HKBU Visual Arts artist wins Grand Prize at Japan Media Arts Festival
02 Mar 2016
Dr Bryan Chung, Assistant Professor of the Academy of Visual Arts of HKBU won the Grand Prize (Art Division) of the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival for his work entitled “50 . Shades of Grey”. This annual international media arts event is organised by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan. This year, there were 4,417 entries from 86 countries and regions, with submissions for the Art Division accounting for more than 40% of entries.
The “50 . Shades of Grey” conceptual and visual art piece collection consists of six different legacy computer scripts, including Basic and ActionScript, that have been laser-printed on paper then framed on the wall. On the opposite side, guests can see what the computer scripts create: a digital greyscale.
Dr Chung used six programming languages and software from the past 30 years to create the same visual of a gradual change in grey tone. The 50 shades of grey tone ranged from black to white, as reflected in the Chinese title of the work meaning “Half a Hundred, Half White”. Dr Chung said, “Although these software tools were once popular, they are now largely obsolete. The fear of becoming obsolete is a haunting theme in the computer industry as well as in digital arts.” In this work, Dr Chung looks back in history, revisits each programming language like an old friend and revitalises it with a new appearance and energy using the latest machinery, creating a poetic visualisation of the rise and fall of various forms of technology in the past.
One of the Jury members, Professor Satow Morihiro of Kyoto Seika University, Japan praised Dr Chung for using the six programming languages to symbolise the historical evolution and obsolescence of computer technology. At the same time, the scripts which ranged from the computer language Basic, which was released around the time Dr Chung was born, to ActionScript developed in 2000 bring an understated significance to the artwork for having overlapped with the artist’s life. Though its appearance seems almost bluntly simplistic, the work is laudable for its gradually emerging, rich and varied layers.
The award presentation ceremony was held on 2 February and the work was exhibited in the National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan from 3 to 14 February.
The concept of creation of the artwork can be found at:
For more details of the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival, please visit: