Zhong Kui, mostly known as the ghost catcher, is still frustrated about the unfair treatment he once received due to his facial appearance. Assisted by the White Bone Spirit, a shape-shifting demoness, who ended up in hell when she resisted her abusers, Zhong Kui catches a ride on a drone and leaves the hell of ancient times. He is now among us as a computer specialist behind a screen, who catches bots and viruses. “Zhong Kui and the Reform of Hell” draws a connection between storytelling and handheld devices. With the physical presence of the puppeteers in bringing ancient characters to life, eteam reveals the mechanics of how stories and news media are created. Yet, once a viewer is drawn into the story, these mechanics seem to disappear. The suspension of disbelief hovers in a state of fluctuation and one can’t help but wonder who is human, who is ghostly, who is artificial, who is controlled, who is operating, who is spirited and who has personality: the operators, the puppets, the technological devices, or the systems that keep them in proximity?
For their first collaboration, artist duo eteam and the Hong Kong Puppet and Shadow Arts Center have developed a powerful opera-play that combines ancient stories and analog story-telling technologies with the digital tools and scripts we have available now. Since 2001 eteam (Franziska Lamprecht and Hajoe Moderegger) traffic in transience. At the intersection of relational aesthetics, the Internet and land art, eteam coordinates collective happenings and conceptual transactions between the earthly plane and the realms of the interweb, often reconstructed in hypnotic video work, radio plays, or more recently novellas. Their projects have been featured at PS1 NY, MUMOK Vienna, Centre Pompidou Paris, Transmediale Berlin, Taiwan International Documentary Festival, New York Video Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, the 11th Biennale of Moving Images in Geneva, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam, among others.
In the early years, Wong Fai followed the puppet master, Li Yuquan, to learn the art of hand puppet play. He studied the art of shadow play from the famous shadow artist Tan Degui and string puppet play from the international puppet master Huang Yique. He assisted Master Li Weiquan in the creation of the "Xiangjiang Shadow Theater" in Hong Kong, marking the first local shadow play performance in Hong Kong. In 2013, he was awarded for promoting the development of outstanding figures in the arts and culture by the Secretary for Home Affairs. In 2001, Wong founded the Hong Kong Puppet and Shadow Art Center and later established the Wong Fai Puppet and Shadow Art Center. On the basis of inheriting tradition, in the practice of innovation, it has formed its own unique artistic style, paying special attention to the manipulation skills of puppets and shadows, and exquisitely performing, especially in combination with the manipulation of four traditional puppets and shadows.
Art After Hours is an evening event series presented by Tai Kwun Contemporary that will talk with you, sing with you, show and tackle something new every time. Held on Fridays at 7pm, Art After Hours aims to sharpen art awareness through talks, performances, and screenings by artists, writers, intellectuals, and curators alike.