“Attempting a history of (new) media arts for Hong Kong: archaeology, literacy and education for artists”

Hong Kong Visual Arts Yearbook 2007, the Fine Arts Department, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Chinese University Press, 2008.

〈为香港(新)媒体艺术构筑初步得的历史:考古、公众的认知、艺术家的教育 〉,《香港艺术年鉴2007》,香港中文大学艺术系,香港中文大学出版社,2008年。


A key motive of this essay is to recount the many players and their pursuits within the 29-year span, to gain insight into the local art community’s perception of what media art is, the kind of exemplary works they had in mind, and what makes media art what it is in Hong Kong. With such a reading, I want to outline the many issues that would lead to an elaborate agenda for the crafting of an informed history of local media art. Rather than providing a comprehensive interpretive history (story), I take this piece of writing as an opportunity to generate a situated discussion to show the many missing research projects that need to be in place before a sensibly adequate account can be formed for critical usage. As someone much concerned with writing such a history for Hong Kong, I have attended to many fragments of events, loose literature and discourses in formation, and felt that any attempt for an overview should begin with what Michel Foucault called “archaeology” -- the activities to “unearth,” to return to broader terrains to locate the dispersive traces of media art before it became an identifiable institution. This hinges on a rigorous effort to describe, to recount, and stock-take what happened, before discursive formation. I cite as many events as I have come across to create a list of observable fragments for more archaeological work in future, while the brief commentaries I provide for each event are meant to invoke questions for further verification.

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