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Technology Intervenes in Art (III)
New Opportunities and Challenges in Cultural Development: Application of Technology in Art in Hong Kong
Art and technology could change the world. When technology is applied to artworks, it challenges the limitation of sensory cognition. Beyond our sensibility and knowledge, this is the power of creativity and technology.
Location: Theatre
Excerpt from the research report 'Technology Intervenes in Art – New Technology and Urban Life: New Opportunities and Challenges in Cultural Development' published by Mathias Woo and Liu Si from Zuni Icosahedron in City-to-City Cultural Exchange Conference 2019. Full text in Chinese. The report is published on the website in three parts, this article is the third part. Click here to read Technology Intervenes in Art (I) New opportunities and challenges in cultural development: throwback to technological development and artistic creation Technology Intervenes in Art (II) New Opportunities and Challenges in Cultural Development: How does the world promote "Technology in Art"? 

Since the beginning of this century, cultural infrastructures in Hong Kong have developed rapidly. As encouraging as this is, infrastructure is only the hardware. It is important to connect it with creativity and cultural markets effectively. Decision makers and designers must answer to the audience's expectations: whether the environment is friendly and the design meets their needs. Infrastructure should enhance the future development of the industry while being complemented by cultural creativity - also known as the "software". In this article, we shall look at  examples of cultural infrastructure, talent cultivation, programming, application of new media technologies and software that are in place in Hong Kong. Suggested ways to create a more creative civilized society through the collaboration between technology and art are also included. 



Application of Technology in Art in Hong Kong
Cultural Infrastructure
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department manages all public recreational sports and cultural facilities in Hong Kong, including museums, city halls, civic centres, etc. Recent developments include the West Kowloon Cultural District, the East Kowloon Cultural Centre (expected to be completed in 2022), and the New Territories East Cultural Centre which was being concepted in 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2026. Many of them are designed by world-class architects and will be equipped with the latest stage technology. The 2019 policy address stated that the East Kowloon Cultural Centre will adopt advanced innovative technologies, including all-rounded computer stage facilities and execution systems, to provide artists and art groups with better hardware and further enhance Hong Kong's status in the international art scene.

Application of new media software: HKCC-AR Journey in Time
Opened in 1989, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (HKCC) is located on the former location of the Kowloon Station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. From its establishment in 1910 to its demolition for the construction of the Cultural Centre in 1978, this railway station has witnessed the history of Hong Kong and has been filled with our recollections. To celebrate the Centre's 30th anniversary in 2019, Zuni has adopted state-of-the-art technologies of Augmented Reality (AR) in conjunction with the Soundscape system to develop an AR mobile application to recreate the sound and scene of the former Kowloon Railway Station. 


The interface of HKCC-AR Journey in Time mobile application. Image/Zuni Icosahedron
【For iOS users, click here to download the app】 【For Android users, click here to download the app
Programming and Talent cultivation: Z Innovation Lab
Since 2017, Zuni has organised the "Z Innovation Lab" series to explore the forefront of stage technology through showcasing, exchanging and training, exposing the multitude  of possibilities of a black box theatre. The audience enters a theatre and experiences a live performance while simultaneously  interacting with the same stage lighting, sound and multi-media effects as the performers do. In a theatre performance, the technical aspects (staging, lighting, sound) are elements of performing arts just as important as the performers, while the entire theatre space (architecture) itself is constructed by technologies. As the disciplines of innovative technology and multimedia design continue to develop, these audio and visual tools and technologies should not be experienced on a two-dimensional level only. The theatre offers the possibilities of a "live" environment, a space for carrying, exploring and integrating different creativity and technologies. "Z Innovation Lab" infuses innovative stage technology and performing arts, providing a platform for exchange between providers and users of technology in the performance art scene in order to enhance the applications of stage technology.
2017 Z Innovation Lab
The focus of the "Freespace Tech Lab" co-organised by Zuni and the West Kowloon Cultural District was "Sound, Light and Space". Soundscape, Kinetic Winch, Projection and Lighting and Giant Mirror were applied in performances. The Studio Theatre of Hong Kong Cultural Centre was converted into an experimental venue with four mirror walls, and the possibilities of this experimental space were explored through the endless reflections of the mirrors. 
2018 Z Innovation Lab
Zuni's Z Innovation Lab and the Zurich University of the Arts joined hands to launch the Z/Z Twin Lab with a telematic performance in two cities in sync. Breaking down the boundaries of time and geographic zones, it aims to train students from the two places in the application and development of stage technology. Z Innovation Lab incorporates the technology of motion capture, virtual avatars, 3D audio and more, recreating the audio-visual space of Deishui Naamyam in Blind Musician Dou Wan.
2019 Z Innovation Lab
In 2019, utilizing projection mapping technology and flower plaque installations, the Z Innovation Lab put on a reinterpretation of the lost Banyan performance Rotten Big Ass at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The "Professional Series" was launched for stage technology practitioners and students, while the "Stage and Technology Workshop" and "HKCC-AR Journey in Time" were available to the public. 
Encourage the interaction of Art, Society & Technology
The emergence of new technology directly affects the form of artistic creation. There should be more interactions between art, society and technology in the future. Interdisciplinary cooperation not only promotes economic development, but also advances in artistic creation. More importantly, it ultimately affects our cultures and contributes to social development. Therefore, we need the support of a holistic and long-term cultural and arts policy that responds to the technological art forms that advance with the times; to encourage interdisciplinary research and practice of arts and technologies; to provide event venues and project funding; to initiate art activities, art institutions and art festivals with technology as the theme. Therefore, we recommend: 

1. To improve existing cultural and artistic venues;

2. To establish new cultural infrastructures, integrating with advanced software technology;

3. To educate and train interdisciplinary talents and technical professionals;

4. To encourage technology companies to cooperate with art groups and artists;

5. To use advanced applications to promote cultural and artistic activities;

6. To encourage cooperation between cities to develop cultural and creative industries and the interaction between technology and art.
 
Summary
In Hong Kong, artists and designers increasingly apply pioneer technology in their creations. Through their works, cutting-edge technology will be brought into the lives of the general public. The Hong Kong government has also started to construct cultural infrastructure and subsidize science and art interdisciplinary projects. It is hoped that a longer-term cultural and art policy can be formulated to promote institutions and related activities in which technology intervenes in art.

The integration of "new technology" and "urban life" is the challenge we are facing, where "art" will play a key role. Through critical discussions, art expression with interventions of new technology, and practice-oriented research, artistic creations raise questions and initiate dialogues. There is no doubt that culture and art will be the bridge between new technology and urban life.

Explore More
Technology Intervenes in Art (I) New opportunities and challenges in cultural development: A throwback to technological development and artistic creation
Technology Intervenes in Art (II) New Opportunities and Challenges in Cultural Development: How does the world promote "Technology in Art"?