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

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


Lily & Honglei, Creative Capital, media art, Chinese new media artist

Lily & Honglei’s presentation at EMPAC theater, RPI campus in New York, 2015

Representing the art studio, Lily & Honglei presented on-going project “Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China” during a week long gathering of art professionals and Creative Capital grantees in both 2015 and 2013, who have received support from the organization for their projects in four categories: Moving Image, Visual Arts, Emerging Field and Performance Arts.

“We’re deeply moved by these artists’ courageous works that are pushing the boundaries, advocating for social justice, or promoting community wellbeing.” Lily and Honglei stated, “it was a great honor and wonderful opportunity to share our work with a group of exceptional artists. Through our project, we wanted to make a voice for those who cannot.”

Lily & Honglei, Creative Capital, media artist

Creative Capital 2015 presentations at EMPAC Theater, Rensselaer Polytech Institute, NY

A transcript of Lily & Honglei’s presentation:

Our project is called “Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China.” We are building the piece on both deep research and our 30-year life experience in China. The intention of this multimedia project is to visualize the urbanization process that has irreversibly changed the society, culture, and environment of the world’s most populous country.

Visually, the project is inspired by traditional Chinese shadow play, while technologically it’s decidedly forward-looking: first, we are developing digital animations for video installation in physical space; second, virtual reality sets the foundation for another facet of the piece- much of the project could be experienced through an immersive environment in cyperspace that anybody with Internet connection could access in real-time. A third segment of the piece will be developed using augmented reality technology on mobile devices. The three layers combine into a visual account of the complex process of urbanization, highlighting the tragic story of one Chinese rural family. The work is presented in four chapters:

The First Chapter shows the family of the village head leading a peaceful live in the countryside. It presents a landscape with traditional residences built in harmony with the natural environment. This chapter also depicts the violent confrontations between the villagers and a demolition team working for the local government and real estate developers. This type of clashes, often deadly, has become commonplace as a result of large-scale land-grabbing over the past two decades. At the end of this chapter, the village head is brutally crushed to death by the demolition team’s truck.

In Chapter 2, the village is demolished and most parts reduced to rubble. The rural landscape has been drastically transformed. The child of the village head is alone playing outside one night when a stranger in dark suit emerges and gives the child candy. Subsequently, the child is drugged and abducted. This chapter addresses the serious social problem of child abduction. It’s estimated that some 70,000 children are kidnapped in China every year, with many of them sold for adoption. The one-child policy, a fundamental strategy for China’s economic growth, has contributed to this problem.

Lily & Honglei, media art, new media art from china, creative capital award

In Chapter 3, the mother begins her journey looking for the missing child. She arrives the city’s train station along with countless migrant workers who are later struggling with their urban lives. Many of them have to live in the ‘underground city,’ which is an enormous network that comprises of tunnels, basements, even bomb shelters. This complex is located underneath the skyscrapers that they built with their own hands. The imagery of the falling workers is a metaphor for their fate. This specifically reflects on the worker suicide cases at the Foxconn factory, the electronics manufacturer behind popular products like the iPad and the iPhone.

In the last chapter, the mother continues to travel across the country in search of her child. Through her journey she observes the environmental degradation. Water and soil are severely polluted by industrial waste. Both rural and urban areas are shrouded in smog. All of such is caused by the mindless exploitation of the environment for the sake of fast economic growth. Meanwhile, the cultural heritage verges on extinction. Countless historic sites have submerged underwater as a result of gigantic engineering projects. The social environment remains as repressive as ever: the whole system can be compared to a maze without an exit, with people trapped within.

One day, the mother finds herself facing a heartbreaking sight: 5 homeless boys are found dead in a garbage container. They died from carbon monoxide poisoning after attempting to warm themselves by burning charcoal inside. In fact the five kids are among the 60 million Chinese children who left behind in the countryside when their parents set off as migrant workers.

We will also share a few clips of our previous work. Our proposed project “Shadow Play” will be completed around the summer of 2016. we are seeking some opportunities, particularly exhibition venues such as museums, galleries or art festivals. Also, we hope to develop collaborations with our fellow artists. This is our project. Thank you very much!


Visit Creative Capital blog for more info:

Lily & Honglei, Creative Capital 2015

and on Instagram:


Curated by DAW International

Exhibition Opening: Wednesday 8th May, 17:00

Exhibition Dates: 8th May to 19th May, 10:00 – 22:00


The project “Window Zoos & Views” was inspired by an image of a car driving down Singapore’s legendary Orchard Road. The windshield of the car was plastered with stickers of popular cartoon characters. By driving down the street, the car mixes the cartoon characters with the actual world and the cartoon characters augment the real world environment. The interior of the car was transformed by the stickers into a kind of a virtual space in which the passengers inside were able to exceed the bounds of physical reality.In keeping with the idea of the car and the experience it provides those inside it, a concept was developed to transform Orchard Road into a virtual exhibition space for pedestrians by creating an responsive smart phone application and overlaying the entire road with geo-tagged media common to game technologies and augmented reality systems. Like the car’s windshield, pedestrian’s mobile device screens become windows onto the virtual world that is emerging around us, expanding our notion of what constitutes public space and how art can be exhibited. Whether traveling by vehicle or by foot, artworks will augment the “stop and go” journey down the road adding to the hustle and bustle of the people and the glare and flash of window displays and neon signs. Utilizing this type of technology in an art context is a new proposition that explores all that we know and experience as the mix of the real and the hyper-real, calling into question the border between art and life itself.

Artists & Researcher
John Craig Freeman (USA)
Tamiko Thiel (USA/DEU)
Lily & Honglei (CHN)
Lalie S. Pascual(CHE)
Will Pappenheimer

List of Artworks → more

Participating Institutes
School of Digital Media and Infocomm Techology (SP) → more

Orchard Road, Clark Quay and other locations → more info

More info at

Artwork can be viewed on Yahoo! News Singapore here

Land of Illusion project will be presented at EVA2010, London in July 2010. The keynote speakers at EVA 2010 include, Seb Chan, Peter Cochrane, David Giaretta, Oliver Grau, and Alan Read.

Land of Illusion will be demonstrated on July 7th, 2010. Followings are our presentation contents and project outline:

Lily & Honglei at EVA 2010

'Land of Illusion' presentation flyer 1 @ EVA 2010

"Land of Illusion" Flyer 2 at EVA2010_Lily & Honglei

"Land of Illusion" Flyer 2 at EVA2010

Land of Illusion is a virtual world art project accomplished through cross-continental artists’ collaborations in cyberspace. It is intended to make social and cultural commentaries particularly through reinterpreting Chinese folkloric traditions. The work reflects on globalization’s impact on both the environment and the individual, and unveils layered personal and cultural identity markers. Focusing on the spiritually homeless struggling to preserve traditional values, it explores foreignness and displacement. Furthermore, Land of Illusion proposes solutions for preserving and  re-evaluating cultural heritage with digital art.

– Lily & Honglei

The project video documentation now is available for viewing on DVD:


DVD presented at EVA2010

About EVA London –

  • has a focus on visualisation for the arts and culture – interpreted broadly to include its impications, effects, and consequent strategies and policies
  • covers the burgeoning creative uses of digital media for works of art and creative productions
  • is a forum for European projects to disseminate the results of EC investment in technology for culture and the arts, and to publicise and explain funding opportunities
  • is a networking event for other groups and projects
  • includes a free-of-charge Research Workshop for MA, MSc and PhD students, and others, to share their research in a friendly and informal setting
  • Organisation and management: EVA London is a conference of the Computer Arts Society, a specialist group of the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).

"Portrait of America" - Lily & Honglei, finalist of Terna Prize 02

Report from Terna 02:

Rome, 16 October 2009 – 85 finalist artworks for the Terna Prize 02, among the over 3,500 participants. A creative multitude that represents the leading edge of imagination on the theme of environment and future. Together with the 45 masters of the Terawatt category who participated in this second edition, 30 artworks were also selected among those made by the under 35 artists (Gigawatt), 30 among the over 35 (Megawatt) and 25 among those who participated in the new Connectivity Category, devoted to artists who work in New York City on a regular basis.

The finalist artworks will be published in the bilingual catalogue of the Terna Prize 02 and will be evaluated by the Jury that will select three winners for the Megawatt, Gigawatt and Connectivity categories, in addition to one winner for the Terawatt category. The Gallery Committee will also express two preferences among the selected artworks.

Many photographs are included among the artworks, as well as paintings, light boxes, video stills and artworks based on new painting techniques.
From a geographical point of view, Lazio is at the top of the regions with the highest number of selected artists, with 15 finalists out of 60, which is equal to 23% of the total, followed by Lombardy with 9 and Tuscany with 7. Good results also for Emilia Romagna and Campania, each with 4 finalists. Sardinia, Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia, Piedmont, Trentino and Umbria were also represented.

Among the finalists, 55 artists took part in the Prize for the first time, while 30 had already participated also in the 2008 edition.
“The artists who made it to the finals represent the faithful mirror of the artistic scenario, of the daily routine of galleries and museums. The average quality profile of the finalists is based on their great ability with regard to the technical, formal and conceptual organization of the work. It is noteworthy that all participants have stuck to the topic, thus showing their understanding of the meaning of the Prize”, agreed art gallery curators Gianluca Marziani and Cristiana Collu.
On 22 October, the Jury, headed by Flavio Cattaneo and Luigi Roth, CEO and Chairman of Terna, and composed of curators Gianluca Marziani and Cristiana Collu, as well as Massimiliano Fuksas, Matthew Higgs, Luigi Ontani, Giuseppe Piccioni, Marco Senaldi, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Vicente Todolì, will meet and announce the winners.

The Art Gallery Directors Committee will also evaluate the finalists and select two artworks in the Megawatt and Gigawatt categories. The Committee is composed of Francesco Cascino, Paolo Curti, Curti e Gambuzzi Gallery (Milan), Alberto Peola, Alberto Peola Gallery (Turin), Hélène De Franchis, Studio La Città Gallery (Verona), Laura Trisorio, Trisorio Gallery (Naples), Marina Covi Celli, Oredaria Gallery (Rome).

Until 6:00 pm on 20 October, the public will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite artist among the 3,500 participants, by sending an email to and to be involved in the awarding of the Terna Prize 02. With the over 80 thousand votes that have been received thus far, the net remains one of the leading protagonists of the Terna Prize 02.


Significant is the participation of the following artists in the Terawatt category: 45 contemporary art masters, Claudio Abate, Roberto Baldazzini, Gianfranco Baruchello, Matteo Basilé, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Antonio Biasucci, Andrea Branzi, Brigataes, Giacomo Costa, Mario Cresci, Michele De Lucchi, Alberto Di Fabio, Chiara Dynys, Pablo Echaurren, Flavio Favelli, Marco Ferreri, Giosetta Fioroni, Franco Fontana, Stefania Galegati Shines, Daniele Galliano, Alberto Garutti, Paolo Gioli, Giulio Iacchetti, Armin Linke, Renato Mambor, Gino Marotta, Masbedo, Luciana Matalon, Davide Nido, Fabio Novembre, Adrian Paci, Luca Pancrazzi, Luca Maria Patella, Dino Pedriali, Gaetano Pesce, Pino Pinelli, Cristiano Pintaldi, Alfredo Pirri, Paola Pivi, Andrea Sala, Studio Azzurro, Adrian Tranquilli, Paolo Ulian, Cesare Viel, G. Massimo Vitali.

Megawatt Category, over 35: Andrea Aquilanti, Elena Arzuffi, Emanuele Becheri, Giuseppe Bernabei, Davide Bertocchi, Sergio Bonino, Antonello Bulgini, Stefano Cagol, Giusy Calia, David Casini, Stefano Cerio, Alessandro Cidda, Enrico Corte, Arnold Mario Dall’O, Giancarlo Dell’Antonia, Ciriaca+Erre, Mauro Folci, Anna Fusco, Marina Gasparini, Lucia Lamberti, Lorenza Lucchi Basili, Raffaela Mariniello, Paolo Meoni, Matteo Montani, Marco Neri, Gianni Nieddu, Simone Racheli, Edoardo Romagnoli, Andrea Silicati, Marcella Vanzo.

Gigawatt Category, under 35: Sara Renzetti and Antonello Serra, Simone Bergantini, Gabriele Bonato, Stefano Canto, Fabrizio Carotti, Raffaella Crispino, Gilberto De Berardis, Roberto De Paolis, Valentina Dé Mathà, Sabine Delafon, Giulio Delvè, Sandro Di Camillo, Tamara Ferioli, Oliviero Fermariello, Michele Giangrande, J&PEG (Antonio Managò e Simone Zecubi), Marco Lampis, Matteo Tommaso Petri and Luciano Paselli, Marianna Masciolini, Piero Mezzabotta, Andrea Nacciarriti, Barbara Nati, Cristiana Palandri, Massimiliano Pelletti, Manuel Perna, Gianni Politi, Matteo Sanna, Laura Santamaria, Alia Scalvini, Alessandro Scarabello.

Connectivity Category New York: Jonas Bal Äianas, Davide Balliano, Andrea Bianconi, Amanda Church, Jonathan Feldschuh, Pamela Giaroli, Maeen Hasan, Javier Infantes, Shuyuan Kao, Derek Larson , Lily & Honglei Li, Caitlin Masley, Dato Mio, Matteo Norzi, Patrizia Novello, Luca Pizzaroni, Naomi Reis, Giada Ripa, Francesco Simeti,Todd Stone, Josh Tonsfeldt, Shen Wei, Priska Wenger, Suhee Wooh, Ted Zourntos.


Report on Boston Cyberart Festival 2009 News Release

Tenth anniversary Festival features
increased focus on art in cyberspace

Boston, MA – Exhibitions and performances by artists who use computer technology as an integral part of their work are once again on display at the sixth Boston Cyberarts Festival, taking place April 24-May 10, 2009. The Festival, a collaboration of visual and performing artists, cultural organizations, educators, and high-technology professionals, takes place at museums, galleries, theatres, schools, and public spaces in and around the Boston area, and online at

The first Boston Cyberarts Festival took place ten years ago, in 1999, and since that time the biennial event has become an eagerly-anticipated part of the Boston-area arts and technology scene. George Fifield, Director of Boston Cyberarts, noted: “The Boston area has been a center of art and technology for decades, since the pioneering work done by institutions like WGBH, Polaroid, and the MIT Media Lab. We’re proud that for the past decade we have been able to shine a spotlight on both the rich history of art and technology, and on the visions for the future.”

One of the key features of this year’s Festival is an increased emphasis on art in cyberspace. Among the events and exhibitions that can be enjoyed on the web are:

* Loops: A Dance & Technology Project: Artists will be repurposing and reinterpreting Merce Cunningham’s “Loops,” using open-source software created from the motion-capture of the Cunningham work. The results will be available to view online, in exhibition at the MIT Museum, and in a live performance.

* HyperArtSpace Gallery: Boston Cyberarts’ own online gallery will be the site of a series of curated exhibitions of web-based artwork.

* Second Life: Boston Cyberarts is planning an array of projects in the virtual environment of Second Life. At least one of these exhibitions, organized by Lily & Honglei, will also be on view in the gallery at U. Mass Dartmouth.

A rich array of events and exhibitions in many art forms are also on tap for the 2009 Festival.

[read more…]

Lunar New Year in “Land of Illusion”

Location: Monument ’08 in “Land of Illusion” SLURL
Exhibition Dates: Jan.25 (Chinese New Year Eve) – Feb.26, 2009 (end of first month on Lunar Calender)
[Event/exhibition video documentation will be presented in”Art Beijing” Contemporary Art Fair 2009, April 26th to 30th, 2009 in the Agricultural Exhibition Centre, Beijing]
Opening: 8PM EST or 5PM SLT Jan.30, 2009, reception with live dance performance Winter Blossom by Story House group.

Monument ’08: Lily & Honglei, the new media artist team from Beijing, invites you to experience a unique installation exhibition in Second Life – “Monument ’08,” during the first month of Chinese Ox year.

"Crystal Palace" installation

"Crystal Palace" installation

Monument ’08 is designed as a visual meditation upon the past and the new year.
Using link provided, audience will find themselves immediately standing inside a giant ancient China’s chariot on the Great Fire Wall, and facing an endless long ladder leading to the heaven. Here, the symbolism is obvious: a Confucius’ chariot implies striving in society and hoping to change the world with their idealistic principles, and persistently follow the footprint of Confucius who “knows the impracticable nature of the time, and yet will be doing them.” The ladder in folk culture usually symbolizes high social status. Audiences are suggested to start from the chariot to “climb up – but be careful! ” one may fall from the clouds down to the ground any second!


Monument '08

But not too bad – audience might land down around an underwater “Crystal Palace,” another part of this virtual installation consisting of relics of a heritage site mimicing the Three Georges Dams area, with scattered paintings and digitized Chinese cutting paper, that allow visitors to take copies with them as a “souvenir.” Or, they might land on the other site in “Land of Illusion,” a Chinese court yard and garden indicating the correlative cosmology, and inviting you to access your inner garden.

Painting Installation at Crystal Palace

Painting Installation at Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace - Painting Installation

Crystal Palace - Painting Installation

White Painting in West Chambers

White Painting in West Chambers

Monument 08 in "Land of Illusion" - January 2009

Monument '08 in "Land of Illusion" - January 2009 (early stage)