Lily & Honglei new media art
June 22, 2016
Leave a Comment
May 6, 2016
Leave a Comment
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.
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.
“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
April 24, 2016
Leave a Comment
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.”
March 22, 2015
Leave a Comment
These virtual digital works are hidden from the naked eye but visible to anyone with an iPhone, Android or Nokia smartphone and an app called the Layar Reality Browser, that can be downloaded for free from iTunes, the Android Market or the Ovi Store.
For more about previous showings of (Un)seen Sculptures and to find out what’s been done in this field elsewhere in the world, follow some of the links in the AR Art Links box in the sidebar on this site. www.unseensculptures.com
If you want to create your own mobile augmented reality art, click on the DIY link at the top of this same site for some tips to get you started and some ideas about other directions to take your work.
June 3, 2014
Leave a Comment
"Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China" is a 2014 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., for its Turbulence.org website. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation.
Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China
by Lily & Honglei
Over the past few decades China has been urbanizing at an astounding pace. In 2013, the People’s Republic unveiled its plan to relocate 260 million people from China’s countryside to one of 21 “mega regions” by 2020 (cbsnews.com). Such a significant shift will undoubtedly transform China’s national character, which has been predominantly agrarian for millennia. Shadow Play weaves three interfaces, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Physical Reality (PR), and combines the past and present – through time-honored imagery, paint, shadow play, and new media technologies – to immerse participants in the realities of contemporary China.
Thanks to the great support from co-directors, Jo-Anne Green and Helen Thorington, Shadow Play also becomes part of Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Division of Rare and Special Collections at Cornell University, NY.
April 19, 2014
Leave a Comment
Curators: Lily & Honglei (Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, Curatorial Assistant: He Li)
Event: Digital Art Weeks Festival 2014, Seoul
Exhibition Dates: Oct 5th -Dec 22nd, 2014
Organization: DAW International
The Augmented Realism
Lily & Honglei (Lily X. Yang, Honglei Li and He Li)
The artistic application of Augmented Reality (AR) mobile technology is a new approach to creativity. With a mobile-device program, AR technology allows artists to set up site-specific installations that integrate digital art with physical surroundings. The audience can then view these works through their cell phone cameras, resulting in an artistic experience that challenges the existing definitions of space and medium.
Like any site-specific installations, the physical setting of AR artwork plays a vital role as a visual and contextual component of the overall piece. By inserting virtual artistic elements into a physical site, the AR medium provides artists with an opportunity to redefine a particular space with a new historical, political, or aesthetic light. Contrary to traditional forms of site-specific installation, the presence of AR art does not require permission from authorities that have jurisdiction over the physical space. This unique liberty is exemplified by 4Gentlemen’s installations Goddess of Democracy and Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, projects which certainly would have been obstructed by the Chinese government if it was not for the discreetly expressive nature of AR technology. Thus, in many respects, AR has made the whole world a canvas for new media art.
Moreover, artists and audiences alike are often challenged to think beyond their native cultures and landscapes in this global age. While environmental, economic, and political issues have come to span across the entire world, individuals often find themselves acquainted with unfamiliar peoples, places, and history. AR art corresponds precisely to this globalizing trend because it provides artist with an expressive medium that could take form anywhere in the world in a direct and efficient manner.
AR art is a “realistic” art style- not only because it stands against the backdrop of the real physical world, but also because it requires artists to ponder on the relationship between the physical setting and their virtual sculptures. It is only when a concordance exists between these two domains that compelling and relevant ideas could be put forth. In this way, the artist is able to present their own take on reality to the audience through their mobile devices, unraveling a new “realism” of the digital age.
The AR exhibition that is to be held at the at Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Garden and Cultural Station 284 in Seoul will embody all of such concepts discussed above. We would like to thank Digital Art Weeks International Festival 2014 as well as all contributing artists for making this invaluable opportunity possible.
Background information for participating artists and audience:
Culture Station 281 Seoul
The old building of the Seoul train station was designed by Tsukamoto Yasushi, a professor of Tokyo University. Construction of the station started in June, 1922 and was completed in September, 1925. Due to its unique domed roof and large size, the station attracted much attention in its early years.
After Korea regained its independence from under Japanese colonial rule, the station’s name was changed from ‘Gyeongseong Station’ to ‘Seoul Station’. During the Korean War, the station was partially destroyed but later restored. After Korea began industrializing after the war, the South annex and West annex were constructed to handle the increasing transportation volume.
In 2004 when the privately-funded new station was constructed, the old station closed down, but after reconstruction in 2011 opened as a multicultural space called ‘Culture Station Seoul 284’. The main section (Jungang Hall) is for performances, exhibitions, events, and cafés, while the 2nd floor houses a hall that serves as a venue for cultural performances, exhibitions, academic seminars, business meetings, and more.
More info, please read:
Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul
Taking up 60% of the entire area of Changdeokgung Palace, the Secret Garden (‘Biwon’ in Korean) was a private garden where the kings and royal family members relax and enjoy the picturesque nature.
Changdeokgung’s rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called ‘Bukwon’ and ‘Geumwon,’ but was renamed ‘Biwon’ after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. Buyongjeong, Buyongji, Juhabru, Eosumun, Yeonghwadang, Bullomun, Aeryeonjeong, and Yeongyeongdang are some of the many pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.
Changdeokgung Palace had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, garden and landscape planning, and related arts, for many centuries. It reflects sophisticated architectural values, harmonized with beautiful surroundings. The palace compound is an outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design, exceptional for the way in which the buildings are integrated into and harmonized with the natural setting, adapting to the topography and retaining indigenous tree cover.
The Daejojeon Hall nearby was for the use of the queen. The garden was landscaped with a series of terraces planted with lawns, flowering trees, flowers, a lotus pool, and pavilions set against a wooded background. There are over 26,000 specimens of 100 indigenous trees in the garden. To these should be added 23,000 planted specimens of 15 imported species, including yew, stone pine, white pine, gingko and Chinese junipers.
Watch video: http://youtu.be/_M3hwhsm7Hw
April 16, 2014
Leave a Comment
Invited by Dr. Alberto Guevara, the editor-in-chief of inTension journal of York University, virtual reality project Land of Illusion by Lily & Honglei Art Studio (currently with three active members, Xiying Yang, Honglei Li and He Li) will be published in the next issue of this academic journal.
Issues of the journal are theme-based, but space is provided in each issue for articles, reviews, and artwork that engage the core interests of InTensions: the theatricality of power, corporealities of structural violence, and sensory regimes.
Issue 7 ‘Fun and Games – Playing to the Limit’
Dr. David Harris Smith, McMaster University
Dr. Elysée Nouvet, McMaster University
To play is human. Play is a social act of often unclear boundaries. The delineation of playing as a special conditional form of doing or acting in the world relies upon registers of seriousness, authenticity, consequence and import, yet these registers are ultimately ambiguous. Play can materialize and relativize banal affective and social relations. Play can imagine, insist on the possibility of, or suppress, difference. Play may provoke shock or distraction, conceal or reveal intention. Play may be encouraged or denied, rewarded or punished, feared, disdained, addictive, fatal.
What becomes possible as a result of play in specific contexts? What socio-cultural relations are inscribed in the various sites of play? Are there limits to the social power of play, or limits to the social contexts in which playful acts may be asserted? Or is the very delineation of some actions as play itself a limit on imagination and transformation? To what extent do the connotative associations of theatre, sport, or childhood constitute a limit on what is considered play? What is the role of play in science, industry, politics, or war? What associations are can be traced between play and inductive, exploratory, or experimental knowledge generation?
Developmental theories situate play in the process of accommodating to reality, whereby the child first assimilates difficult and incongruous aspects of reality by revisiting them with familiar schema. For Baudrillard, the reproduction of the ‘real’ risks eclipsing its truth-value. These positions inscribe a vast territory populated by varying admixtures of representation and awe. Is play necessarily reactionary if it is absorbed into the normative and normalizing practices of (re)production and consumption (Debord)? When are play and playfulness critical distractions to organized protest? Alternatively, how might simulation and virtual worlds unleash important re-imaginings and re-mappings of the social (Deleuze)? What are the unique potentialities of play when engaged as formative, preliminary, inconsequential, non-serious, speculative, or exploratory?
In this issue, we invite scholarly/artistic contributions that engage the relations between play, power, and social reproduction. We welcome theoretical explorations, as well as reflections, experiments, reports, or ethnographies on play and playfulness in its lived, historical, and cultural contexts.
View past issues of InTensions: