SHADOW PLAY: Tales of Urbanization in China has finally reached completion. The project commenced in 2014 with the objective of digitally visualizing the artists’ investigation into a complex socio – economic reality – the process of urbanization in China. The product, which is a culmination of several years of experimentation, integrates thoroughly-researched narrative storytelling with the sensory capabilities of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. Over the trajectory of its development, the project has grown into a multiplatform project interweaving VR, AR, painting, and Chinese folk art forms. The artists created numerous visual compositions with traditional Chinese shadow puppetry motifs and transplanted them into a 3D virtual world platform, where the main narrative – the tragic tale of the village chief’s family – unfolds. Lily Honglei subsequently produced a series of large-scale paintings that they dub postdigital fine art based on imagery in the virtual world.

Shadow Play will be presented at Renaissance 2020, a new media art exhibition held in Museum Of San Salvatore In Lauro, Rome, Italy, which also serves as the project premier supported by Creative Capital foundation in New York. Given the potential restrictions on public event during the pandemic and the digital nature of the work, the premier will be simultaneously launched on the Internet. A comprehensive preview of Shadow Play can be found on the project website:

Contact Breezy Art Gallery, Italy about the artworks:

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Lily & Honglei @lily_honglei, “Shadow Play” VR Installation Part III. The City: Into the Void Part III. The courageous mother commences her journey searching for her young son in the city. She witnesses the urban landscape and its inhabitants are being transformed in astounding scale and speed by an unknown force, either being productive or destructive. She laments everyday people's struggles and tribulations: parents abandoned their own babies outside children’s hospitals as they cannot afford medical treatments; migrant workers, blue or white collars, tread their shaky path of life like walking a tightrope; without a safety net, some of them are falling into destitution. ~ ~ To be shown in Rome, Oct 20th. Prints + AR available for sale. • • Shadow Play project receives support from New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, and New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. It is a recipient of Creative Capital Awards in Visual Arts, US.

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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.

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


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

For more info, visit



Lily & Honglei Art Studio is very pleased to announce their participation of Jamaica Flux 2016 with current project Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization. Given the limited funding, space and time (Opening on April 16, 2016), the collaborative is planning to present part of the multimedia project, specifically, an indoor video installation, and a mobile phone augmented reality installation along Jamaica Avenue in Queens, NY during the art festival. More details will be released soon.

multimedia art, multidisciplinary art

Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization (Video Installation view). Lily & Honglei Art Studio

JamaicaFlux Artist Announcement Press Release

For Immediate Release Contact: Cathy Hung, Executive Director. Phone: 718-658-7400 x 124 E-mail:

Announcing the Artists invited to Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016

July 17, 2015, Jamaica, Queens — Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) is extremely pleased to announce the artists who are commissioned to create new work for Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016 scheduled to open for six weeks from April 16 through May 28, 2016 in Downtown Jamaica, Queens, NY.

The artists are: Hannes Bend, Adam Brent, Aurora De Armendi, Ayana Evans, Nicholas Fraser, Samantha Holmes, Anna Lise Jensen, Sue Jeong Ka, Kakyoung Lee, Rejin Leys, Shervone Neckles, Jeffrey Allen Price, Dominique Sindayiganza, Stan Squirewell, Thiago Szmrecsanyi, Ed Woodham, and three artist collectives; Ellie Irons and Dan Phiffer, John H. Locke and Joaquin Reyes, and Lily & Honglei.

Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016 is a large-scale exhibition of research-driven, site-specific art, installed in everyday areas along Jamaica Avenue. The project reconnects JCAL with the community it is located in. It also provides artists with resources to produce their experimental art in public realms, actively engaging with community members to combat the negative public perceptions of Southeast Queens through art, discussion, and meaningful community involvement. It also increases the public’s access to contemporary art and makes it an important and integral part of daily life in our neighborhood.

Over the next few months, the invited commissioned artists will visit the community multiple times to explore the community’s specific qualities. They will then create a work of public art or performances based on their research outcomes. The thematic areas of interests that the artists intend to explore include the urban conditions of Jamaica, Queens; public interaction and engagement; community empowerment; environmental concerns and wellness.

JCAL thanks the members of the selection panel: Rhonda Binda, Kalia Brooks, Heng-Gil Han, Cathy Hung, Andrew M. Manshel, Greg Mays, Simone Price, Juan Carlos Salinas, and Emily Schwartz.

Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016 is generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Greater Jamaica Development Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) receives ongoing operating support from the Mayor’s Office, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Programmatic support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Queens Delegation of the New York City Council, and Councilman I. Daneek Miller. Foundation support from Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Corporate support from the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, and many individuals and volunteers.

JamaicaFlux Artist Announcement Press Release

Shadow Play by Lily & Honglei Art Studio (Xiying Yang, He Li and Honglei Li) is exhibited at SOMArts center in San Fransisco, CA:

Lily & Honglei, somart, media artist from China

Exhibition poster

APICC presents ONE IN WHICH WE ARE, May 1–27

Lily & Honglei, media artists from China, Chinese media artist, media art, Asian art

Screenshot of multimedia project ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization’ by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

As part of the 18th Annual United States of Asian America Festival: Sparking Light, and with the support of the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, ONE IN WHICH WE ARE is a visual arts exhibition which explores the complex interdependencies between structures, processes, events, and the collective individual. Conceived as a relational map of reflections and experiences, this group exhibition brings forth inquiries surrounding individual positionalities and collective responsibilities. Through video works, painting, sculpture, photography and performance, these artists from the Bay Area and beyond explore personal and social wounds as collective attachments from where we may interpret and embrace our daily lives.


The opening event on Friday, May 1, 7–10pm opens with a special performance by NAKA Dance Theater, The Anastasio Project. Click here to read about this performance.

Exhibiting Artists: Zach Blas, Cristina Battle, Craig Campbell, Sarah Farahat, Tanja Geis, Kristina Lee Podesva, Lily & Honglei, Sanaz Mazinani, Omar Mismar, NAKA Dance Theater, Andrew Norman Wilson, Gala Porras KIm, Lordy Rodriguez, and Shelly Silver

Curators: David de Rozas and Alex Wang


Images courtesy of: Lily & Hongleil; Kristina Lee Podesva; Tanja Geis


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Queens Council on the Arts distributes annual grants to borough artists and groups


TIMESLEDGER, FEB. 20–26, 2015

Late last month, despite dire snow predictions, the Queens Council on the Arts sallied forth with its annual celebratory evening and honored 48 organizations and 40 individuals awarded one of its Queens Art Funds grants. Artists will present their works across the borough this year in the areas of visual and literary arts, films, theater, multimedia, dance and music. Grants were also presented to 11 individuals who work with senior centers in the Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide program.

In all, the QCA handed out more than $190,000 to Queens-based artists. “The Queens Arts Fund is a competitive application process that is reviewed by a panel of peers that make recommendations for funding. We have been honored to facilitate this process for Queens County since the late 1970s,” QCA Grants and Resource Director Lynn Lobell said. “All the arts and cultural programming projects will take place in many different local venues, and it’s up to each organization and artist to determine where they will present to the general Queens public.”

… …

Another grant was presented to Lily Yang, Honglei Li and He Li, who work collectively as Lily & Honglei, to help fund their creation of an app that incorporates animation and technology. The Queens-based artists’ work reflects on how, and to what extent, the landscape and culture may be altered by an urbanization process that will relocate 260 million people from China’s countryside by 2020. The emerging media will help the project reach out to a broader community and increase audience engagement. Lily & Honglei Studio has presented its work at numerous national and international venues, including the Queens Museum of Art. The collective stated that QCA provided them with financial support to cover costs for technologies, materials for project production and exhibition, as well as artist fees that allow them to dedicate their time to significant work. The team’s final presentation will combine animated film, inspired by Chinese folk art shadow play, along with a virtual reality installation, as well as an installation allowing the audience to experience the artwork with a mobile phone within and beyond the gallery. This multimedia project will be launched at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning during Jamaica Flux ’15 this fall.

… …

Read the full article at

Lily & Honglei Art Studio is awarded with 2015 Queens Arts Fund for their ongoing project ‘Tales of Urbanization.’ Three active members, Xiying Yang, Honglei Li and He Li will develop a multimedia presentation later this year with the grant from NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Greater NY Arts Development Fund (DCA). 

Lily & Honglei, new media art, urbanization of China

‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization,’ Lily & Honglei Art Studio

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Greater New York Arts Development Fund for Individual Artists  

  • Catherine Lan: “In the Mist of Lights and Shades” – A series of new textile artworks using faux-fur and scissors to cut out negative spaces that become soft relief paintings
  • Claudia Prado: “First Memories” – A poetry writing and video making process that will conclude in a collective performance around a central theme: the first childhood memory of people of varying ages and backgrounds
  • Cindy Salgado: “Sorry” – A multimedia dance theater piece about two individuals who find themselves on a journey of communion, conflict, and reconciliation, told through the language of movement, poetry and multimedia
  • David J. Wilson: “Standing Waves On A String” – A sculptural installation using collected and refused Steinway pianos that were originally designed and built in Astoria, Queens at the Steinway Piano Factory
  • Dennis Lichtman: “The Jazz Borough” – Ten pieces of new music inspired by jazz luminaries from 1920’s Queens, performed by an all-Queens band
  • Diana Pettersen: An original dance series engaging residents with the arts and community gardens in Queens
  • E.W.S. LinThe Waking Life of Sela Mar (working title) – A young adult novel about a Chinese American high school student and her misadventures, and workshops to raise children’s awareness of the lack of diversity in books and how to ask for it
  • Guowei Wang: “Passages” – Erhu musician and composer Wang Guowei premieres new work for chamber ensemble of Chinese and Western instruments
  • Ian Antonio: “Five Sonic Postcards” explores Queens through audio explorations that combine field recordings and composed music using sounds and materials found on-location throughout the borough
  • Izumi Ashizawa: “Mysterious Lake” – A magical-realist play tackling issues of environmental sustainability and the cultural conflict of the East and the West
  • J. Julian ChristopherOso Fabuloso & The Bear Backs – A musical about a gay Latino “bear” singing the blues to shake off his recent breakup
  • Jared Harel: A poetry collection which explores the thrills and challenges of domesticity and raising a child, culminating in a reading event entitled “Poets & Parents”
  • John Trevellini: Hack-a-Puppet is a full-immersion puppet building event re-purposing found objects into up-cycled works of art, culminating in a staged puppet performance
  • Judith Sloan: “Cross Cultural Stories in Sound” is a project of sound and audio pieces incorporating storytelling, music, and sampling to create a body of stories that will be both an installation and aired on radio and on the web
  • Jules Suo: “Dosi” (screenplay) – The project will consist of five readings, editing of the screenplay and a final live performance
  • Kento Iwasaki: “Beloved Prey” is a new portable opera based on a true story about a lioness who adopts an antelope, performed with western instruments and the Japanese koto
  • Kerri Edge: “4 Little Girls: The Cinedance” is a short film where choreography is the primary element in the depiction of the tragic story of the 16th Street Church bombing
  • Lawrence F. Mesich: “Distributed Risk” is a sculpture that transforms the facade of One Court Square into an ever-growing, unending building displayed across four concurrent video monitors and supported by a steel lattice structure
  • Lea Bertucci: “Auditorium” – is an extended evening of site-specific electronic and electro-acoustic performances organized by artists/curators Lea Bertucci and Tristan Shepherd who will also be presenting new work
  • Leah Montalto: “The Arc of Triumph” – A series of new paintings
  • Magali Duzant: “Live Streaming Sunset” – Tracks the progression of the sun setting across the globe in all time zones, chronologically, projected to a public space in real-time
  • Marcy Chevali: A new sculpture project consisting of seven net-like sculptures from glass and white mohair yarn
  • Martine Bellen: MOON IN THE MIRROR is a monodrama opera and a modernized rendition of the legend of Chang E, the Chinese demigoddess who fled her marriage to escape to the moon
  • Mayen Alcantara: Drawings generated on walks with Queens’ residents through various neighborhoods are translated into abstracted “sheet music” along with sound compositions played through converted music boxes
  • Meera Nair: “11372: Stories” – A collection of short stories set in the uniquely American immigrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights
  • Mollie Hosmer-Dillard: “Painting Poems” – A series of ten oil paintings in response to ten poems, culminating in a three-week exhibition at the Ridgewood Public Library and an event with school groups
  • Okechukwu Okoye Ofiaeli: “Queens Vegetation: Waste to Wealth” – A green art sculpture project using dead Sycamore Tree branches to promote sustainable art practices and the beautification of Queens
  • R.G. Vasicek: “Zig” – A novella about Zig, a nomad who sleeps in a motorbug under the Hell Gate bridge in Astoria, Queens
  • Richard Jeffrey NewmanWords for What Those Men Have Done – a book of poems exploring the writer’s experience as a survivor of child sexual abuse and how it has shaped the artist’s life, personally and politically
  • Roxanne Jackson: Feral Flora – an elaborate installation of mixed media sculptures interacting with indigenous plantsRoxanne Jackson, Interstella
  • Savannah L. WinchesterListening Station is a stop motion animated narrative short that explores the visceral qualities of sound using documentary field recordings and experimental sound design
  • Shervone Neckles: “The Give-and-Take Tree” series is a personal ethnographic study on the implications of language and image to negotiate the social meaning of identity and cultural authenticity
  • Su-Yee Lin: White Snake, Green Snake is a collection of magical realist short stories inspired by Chinese folktales with an emphasis on place and identity
  • Victor Ilyukhin: Two and Twenty Troubles – A documentary following a group of disabled actors of Nicu’s Spoon Theater
  • Lily & Honglei / 4GentlemenShadow Play: Tales of Urbanization – A multimedia installation utilizing animation and emerging technology, inspired by traditional Shadow Play
  • Zahida PiraniSophie’s Story (working title) – A documentary short about a Bangladeshi-American baby born in Queens who becomes a child actor for an industry that has historically cast South Asians in stereotypical roles

Find the whole list of organizations and individuals grantees here:

"Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China" is a 2014 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., 
 for its website. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation.

Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China
by Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei, new media art, He Li, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Turblence commission

Screenshot of Shadow Play VR installation. Lily & Honglei © 2014

Lily & Honglei, new media art of China, He Li, Rose Goldsen Archieve of New Media Art, commission

Screenshot of Shadow Play VR installation. Lily & Honglei © 2014

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 ( 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.

Lily & Honglei,, new media art China, Rose Goldsen Archive of new media art, China urbanization

Shadow Play, Chapter I. The Land: Death of the Village Head (AR Screenshot)

Lily & Honglei, new media art, commission of net-art, China urbanization

Shadow Play, Chapter III. The Ruins: Lost Children

Lily & Honglei, He Li, new media art China, Rose Goldsen Archive of new media art

Shadow Play, Chapter IV. The Maze: No Exit (AR Screenshot)

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.