A digital interpretation of the architecture and history of Victoria Gaol
Artists: Vvzela Kook & Ng Tsz Kwan
Curator: Ying Kwok
Assistant Curator: Jims Lam
DigiRadiance is a brand-new heritage digital programme that transforms the F Hall Studio into an immersive project space. Our first show uses the radial plan prison of Victoria Gaol as a point of departure to revisit Tai Kwun’s prison history and its significance.
Victoria Gaol started as a small brick building in 1841 and was the first prison built in Hong Kong. It expanded over the years and in 1862 a larger three-storey prison was built. Designed with the contemporary “radial plan” design, it signaled a major change to the concept of imprisonment and prison operations. Over the years, many parts of the building were destroyed and demolished, leaving only one of the five original wings intact today. The remaining section has been renamed to D Hall. As the oldest building in this compound, it stands as an important historical relic carrying traces of the early formation of law and order in the city and forms an important component of the Tai Kwun Heritage site.
DigiRadiance consists of two parts: a 30-minute immersive animated show presented at F Hall Studio and five Augmented Reality (AR) checkpoints across the Prison Yard and D Hall. The animated show is a newly commissioned work created by the artists Vvzela Kook and Ng Tsz Kwan. By studying the ideology behind the radial plan prison at Victoria Gaol, they went on a journey to explore, in depth, the concept of imprisonment and its relationship to architectural design, materiality, spatial configuration, and disciplinary routine. The video consists of three core scenes that examine the experience of imprisonment and its extended implications on societal discourses such as discipline and punishment.
The second part utilises AR technology to take you on a physical journey that explores the history of Tai Kwun’s prison on site. With personal mobile devices, visitors will be led by five digital checkpoints to navigate around Tai Kwun and learn more about its prison spaces.
Through reimagining and reinterpreting our historical buildings in a digital context, we hope to bring our visitors back in time, not only to visualise how our buildings have evolved over time, but also to learn and understand how and why these buildings were designed and built in this fashion. With these learning tools, we hope visitors can develop a deeper relationship with our historical site, and continue to value and treasure heritage sites such as Tai Kwun.
The animated show starts on the hour and half past every hour between 11am and 7pm. Each show has a capacity of 30 people.