[ISEA2016] Introduction: Jeffrey Shaw & Cees de Bont — Intro to the Final Programme

Introductory Statement

Monkeys frequently appeared in Chinese fiction, most famously Sun Wukong, hero of Journey to the West, master of 72 methods of transformation, able to lift a 13,500-jin (6,750-kg) staff with ease, and able to travel 108,000 li (54,000 km) in one somersault. In Chinese astrology, 2016 is a Fire Monkey year. Monkeys are ‘…forever believing that the grass is greener elsewhere and under the influence of the Fire element are ‘… energetic, self-assured, expressive, and innovative!
ISEA is appropriately seeking succor and inspiration in Hong Kong in this Fire Monkey year, under the banner of CULTURAL R>EVOLUTION and this community’s shared passion for a ‘greener’ future. Digital media exemplifies the dual meaning of revolution to always create new while returning to the old. In this dynamic, paradigms and practices dovetail with the parallel evolutions of art, creativity, culture, society and politics.
In Hong Kong, tradition and modernity meet and joist in a singular condition of religious, ethnic and cultural heterogeneity. A feature of this cultural dynamism has been its artist’s active participation and contribution to the history of electronic art – beginnings that go parallel with the inception of ISEA itself. So Hong Kong is privileged to host ISEA in 2016; to take its place and contribute to the current and future trajectory of electronic art and to promulgate and integrate its own proud traditions of media art.
Each ISEA is a fortuitous concatenation of the enthusiasm of those persons who pull it together, and the engagement of those artists and writers who give it its content. Numerous institutions, partners and sponsors have been indispendable to the making of this purposeful platform, where for an action-packed week a community of trailblazers, aficionados, sightseers and critics has come together to share and learn from direct experience.
On behalf of ISEA2016’s four organizing institutions – CityU, PolyU, Videotage and Microwave – we welcome the artists, speakers and participants from all over the world, who have come to Hong Kong to make of this the meaningful and memorable event that we have envisioned with such excitement and dedication over the years leading up to this auspicious moment.

  • Jeffrey Shaw (AU/HK) Artistic Director ISEA2016
  • Cees de Bont (NL/HK) Co-director ISEA2016