Friday, February 3, 2012

Second-hand Material Original Works: Hong Kong Experimental Shorts 2

Date: 15 January 2012
Time: 230 pm
Duration: 90 mins ( follow by artists talk)
Venue: Unit 18, 4/F, Block B, Wah Luen Industrial Centre, 15-21 Wong Chuk Yeung Street, Fotan, N. T., Hong Kong.
Curator: Phoebe Chingying Man (Artist, Assistant Professor of School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong)

Second-hand Material Original Works: Hong Kong Experimental Shorts 2 (written by Phoebe Man)
Because of the fast development of online communications technology, the Hong Kong government has recently been reviewing the Copyright Ordinance, mainly to curb internet piracy. Member of Legislative Council, Chan Kam Lam questioned if the artists have the ability to make new works, why they appropriated other people’s work. Peter Cheung, Director of Intellectual Property Department, made it clear that “Kuso” style works are infringement of the copyright law (isdgovhk). The government’s guest lawyer, who is supposed to be familiar with intellectual property rights, said using other people’s works as art material is comparable to stealing. All of a sudden, artists who use found footage or images in their works are liable to criminal charges for suspected theft. The proposed stipulation makes a criminal offence any distribution of (creative) work that resembles an existing work, whether commercial or not, “to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner(s)” (Intellectual Property Department of Commerce and Economic Development Bureau). No wonder some critics of the proposal have dubbed it the “Article 23 for the Internet”. The government is using it to combat “Kuso” style political criticism. There is no exemption for art. It might further infringing on Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and creation. This situation worries many artists. Since there is a lot of misunderstanding of art works that used found images and footage, we will hold a screening that shows this kind of works and have forum after the screening. Wish the discussion can be deepened.

Using found footage and images to make art is a common practice with more than a hundred years’ history. In 1919, Duchamp added two moustaches to the face of a copy of a painting of Mona Lisa by which he tried to challenge the sacred status of the master piece. Andy Warhol's copies of images of Campbell soup and Marilyn Monroe brought popular culture into the arena of the art. However, those inspiring master pieces may now be violated of copyright laws in Hong Kong!

In the evening of September 22, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau hosted a meeting to explain the new amendments of the Copyright Ordinance. The guest lawyer invited by the Government cited two anecdotes to explain how “Kuso” style work violated the law. He said, it is like someone visiting a restaurant. The man gives his car to a valet who has his car parked. The valet takes the car and rides around. The second anecdote concerns a hostess who tells her domestic helper to clean a ring. The domestic helper puts on the ring to show off. These anecdotes immediately aroused a lot of objection on the spot. One of the participants of the meeting objected to the lawyer’s comparing artists to thieves. Another participant complained that the analogies were totally inappropriate as in those two hypothetical situations, no new works were produced. I agree with him. In case of using found footage as art material, the original work will not disappear.

These analogies illustrate how some people misunderstand art. In many cases of artists using found footage, the point is to call the audience’s attention to the original context of the discourse. It is like citation. Artists used ready-made objects such as symbols, signs, posters, video clips and so on, as a metaphor or as a way to redefine the meaning of the original object. Citation is widely acceptable and is an honorable practice in writing. Why do we then make citation a crime in other expressive media? Why can’t we accept pictorial critiques or the use of visual metaphors? In Peter Cheung’s view, we need to ask for the creator’s permission when we use found footage or image (isdgovhk). According to the same logic, when we use a quote, we need to ask for the author’s permission. Furthermore, we can only use it if s/he like our articles. Otherwise, we might “affect prejudicially the copyright owner(s)”. If this is the case, how can anyone even write or publish anymore? According to many regular practices around the world, as long as the artists comply with the principles of fair use, and the works are not for commercial purposes, their works should not be regarded as infringement of copyright.

In the meeting of September 22, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development, Christopher Wong said Hong Kong should follow the world standard, since UK and Australia have similar law. However, the participants of the meeting said there was a proposed amendment of UK’s copyright law in August. Derivative or transformative works can be exempted. Why does Hong Kong have to backtrack? Why does the law of the UK and Australia equal to world standard? In many countries such as Belgium, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, there is legislation in place to expressly permit caricature, parody or pastiche. Nordic countries allow artistic transformation: that is, the production of a new work based on an existing work does not require the consent of the right holder. Austria, Germany and Portugal have adopted the principle of fair use. They generally agree that derivative or transformative works do not infringe intellectual property rights , but of course these transformations must have kept certain distance from the original (Westkamp 45). Moreover, works can only be used after they are being published. The rationale for many of these exemptions is based on fundamental constitutional rights e.g. freedom of speech and art. (Westkamp 254). Caricature, parody and pastiches can be regarded as independent works. In Sweden, a radio program used the characters of a children book. In 2005, the Swedish Supreme Court agreed that it was a parody and was considered as an independent work rather than an infringement. The case was dropped. (Westkamp 434).

To provide more information for the discussion of this issue, the program “Second-hand Material Original Works 2” will show nine experimental short videos which involve the use of copies of images or found footage. The style of these works vary, some of them are serious research and discussion of culture, not restricted to “Kuso” style art pieces.

TONG Wing Sze’s < City Memory. Memorize Hong Kong > makes the images in the one hundred Hong Kong Dollar bank note alive. New buildings were erected one by one but old objects were shown to have fallen down. The fireworks inside the bank note burnt the note itself. It seems to criticize the over-developed and money ruled society.

Linda LAI’s work expresses her resistance against cliché statements made about Hong Kong while reaching out to its past via found images and sounds . Her work, “VOICES SEEN, IMAGES HEARD” is a dialectical representation of her research process as a historian. With the images and sounds she found, she attempts a narrative of Hong Kong that is different from the (stereo-) typical Hong Kong story. She reveals clichés, and undoes familiar discourses, in order that she can go back to the fragments of the everyday ground level, suggesting that asking the question 'what is Hong Kong' is more important than providing stock answers. This approach is humane and inspiring. With the found materials she collected from different sources, she pieced together a story of the surfaces of Hong Kong that can only be viewed from outside.

IP Yuk Yiu’s work “The Moon is Larger in Peking – short version” also makes use of a well-known Hollywood film whose story that has supposedly happened in Hong Kong. He used a deconstructive method to eliminate some important elements of the film “LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING”, such as moving images, acting and sound etc. Instead, he used subtitles, flashing of still images and movie clips to compose the film. The style of the film has totally been changed. It also inspires others to think of the form of a film.

Hector RODRIGUEZ’s work “Flowpoints: Kiss,” which also transforms an American classic, used motion tracking software to trace the movement of human beings. The computer codes he wrote generates abstract lines from the footage of Andy Warhol’s film “Kiss.”. The work shows the tension between abstraction and figuration, between movement/rhythm and objecthood. The work tries to grasp the rhythm of the bodies. Although the lines look simple, one can still feel the emotive force of human beings.

Howard Cheng’s work “Reconstruction-Creation” deconstructed found footage to show the in-between reality and imagery. The work is to re-call sub-conscious images from a nonfigurative visual language.

Ellen PAU also used the method of subtraction for her “Fanfare for the Common Man” She chose the daily behaviors of human beings in the animated news, put them together and added the background music of Olympic Games. The work seems to question the dramatic news reporting and to cast doubt on the news’ authenticity. Although the news clips came from different news stories, they are consistent and seem to be telling the same story. Her work grasps the pulse of the times.

CHOI Sai Ho used a different method to treat the news. His work “Star” is like a collage of news, banners and sound of demonstration of the “protecting the historic sites - Star Ferry Pier and Queen’s Pier” event. The rhythm is so intense and the work shows the violence of the news event.

The TV news in LAW Yuk Mui’s “Disabled Novel” shows another image where the news items are just like parts of normal life, quiet, monotonous and melancholy.

Law Man Lok’s video combined YouTube video news together. Although the news does not say the name of the event, people who experienced the event before know what it is about. The video made people think of news censorship.

Works using found footage have rich artistic expressions. It can be historical research, political criticism, life experience, artistic reflection and media exploration, etc. There are many other possibilities that this program cannot include. They are independent and original works. They are very different from the original works. If the Hong Kong Government does not exempt these art works from copyright laws, it will be restricting artistic expressions and may lead to self-censorship. This will stifle the development of art and go against the Government policy of promoting creative industries in Hong Kong.

Intellectual Property Department of Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Hong Kong’s Amended Copyright Law: Guidance Note on Prevention of End-User Piracy in Business, Revised Edition 2010. Web 9, September, 2011. P. 2. <>

isdgovhk , “Unlimited Network Creates Original Miracle," 18 June, 2011. Web 9, September, 2011. Http://

Westkamp Guido. The Implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC in the Member States. February, 2007. Web 9 September, 2011.

Special thanks: Videotage, ifva and Linda Lai

Introduction of Artists and Art works

Director: Linda C.H. LAI
Running Time: 27min 58sec
Year of Production: 2009

A short description of VOICES SEEN, IMAGES HEARD

A historian, also an interdisciplinary artist, engages in a self-dialogue of how to write the history of her city, Hong Kong. Drilling the disparate mines of sights and sounds, she re-examines the power and limitation of ocular epistemology, which favors visual perception as the dominant form of knowing. As she ploughs her way through the scanty and homogenous visual documents available, she re-imagines a city that has a precarious history of struggling to hold onto its look or preserve its architectural integrity at the mercy of real estate development. In response, she re-constructs a visual essay that is also a collage of lost surfaces and shadowy fragments of past existence. Her meditation leaves open the potential meanings of each of the sight-and-sound fragments that seem to have spoken to her as she asks how feasible it is to access the past.

A director’s biography

Linda Lai is a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies (NYU), currently Associate Professor in intermedia arts at the City University's School of Creative Media, and Major Leader of the Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media. She is a Hongkong-based inter-disciplinary artists and curator, and founder of the new media art group The Writing Machine Collective (2004- ). Her works have a strong concern for language and narrativity, grounded in a feminist sensibility that integrates critical theory, film theories and visual ethnography. Her video and digital installation works have been exhibited in Oberhausen, Berlin, Vienna, London, Birmingham, Barcelona, Paris, Hamburg, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Seoul and Hong Kong.

Director: IP Yuk-Yiu
Title: THE MOON IS LARGER IN PEKING short version
Running Time: 7 minutes
Year of Production: 2004

A short description of THE MOON IS LARGER IN PEKING short version
THE MOON IS LARGER IN PEKING is a literal remake of the Hollywood blockbuster LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING (1955), starring Jennifer Jones and William Holden. Stripping the image and sound away from the original film, the remake retains only the film dialogue in the form of subtitles, rendering the original romantic tale into a hollow and ghostly experience. The film dialogue, taken out-of-context and dissociated from the original images, becomes an allegorical conversation about displacement, alienation and cultural representations.

A director’s biography
Ip Yuk-Yiu is a filmmaker, media artist, art educator and independent curator. His works, ranging from experimental videos to live film performances and media installations, have been showcased extensively at international festivals including Ann Arbor Film Festival (USA), European Media Art Festival (Germany), New York Film Festival (USA), the Image Festival (Canada), VideoBrasil (Brazil) Transmediale (Germany) and Yamagato International Documentary Film Festival (Japan). He has lectured extensively on film, video and media art and has taught at Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Currently he is an Associate Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. His recent works explore emergent and computational forms of cinema.

Director: Hector Rodriguez
Title: Flowpoints: Kiss
Running Time: 8 minutes 35 sec
Year of Production: 2011

A short description of Flowpoints: Kiss
Flowpoints: Kiss is a work of experimental video animation that deconstructs Andy Warhol’s movie Kiss using a motion tracking software designed by the artist. The software generates abstract line renderings based on a computational analysis of the micro-movements of the original film. The abstract images represent movements rather than human figures, recalling philosopher Henri Bergson’s remark that “matter is dissolved into action” and “there are no things that move, but only changes in the rhythms of motion”. The sound synthesis technique is a variant of the same algorithm that generates the images.

A director’s biography
Hector Rodriguez is a media artist and theorist based in Hong Kong. His digital animation Res Extensa won an award in the Hong Kong Art Biennial. His game system P3: CoPerspective was a finalist in the graphics meets games competition at the Eurographics Conference. His essays about game studies, cinema, and philosophy have been published in various journals, including Game Studies, Screen, Cinema Journal, and Postscript, among others.

Director: Ellen Pau
Title: Fanfare for the Common Man
Running Time: 4 min
Year of Production: 2010

A short description of Fanfare for the Common Man
Ellen PAU chose the daily behaviors of human beings in the animated news, put them together and added the background music of Olympic Games. The work seems to question the dramatic news reporting and to cast doubt on the news’ authenticity. Although the news clips came from different news stories, they are consistent and seem to be telling the same story.

A director’s biography
Ellen Pau began working with film and video in Hong Kong in the 1980s. Her earlier works describe and interrogate the cultural / sexual identity in post colonial Hong Kong. Her works are shown in pop music concerts, performances, conferences, and festivals such as European Media Art Festival, Japan Image Forum, Kwangju Biennial, Johannesburg Biennial, Cities on the move, Hong Kong international Film Festival, Asia Pacific Triennial, Venice Biennale etc. She was artist-in-residence in Holland's Mu Art Foundation, Spacex Gallery in the U.K, Griffith University in Australia and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She was selected to participate in Asia-Europe Art Exchange and was awarded fellowship for artistic development by Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Asian Cultural Council. Pau also established Videotage and has been the artistic director of Videotage since 1995. She curates multimedia programs for Microwave Festival, museums/galleries and festivals.

Director: Tong Wing Sze
Title: City Memory, Memorize Hong Kong
Running Time: 5 minutes
Year of Production: 2008

A short description of City Memory, Memorize Hong Kong

The animation is based on the idea of old Hong Kong bank notes and the development of this city. As a commercial city, Hong Kong is always showing the view of its thriving development. In this work, along with the city’s development, especially under the shoot off fireworks, the old bank note was catch fire and slowly went up in flames. I want to express some valuable things or culture, were losing simultaneously along with the city development.

A director’s biography
Have been immersing in the field of animation, I’m keen to exploit this creative media in the flow of my work. Media art has opened up a wider range of possibilities and experimental means for me to explore interesting and novel visual experiences. For instance my work ‘City Memory, memorize Hong Kong’, the application of digital media offers me another way to express my idea towards the society nowadays. Growing up in Hong Kong such a prosperous city, I am interested to know how the city and the citizen assess the value and I would like to uncover more local culture and also the current society phenomenon of this city in my projects.

Director: CHOI Sai Ho
Title: STAR_(alternative version)
Running Time: 8 mins
Year of Production: 2011

A short description of STAR (alternative version)
Star is illustrating the events of protecting the historic sites - Star Ferry Pier and Queen’s Pier. The result of the demolition of the piers gave a strong message and warning to public based on the lack of the Hong Kong heritage conservation policy and the concern of collective memory. It is also an inquiry of cultural amnesia beneath its fast-paced motion graphics with high rhythm sonic beats. The issues inspire the director to make artworks with his unique audio-visual interpretation illustrating the events by using his own images, frame-by-frame “pen strokes” paintings, video documenting the events, soundscape field recordings, newspaper cutting images, photo collage, etc.

A director’s biography
Choi Sai Ho is an electronic musician and audio-visual artist. Sai Ho has obtained a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong in 2008. He was selected as the first Hong Kong Chinese musician to join the Red Bull Music Academy 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. His works has been selected to Perform Media Festival 2006 (USA), VideoBrazil Festival 2007 (Brazil), Microwave International New Media Arts Festival (Hong Kong), Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial 2009, Experimentica 2010 (UK), T(h)ree Concert 2011 (Portugal), etc. Sai Ho was selected as the Hong Kong’s Top 20 Musicians by Hong Kong Time Out Magazine in 2008. In 2009, Sai Ho released as S.T. first audio-visual album Weird Mind. Its title track Weird Mind is selected to the Best of Hong Kong Indie 2009 Number One by Time Out Magazine. He made his first solo multimedia concert “Audio-visual live” in 2010.

English Dialogue (04min40sec – 05min31sec):Speech of Dr. Mirana May Szeto: “…5 months later, on the same day, the government is still ignoring the noises and opinions from the public, still decide to demolish the Queen’s Pier. We and all the Hong Kongers request – No Demolish, No Removal, No Farewell. To preserve Queen’s Pier, it is unnecessary to have 50 million or even above this cost according to the government. Instead, it needs determination. The government is planning to have new buildings, P2 highway, the new pier for military, etc. These are not agreed by Hong Kongers. What we need is not these things. What we need is the Hong Kongers’ piers, Hong Kongers’ harbour, city that belongs to Hong Kongers!

Director: Law Man Lok
Title: The Time of Memoriam
Running Time: 2 mins 11 sec
Year of Production: 2010

A short description of “The Time of Memoriam”
The Time of Memoriam is a tribute to the victims of the recent year's disasters in China. Its subtitle is "there are sounds that you could never hear".

A director’s biography

Law Man-lok is a conceptual artist. Law obtained the BA (Hon) from the Fine Arts Department of the Chinese university of Hong Kong and in 2007, he graduated from the MFA course in Goldsmiths College, University of London. He was the anchor of RTHK TV programme Cultural Magazine. His works emphasize on the synergy of imagination and criticality. Law used to begin with the matters around to make a piece, and recently he showed his concern on the dominant of commercialization in city development. His works were featured in Art responds to 14 QKs (2007, HK), Time After Time (2007, HK), Rag and Bone Fine Art Exhibition (2006, London, UK) and YCCA - Yong Chinese Contemporary Art (2005, HangART-7, Austria). In 2007, his work “Thus the Chinese spake” was shortlisted by London International Creative Competition ( ). Also in 2007, Law was an artist-in-residence at Lingnan University Visual Studies Programme of Department of Philosophy, he organized a series of talks and workshops named “Out of institution”.

Director: Cheng Chilai Howard
Title: Reconstruction-Creation
Running Time: 5 mins 11 sec
Year of Production: 2012

A short description of “Reconstruction-Creation”

Deconstructing re-created footage indicates the in-between of reality and imagery.
Re-calling sub-conscious images from a nonfigurative visual language.

A director’s biography
CHENG Chilai Howard graduated from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, His practice focuses on moving images and mixed media installations. His previous works relate to issues concerning society and humanity. His works were screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Loop Video Art Festival, subvision. Kunst. Festival. Off. And October Contemporary as well as at other festivals and exhibitions in Berlin, Madrid, London, Barcelona, Hamburg, Austria, Seoul, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Director: Law Yuk-mui
Title: Disabled Novel
Running Time: 17 mins 36 sec
Year of Production: 2010

A short description of Disabled Novel
Disabled Novel is based on the eponymous novel I wrote. This film has no dialogue and is divided into13 parts, 90% of which consists of internal soliloquy. Using the theme of “lost” as a starting point, the film lays bare the odd sense of melancholy that pervades life. Traversing reality, memory and fantasy, it reconstructs the psychological pathways of urban life with broken fragments.

A director’s biography
Law Yuk Mui, graduated from the Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Chinese University of Hong Kong. She focuses on experimental film script, video and conceptual art. In 2007, she is the youngest artist in the exhibition “Reversing Horizons– Artists Reflections of Hong Kong Handover 10th Anniversary” in MOCA, Shanghai, China. In 2005, she awards the 1ST runner-up of the Philippe Charriol Foundation 20th Anniversary Art Competition. In the same year, her work was selected for the entries of Hong Kong Art Biennial 2005. In 2006, she awards the “Alfred S.U. Ho Memorial Prize”, “Cheung’s Fine Art Award”, “CUHK Creativity Student Award” and “The dean’s List of 2005-2006 for outstanding Academic performance (Faculty of Arts)”.

Introduction of Curator
Phoebe is an independent curator, conceptual artist, media sculptor, art critic and the Assistant Professor at the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media.
Her works have been shown extensively in international exhibitions include Shanghai Biennial, Venice Biennale, Gwangju Biennale and European Media Art Festival. She received awards from the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Competition, Asian Cultural Council, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Philippe Charriol Foundation.
She has curated Hong Kong experimental videos programs for Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film and Video Festival (2011), Videotage in Hong Kong (2011), EX!T 2010: Experimental Media Festival in Taiwan and EXiS: Experimental Film/Video Festival in Seoul (2009). She has also curated exhibition “Making the Familiar Unfamiliar @ Hong Kong Park” in 2009, “Playground” for Kao Yuan University in Taiwan in 2006 and “Wo Man: Feminine Art Exhibition” for Old Ladies House in Macau in 2001. Her researches so far have focuses on Hong Kong media art, Hong Kong cultural policy, curatorial practice, installation art, web art, performance and feminist art.
Phoebe graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1991, received her MFA degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 and now she is the doctoral candidate of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University .

1 comment:

Ray said...

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