Kingsley Ng Records Light for OzAsia

This year’s OzAsia Festival celebrates the work of Hong Kong artist Kingsley Ng with his first solo exhibition in Australia, Record Light, to be held at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA). Ng’s interdisciplinary installation and digital artworks are fascinating explorations into light and the environment.

Living in Hong Kong – often described as the most “light-polluted” city in the world – has clearly had an impact on Ng’s work. “Environmentalists say that the city’s evening sky is the brightest in the world – 1200 times the International Astronomical Union standard,” he says. As the title suggests, the primary focus of the artworks in this exhibition is light. Instead of focusing on the sensory overload of the bright lights of big cities like Hong Kong, Ng is using light as a means to highlight the world around us.

“In many big cities, lights are spectacles,” he says. “The lights in this exhibition are of a very different nature. They try to create a counterpoint to the usual experience of sensorial bombardment with a moment of contemplation.”

record-light-ozasia-cacsa-adelaide-review-3Record Light, 2016, CACSA exhibition view. Images courtesy OzAsia Festival and the artist

For example, the work Record: Light from +22° 16’ 14” +114° 08’ 48” focuses on the idea that every night in Hong Kong, many tourists take pictures from the Hong Kong Peak but their camera flashes usually go unnoticed because of the already light-saturated sky.

The work captures these flashes and translates them into etched markings on a 12-inch disc – creating a track of light. In previous versions of this work the disc has been played on a gramophone however in this iteration sounds can be played from an interactive device.

“The audience can play scores of their choice, and the music will correspond to flashes of light in the video projection,” Ng says. “It will be a contemplative process for the audience to activate a multi-sensory aesthetic experience through their own meditative action.”

record-light-ozasia-cacsa-adelaide-review-3Record Light, 2016, CACSA exhibition view. Images courtesy OzAsia Festival and the artist

Ng’s work moon.gate, also showing in the exhibition, is a site-and context-specific artwork that asks the question, What is the state of mind required for listening to the world we live in today?

The version on display at CACSA still focuses on this question but has been specifically designed to incorporate CACSA’s architectural setting and the content has been sourced from Australia. “While engaging in a conversation with this country, I hope the context-specific city will make the work resonate more with the Australian audience,” Ng says.

Record Light explores the notion of finding what is extraordinary in the everyday. Using light as a means to explore the world around us, Ng is particularly fascinated by the ability of light to make things visible.

“The focus may not be light itself, but light as a way to highlight what is around us, make visible the things that are easily forgotten, and overlooked.”

Kingsley Ng: Record Light Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia Friday, September 9 to Friday, October 14

Header image: Record Light. Photo by the artists and Osage Gallery.

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