicaments of reality.

“Scenes from the traditional shadow puppet theater are presented alongside scenes from its contemporary counterpart to offer a perspective on the age-old conflict between man’s base, demonic portions-which are manifest in greed, violence and exploitation–and the beautiful, exalted facets of human existence, which dwells in harmony, cooperation, altruism, and dedication.”

For more info about “Shadow Play,” visit project website http://lilyhonglei.com/shadowplay2/about.html

 

Lily & Honglei, asian art, shadow play

Image by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

Essay by Serena Jara, Jamaica Flux 2016 Catalog:

“A smoggy window view looks outwards towards a bustling cityscape, where traffic, skyscrapers, and pedestrians disappear into the industrialized atmosphere. An inverted figure materializes from the haze, suspended midair. Free falling through dense smog, the body appears poised to crash on top of the urban sprawl, frozen in its ominous descent. Gray tones envelop the dystopian scene as well as the weightless industrial worker, who appears rendered in hand drawn lines, cut out and collaged into photographic space. Her final moments assume hauntingly mythological characteristics, telling one story of the suicides afflicting many migrant workers who build China’s expanding skylines.

“Lily and Honglei’s installation for Jamaica Flux, entitled, ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China’ and exhibited on site at the Jamaica Center of Arts and Learning, studies the many layers of China’s expansion into modernity. Employing darkly dystopian allegories that reflect individualized struggles, the narrative of a village family displaced by mass land grabbing takes on the forms of virtual and augmented realities. The overarching storyline is comprised of both research and thirty years of lived experience. Presented in four chapters, the tale details the murder of the village chief at the hands of demolition crews, his son’s subsequent abduction, and his wife’s journey into the city to search for her lost child. Featuring a synthesis between traditional Chinese shadow play puppetry and advanced three dimensional rendering technologies, the project becomes an immersive fable told through equal parts symbolism and bleak reflections of reality.

“As the mother emerges from the subterranean city beneath Beijing, home to many rural migrant workers who build the expanding urban skyline above ground, she witnesses some of the most strikingly dark imagery visible in “Shadow Play.” Images of falling workers hover over her anonymously like ghosts, dangling from wires and steel beam ledges. Speaking at the 2015 Creative Capital Artist’s Retreat, Honglei explains that the visuals of descending migrant bodies ‘specifically reflects on the worker suicide cases at Foxconn factory, the electronics manufacturer behind popular products like iPads and iPhones.’ Despite their spirit-like, evaporating qualities, one cannot separate the disappearing figures from the “modernity” achieved by rapid urbanization of China. Lily and Honglei effectively bridge disconnect from both sides of one story into potent allegorical tensions, fitting vast complexity into small shadow puppet characters inhabiting a phone or tablet’s screen. Their imagery causes audiences to question the advancement of culture, embedded directly into the technologies which enable such costly ‘progressions’ to occur continuously.”

Lily & Honglei, Chinese shadow puppetry, contemporary art, Asian Art

Research presentation of Shadow Play at Jamaica Flux 2016, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, NY. Photography courtesy of Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei, Asian Art, Chinese shadow puppetry, Chinese contemporary art

Research exhibition at Jamaica Flux 2016, JCAL. Photography courtesy of Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei, Chinese shadow puppetry, urbanization of China, Asian art, Chinese media art

Shadow Play, VR screenshot by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

After months of intensive work, Lily & Honglei Art Studio is launching a series of public presentations and exhibitions of their on-going project “Shadow Play” at three venues in April and May, 2016: Queens Museum of Arts (NY), Wilfrid Israel Museum for Asian Arts & Studies (Israel), and Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (NY).

The exhibitions are produced in varied formats including video, augmented reality installation that is viewable on mobile phone apps, and prints juxtaposed with traditional Chinese shadow puppets (by courtesy of Wilfrid Israel Museum). The images appearing in the exhibitions present current stage of development of the multimedia project that integrates emerging technology such as Virtual Reality with traditional shadow puppetry motifs.

Lily & Honglei, Jamaica Flux, New York artist

Catalog of Jamaica Flux 2016

For more exhibition info and project updates, visit website http://lilyhonglei.com/shadowplay2

 

 

 

Dragon’s Pearl (image below), the augmented reality artwork created by Lily & Honglei Art Studio, will be on view in Lugano, Italy. 

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Dragon's Pearl, AR art by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

For more info, visit http://virtualelugano.blogspot.ch/p/lugano-lake-page.html

 

 

Since 2011, Lily & Honglei Art Studio has participated “(Un)Seen Sculptures,” the annual exhibition of Augmented Reality art in varied cities in Australia. The multimedia event is presented by dLux MediaArts, “a for-purpose organization with over thirty years experience in supporting artists working with emerging technologies at the intersection of art and science,” and curated by Warren Armstrong. Curatorial Statement can be found on this page: http://www.dlux.org.au/cms/dTour/un-seen-sculptures.html

Responding to the curator’s invitation, Lily & Honglei is presenting their recent work “Shadow Pavilion” in the upcoming (Un)Seen Sculptures 2015 exhibition.

Lily & Honglei, Augmented Reality art, new media artist from China, Climate Change, Shadow Play, #NYFAFellows30, #CreativeCapital

The Shadow Pavilion, AR installation by Lily & Honglei Art Studio. Medium: traditional Chinese shadow puppetry motif, virtual reality simulation, and augmented reality app on mobile device.

Artist Statement
The Shadow Pavilion is an augmented reality installation integrating traditional folk art form, specifically Chinese shadow puppetry, with digital imaging technologies. On one hand, the work visualizes cultural heritage losses as a result of gigantic engineering projects in China, on the other hand, it comments on the increasing flood risk caused by climate change. The AR installation is an integral part of Lily & Honglei’s ongoing project “Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China.
For more info about (Un)Seen Sculptures exhibition, please visit: http://www.unseensculptures.com/