Thursday, June 28, 2007

Movies on the Mind

(photos provided by Kristina Jaspers of Filmmuseum Berlin)

Ever since the birth of cinema, there existed a continuous dialogue between "psychology" and "cinema" and pyschoanalysis has always offer a synificant platform for film critics to discuss about movies. Say for example: What fascinates the moviegoer about the fictive world of images on the screen? How do directors tell stories about repression or breaking taboos?

It is not as difficult to produce a book on related studies, but surely a courageous move in making it visually comprehensible via an exhibition space. I am therefore very excited by the exhibition “Movies on the Mind. Psychology and Film Since Sigmund Freud", conceptualized and realised by my curator friends in Filmmuseum Berlin.

(Poster graphic design by Jan Drehmel )

The exhibition offered its visitors the opportunity to literally put themselves on “the couch,” to experiment with their own perceptions, to catch on to the tricks of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, G. W. Pabst and Woody Allen, and to observe their works in another light. All of these are connected with the latest findings from film historical, psychological and neurological research.

The show, originated from Berlin, is now toured to the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Science, L.A and could be seen there till September this year. More details in:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Computer arts is a comparative new genre in arts history, and the earliest creators of such art works branched from a bunch of scientists linked with the scientific world. Important names include Georg Nees, Herbert Franke and Edward Zajec. Nees, together with Herbert Franke and Frieder Nake, can be termed pioneers of Computer Art in Europe.

On the occasion of Herbert Franke's 80th birthday, the Kunsthalle in Bremen, Germany is going to host a computer art exhibition titled "Ex Machina- early computer graphics until 1979" from June 17 to August, 2007 this summer.

Back in the 60s, Georg Nees was pupil of Max Bense, the founder of Information Aesthetics. They arranged the first exhibition of computer art at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, Germany in 1965.

At that same period, famous scientist + computer graphic artists Manfred Schroeder, together with Bell Lab researchers Leon Harmon and Ken Knowlton, tried out a lot of experiments in producing images that could not otherwise be drawn or painted. More specifically, they wanted to generate pictures that would be perceived as totally different depending on the viewing distance. One such work that won an award is "One Picture is worth a Thousand Words". (the picture above is made up of numerous alphabets)

Monday, June 25, 2007

MUSE - a cultural magazine with heart

It was shear luck or fate that I got acquainted with the creative team of the MUSE magazine, a brand new cultural magazine in Hong Kong that is funded by Frank Proctor, now an admirable friend of mine.

I got to know their sharp and non-compromising editor-in-chief Perry Lam last year when we started discussing the likely contents and direction of MUSE, then simply a brilliant idea on paper. Now after one and a half year's hard work, the magazine is alive and working with a belief that "
Culture means more than just the arts. Culture is about how we live." I am proud to be associated with this magazine and am happy that Frank has allowed me time and again to input my spontaneous thoughts about the art and cultural scene of this dynamic city.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Collective Memories in Movie Posters

The Hong Kong Film Archive has a poster collection covering some 4000 titles, ranging from the 50s to the present. This archival treasure represents a history that span through harsh time in the post-war period and also the golden age of Hong Kong cinema in the 80s and 90s. The poster design and printing methods varied to a large extend and whether you appreciate the look of if or not, it is a rare chance for the originals to be put on display and a precious moment to revive collective memories.

As curator of the show, I have used a kind of "yin vs yang" idea to turn the exhibition hall in two sections of black and white, the former for displaying agressive and visually strong images from "kung fu" or "sexy" genres, the latter for displaying "comedy", 'romance" and "dramatic" film posters.

Due to the vast quantity, the selection will be shown in two phases according to the historical periods and will be toured to Tuen Mun Town Plaza in mid-July.

香港電影資料館自開館至今已搜羅得超過四千部香港電影的海報,由50 年代到今天的,片類繁多,設計和印刷都各具特色,從中可窺見電影過去數十年所走過的歲月,無論是艱辛的戰後,或是蓬勃的八、九十年代;無論是你喜歡或不喜歡的色彩或圖案,再次曝光亦是難得的歷史舖陳和感性的集體回憶。 由於量多的關係,展覽將按海報的年代分兩期展出,亦將於七月中移師到屯門市廣場一樓中央廣場展出。

香港電影資料館展期 Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong Film Archive:
第一期 /Phase I (1948 to 1978): 23/6 – 19/8/2007
第二期 / Phase II (1979 to 2006): 25/8 - 1/10/2007

屯門市廣場展期Main Atrium, 1/F, Tuen Mun Town Plaza:
第一期/ Phase I (1948 to 1978): 22/7 - 12/8/2007
第二期/ Phase II (1979 to 2006) :13/8 – 2/9/2007

Friday, June 22, 2007


Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is a genius, a scientist and a humourous speaker. I was very lucky to have visited his summer house at Caputh, a little town near Berlin during my last Europe visit.

In 1929, Einstein, then a professor of physics in Berlin and already a celebrity, poured his savings into a simple wooden summer house built on the edge of the forest, overlooking the town and the lake. The house was designed by the modernist architect Konrad Wachsmann, a friend of the Einstein family.

Besides naming my workshop as "EIN-STEIN", I have been collecting Einstein quotes for some time now and here are some interesting ones:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater.

I want to know God's thoughts,..... the rest are details..

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.

The hardest thing in the world to understand, is income tax.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.

Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Between Materiality and Virtuality

Today I read some inspiring text from 1798:

"Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart,
That watches and receives."
(william wordsworth)

Media artist Paul Sermon used this as his motto for creating a great art piece 10 years ago titled "The Tables Turned" - a witness to new forms of physical communications that are required in the modern world in order to bridge the difference between materiality and virtuality.

I do think that while we embraces technological art with its eye-opening possibilities, we must always remember that they need a heart that shall come forth to watch and to receive.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Hong Kong today more creative than ten years ago

10 years ago marked a sensitive date in HK’s historical timeline. So what was everybody doing in that point of time? Busy building for bigger opportunity to reap profits; busy planning their trips to exit this “place of uncertain future”; busy making films that record the change of sovereignty; busy creating big projects that should encourage the people to stay – say for example the Chek Lap Kok Airport or the world acclaimed Tsing Ma Bridge.

To view things on a retrospect, we were all helping to execute THAT ultra creative project of Mr Deng Xiaoping, termed strategically as “one country, two systems” and praised by all as ingenious and un-precedented.

The overall creativity of the populace, however, has not excelled as a result of this. We do have a lot of happenings or hardware that claimed to be “creative” or to promote “creativity”. And even more so in the rim of “creative industries.”

However, creativity is functionally and fundamentally dependent on the freedom of thinking, the skills of expression plus a longer vision as to where a society, or mankind in general, is heading. To this, I am still awaiting more signals from our next creative generation.


Red is the first colour a baby can recognised, very probably the first colour to be given a name, and considered by many nations as the colour for "SUN", "HAPPINESS", or "FIRE" and "DANGER".
My project RED was kicked off in mid May, using RED as an excuse to engage a dozen of students to come together for some creative and fun exercises.

Since then we have met a couple of times, we had met Gerd Conradt , the German video artist and Maeva Aubert, the French artist, to host some workshops related to RED, MEMORY, MAP and HISTORY. This Saturday (June 23), the RED ambassadors shall meet again to present their own works and to discuss about what they intend to find out about themselves.

Anybody interested to join, pls come to Sheung Wan MTR station at 7pm or send an email to me: .