由藝術品長期來回在不同國度間送遞，到業界人士馬不停蹄飛到世界各地參與藝術展，藝術世界是全球化的典範工業，藝術發佈不斷擴展的體制在不同層面上也值得我們深入研究。故此，我們需要認真重新審視藝術世界在過往數十年急速膨脹的發展——藝術市場被視為投資「熱錢」的代名詞，新興市場一頭熱的收藏家急切投入其中，加上藝術機構持續企業化。但可能藝術世界並非如許多人想像般運作。上個月，Jerry Saltz在《紐約》雜誌撰寫了題為《藝術世界的末日⋯⋯或新世界的誕生》（“The Last Days of the Art World … and Perhaps the First Days of a New One”) 的文章。也許有人會問，我們現在正處身新時代的開端嗎？還是站在藝術世界高低起跌輪迴上的轉折點，證明藝術世界永續膨脹並不可能？
在現有挑戰的前提下，錄映太奇推出新創計劃「Content Lab」。Content Lab將致力推動創作，以新方式連繫觀眾，對香港以至其他地方更廣泛的社群發揮正面影響力。當中亦有培育新一代創作者的項目，鼓勵包括電影導演、社交影片製作者、迷因作者、遊戲玩家、視覺藝術家、聲音工程師、Instagram以至loop內容創作者。透過創作過程，此計劃用藝術去發掘個人身份、對人性的信心，以及對生命的正面態度。
Content Lab 設置七個項目，於網頁www.contentlab.hk及多個期間限定空間發佈：
MADE BY ARTISTS 藝術家製造：
MADE BY THE LAB 自家製造：
MAKE A CONVERSATION 製造對話：
MAKE WAVES - POP-UP CINEMA 製造浪潮 - 期限影院：
MAKE YOUR CONTENT 由你製造：
MORE MAKINGS 延伸製造：
MAKE RESIDENCY LIVE 駐留製造：
作為在香港成立超過三十年的非牟利團體，能夠以創新藝術方式實驗創作，超越固有設定，是我們一直以來的根本信念。 透過此初創計劃，錄映太奇將繼續在現有節目上精益求精，同時探索新媒體、教育、社區連結的不同方向，以期推動香港藝術生態向前發展。藉者把 Content Lab 當成將來創新策略與科技用途的試金石，錄映太奇期望推動藉著藝術在不同形勢仍保持靭力，幫助創造藝術在「後COVID-19」未來裡的可能性。
A “NEW NORMAL” MANIFESTO
The year 2020 has seen unprecedented challenges, marking a significant shift in the way we live and work, and revealing how the everyday lives of people have been profoundly mediated by the global crises of COVID-19. Over the past few decades, the interconnected global economy has accelerated significantly. The rapid increase in mobility between boarders has not only led to higher global efficiency, it has also allowed the rapid spread of contagious disease, alongside the deep-seated interdependence between people and nations. The unexpected challenge in moments of crisis not only exposes the fragility of our economic and political affairs, but more importantly, the vulnerability of the globalized system is only just beginning to become apparent to us.
The art world, an industry known as the epitome of globalization — from artworks constantly crossing borders to many art world players physically flocking to perpetual art fairs around the calendar — calls for a deeper investigation into the ever-expanding mechanism of artistic distribution at a variety of levels. It is necessary to seriously reevaluate the radical expansion of the art world over the past few decades in which the art market has been taken as a proxy for “hot money” in search of yield, alongside with the emergence of frenzy collectors from emerging economies and the perpetual corporatization of art institutions. Perhaps the art world does not work as many people thought it did. Last month, Jerry Saltz wrote an article on New York Magazine, titled, “The Last Days of the Art World … and Perhaps the First Days of a New One.” One may ask — are we in the dawn of a new era, or are we at the cusp of a permanent shift that proves that the endless expansion of the art world has never been sustainable?
In the midst of the crisis, fancy dinners, gallery opening drinks, and exclusive VIP parties are gone. While artistic values are highly mediated by complex chains of social interactions and personal relationships, reinforced through marathons of events within the art market bubble, the merry-go-round has stopped spinning. Yet it has accelerated changes that were already underway — reconsidering the perception of art and how it is able to create impact with online initiatives. During the lockdown, physical white cube spaces have been reproduced into “online viewing rooms.” Suddenly, social media is not solely considered to be a promotional tool, but a place for education, transaction, and interaction. Players from brick-and-mortar museums to alternative art spaces are now forced to innovate.
Physical galleries having an online presence is nothing new. Back in the late 1990s, digital representations of museums’ collections or exhibits, alongside with digital arts such as “net art,” emerged along with the popularity of the Internet. Two decades of experimenting with “virtual galleries” has proven that clicking a thumbnail that links to a high-resolution artwork image does not engage audiences as many curators thought it did. Replicating a physical exhibition space, be it equipped with immersive 360° tour or high-resolution panorama images, could never remotely create the sense audiences experience in a physical space, not to mention the social dimension enabled by a gallery visit. Perhaps the attempt to use “virtual” to replace the physical gallery has been going in the wrong direction.
In the context of reconsidering the perception of art and how it is able to create impact with online initiatives, the question remain — how can we democratize art from a system in which artistic value is largely determined by a handful of galleries, collectors and museums and how can we disrupt artistic presentation beyond the 1990’s notion of “virtual gallery” in social media? There are no easy answers to question of how the artworld could survive in the post-COVID-19. Instead of returning to the old normal, revealing what was “abnormal” and finding ways to operate differently is the way to go.
Against the backdrop of these current challenges, Videotage is initiating the new project Content Lab. The Content Lab will generate creative outputs that thrive, finding new ways to engage audiences and deliver positive impact to wider communities within Hong Kong society and beyond, it will also serve as an incubation program to groom a new generation of creators, covering a wide range of disciplines from featured film directors, social filmmakers, meme makers, gamers, visual art artists, sound engineers, Instagrammers to loop creators. Through the process of creating, the project aims to utilize art to discover identities, find faith in humanity, and create a positive outlook on life.
To EDUCATE the public about new media and communication and to FOSTER collaboration between the art sector and the general public.
To SPRINGBOARD the new generation, allowing them to explore their creative entrepreneurial potential to cross-pollinate intergenerational dialogue.
To MAKE social responsibility a priority of artistic expression and GIVE VOICE to the expression of minority viewpoints through content making.
To EXPAND the scope of community arts by acknowledging the phenomenon of "networked individualism" in contemporary society and RELATE to community members.
To MAKE ACCESSIBLE new media technology to the public via a structured platform to NURTURE self-expression.
Content Lab includes seven distinct projects on a designated website www.contentlab.hk and at multiple pop-up spaces:
MADE BY ARTISTS:
Artists will be commissioned to produce video works and performances that are made specifically for social platforms.
MADE BY THE LAB:
Team members at Videotage will produce in-house creative content in the format of video, meme, and creative texts, attempting to blur the line between curator, artist, administrator, and content creator.
MAKE A CONVERSATION:
Audience will have the opportunity to initiate dialogue with artists through a series of live social events.
MAKE WAVES - POP-UP CINEMA:
A series of time-limited online showcase of moving images will be hand-picked by the team of Videotage.
MAKE YOUR CONTENT:
An opportunity for the general public to produce homemade VR, filters and video contents by regenerating footage collected by Videotage.
A series of nontraditional educational programs concerning media art history and behind-the-scene stories will introduced to the public.
MAKE RESIDENCY LIVE:
A digital residency program that aims to blur the boundary between the digital and physical worlds through engagement with artists in collective creative content-making sessions and various gaming platforms.
As a non-profit organization that has been established in Hong Kong for over three decades, to be able to step to the forefront in experimenting with new artistic methods beyond the status quo remains our fundamental belief. Through this new initiative, Videotage will continue to improve on its existing programs and explore various approaches to new media, pedagogy, and community engagement that will potentially help to propel Hong Kong’s arts ecology forward. By using the Content Lab for testing innovative strategies and technological usages, Videotage aims to promote resilience in the face of adversity through art, and help create possibility of art in the post-Covid-19 future.
The next phase, the one we have yet to enter, will hopefully be a “better normal.”
ABOUT VIDEOTAGE 關於錄映太奇
Videotage is a leading non-profit organization in Hong Kong focusing on the presentation, promotion, production and preservation of video and media art, serving artists in the expanding technological art and culture network. Since 1986, Videotage has developed itself from an umbrella for media artists, to a network of media art and culture for cross-disciplinary cultural productions, and platform to facilitate international exchange.