November 22, 2010

In 1990, there was a Deep Dish TV series of five one-hour programs, "...will be televised: Video Documents From Asia,” curated and produced by Shu Lea Cheang. The program intended to reverse the usual flow of communication from America to the other, lesser-heard side of the globe, from “the developing countries to the developed metropolis.” The title of Hong Kong’s document, “Only Something That Is About To Disappear Becomes An Image,” was a line excerpted from an essay that later became a book, Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance by Professor Ackbar Abbas. The series is probably one of the earliest creative video projects in Hong Kong art history. Most of the works were the outcome of a video workshop that had privileged access to selected films archived in the Government Information Service. Some footage dated back to the early 20th century, almost around the time movies were born. Filmmakers in those times were mostly in the military, journalists, or working with the church. Many images that captured the street life of Hong Kong in the last century were handheld and nostalgic. In the 1990 project, it was mainly the first generation of Hong Kong video artists—amateurs, non-journalists, the camcorder generation—who did the works. This video document is a landmark to announce the fading of the colonial age and entrance into the post-'97 era.

Twenty years after this series, Videotage is making another round of “…will be televised,” only this time it is YouTube-wise. The new project, Remake HK, will be a chain of remediation on the (re)appearance/disappearance of HK. Videotage invites YouTube users anywhere in the world to find and use images or videos that are tagged 'Hong Kong' and play/remix/mashup the footage to produce new works. Through crowd-sourcing and crowd-producing, Remake HK will be constantly evolving and constantly updating, like the never-ending editing in Wikipedia. Perhaps, in this digital age, the fluidity of information and the crowd effect is making the flow of communication more complex than ever. The flow is not one way or the other, it is like a semantic web, where online video documents become a whirl of feedback, moving images that are difficult to epitomize but easy to consume and play. Remake HK will be launched as an online campaign in Hong Kong and globally next month—watch out for it.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.
Add Comment