MU Connect issue 4 (page 08 to 09)

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Digital Art Lab opens with first public immersive digital art exhibition — 'i-nk': Extended Exhibition of Ink Global

Digital technology has permeated every aspect of modern life, and art is no exception. The University recently built a 1,700-square-foot Digital Art Laboratory on Jockey Club Campus. Equipped with 360° and 270° immersive CAVE systems, it is designed to train students of the Imaging Design and Digital Art programme in imaging technology, moving images, visual programming, and other digital arts.

HKMU creative arts students participate regularly in the annual Ink Global exhibition by bringing still ink paintings alive with new media technologies. Here now in the newly opened Digital Art Laboratory are 300 masterpieces from the same exhibition, on loan from the Young Artists Development Foundation. The 'i-nk': Extended Exhibition of Ink Global was unveiled at the opening ceremony of the Digital Art Laboratory, officiated by the Foundation's Chairman Dr Nellie Fong Wong Kut-man and Honorary Chairman Dr Eddy C Fong, along with HKMU Council Chairman Ir Dr Conrad Wong and President Prof. Paul Lam.

The 300 art pieces are showcased in 50 virtual frames that pop upon immersive digital walls, surrounding the audience. Individual works can be selected and enlarged manually with a switch. Two select pieces, 'The Bright Red Sunshine of Hong Kong' by Mr Chan Kau-on and 'Goldfish' by Mr Lin Ruiting, are being presented in the 270° and 360° CAVE systems respectively. Viewed through VR glasses, the red sunshine fades into the dark, and fireworks light up the night sky; the goldfish 'swim' at the pace of the viewer.

In addition to presenting digital art, the Laboratory also serves academic research purposes. Research topics include the teaching of Chinese literature and culture through VR and immersive experiences, such as the creative visualisation of classical and modern literary works.