I Dream That This List Would Be Rather Long... 推開後窗,我看見孜孜不倦的辛勞者在作業

I Dream That This List Would Be Rather Long... 推開後窗,我看見孜孜不倦的辛勞者在作業

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

Linda Chiu-han Lai 黎肖嫻

發表於: 14 Mar 2024

This piece was written for the School of Creative Media's 25th anniversary exhibition of graduates' works, Converging Parallels, curated by IP Yuk-yiu and Kattie Fan. The final piece that appears in the proceedings is a shortened version. I mainly want to make visible the unseen complex worlds outside that have sustained the art world which is the more spectacular part. It also reminds me of my long-standing aspiration for the School: rather than just producing artistic labor for the industry, we are nourishing enlightened future audience, including parents(-to-be), to keep art an open space. (editor/author)


I DREAM THAT THIS LIST WOULD BE RATHER LONG... 推開後窗,我看見孜孜不倦的辛勞者在作業 (February 2024, Hong Kong, full version, revised 14 March 2024)


A time to reap, a time to look forward. Never too late to dream the dream.


I think of all the students who have populated the 25 years of the School of Creative Media, and how their openness have proved our worth and substantiated our presence.


“Creative media” was not a regular number on the regular chart of academic disciplines. We invented it, and now it has a full skeletal structure and rich details. 


The name “Creative Media” was meant to move beyond the confines of fine art, theatre, performance, design and coding as separate domains. It projects a future picture of the artist who takes interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity as core values. Multi-disciplinarity is nothing new, a recent example being D.W. Griffith's cinema in the late 1910s, whereby existing art forms juxtapose without artists of the individual craft learning from others' fields. Interdisciplinarity is different: we either inject the norms of one discipline to innovate another, or we bring together two or more disciplines to negotiate their concepts, norms and modes of practices. With the world and our knowledge system evolving, and new issues arising, a trans-disciplinary approach is indispensable to make new sense of existing disciplines from a kind of bottom-up approach. 


The strength of SCM’s interdisciplinarity lies in the inclusion of the humanities, software and hardware coding. The strength of the SCM curriculum, through its historical evolvement, then, lies not in simply assembling resources (faculty backgrounds and courses) in one place, but the ever struggling effort of the individuals curiously moving towards one another. It was in students’ assignments – their bold experiments – that we find evidence of inter-disciplinary thinking, even if it is green. Now society in general registers “creative media” with greater ease – thanks to all our graduates who have demonstrated to society what “creative media” could be: a creative person with informed artistic sensibilities, who embraces art’s societal nature, and understands there is no artistic innovation without a respect for technics and its history. Whereas our graduates may be savvy in one or two particular practices, they have broad understanding of art and technology and their place in contemporary society.


I want to congratulate, therefore, everyone who has formed SCM’s current and past learning communities, whether or not they are represented in this anniversary show.


Curatorial work asserts methods, preferences and designations. One can think of the works in the show epitomizing SCM’s mission of education; it is even more important to register the invisible structures that define media art – the organological web-works that include many who have not be selected. 


Some of us also wondered – what other alternatives could we have had for a 25th-year celebration? Could “the best," the most “avant-garde,” or most daringly striking of works be those somewhat raw, imperfect, off-beat student assignments that we have trashed? Would it be more impactful to gather graduates to review how uncompromisingly free they once were, even at the risk of losing balance and falling far from completing a polished work? I am still struggling with the few hundreds students' mini-DV tapes and over a hundred DVD submissions that I dug up from my office, which I all brought home to archive for some unknown projects I feel could happen one day.


***    ***    *** 


These faces swim up in my mind-scape: 
Eyes wide open 
Puzzled but inspired, mesmerized 
Curious faces desiring to know more 
Those questions they have asked to confront me: 
Must human expressions necessarily be mediated by languages? 
What to do with sensations without words? 
What is the everyday? 
What are machines? 
Why Kant in the beginning of a class on participatory art? 
Is there an end point to socially engaged art? 
Why is interaction not the whole of participation? 
I'm a science student. What has art to do with me? 
What has art to do with the histories of moneys? 
Why must a BACM student learn coding? 
What new raw material has computational art added to artmaking? 
Why is digital experimental video art a kind of animation?


The late arrival of a term that finally catches up with our practice.


I unlock the door to my back room,  
I open the rear window and look… 
A landscape that morphs and transforms by the moment…


She is now a student in forensic architecture at Goldsmiths. 
They teach creative coding in a London university 
She and she runs key art institutional projects in Hong Kong. 
He and she has been a member of the art educational team at Tai Kwun and M+. 
They and they and they form their own companies for multimedia exhibition design. 

They are dedicated parents and informed audience of art appreciation. 
She is an art therapist. 
He and he taught at the LSK Creative College. 
They are dedicated parents determined to make their kids understand art and creativity. 
He is an award-winning illustrator. 
She is a manager for athletes. 
She takes up BBC animation projects for children and history programs. 
She set up an experimental project for children’s creativity. 
She is an interface designer using ethnographic methods. 
… … 

What name should apply to honour them? Lubricants? Strategists? Facilitators? They are surely no backdrop.


More than a dozen times, I received compliments on how many established artists SCM has produced. In my mind, there is only one thing that matters. 
How many graduates of persistent integrity can we put on our list? 

This would be a different list of different formation. I dream that this list would be rather long. 

(Linda Chiu-han Lai)


p.s.: I am fully aware of the fact that when young people think of receiving art education these days, they may not think of SCM. Why? Without certainty, I feel this reflects how still very few people think of technics as an integral part of art. Or perhaps “art-tech” as a focus of promotion (which seems a good thing) in fact further separates art and technology from each other. Perhaps here lies a true crisis of SCM? Why is it that our 25-year-old interdisciplinary pursuit seems to have gone increasingly unnoticed? I can't help thinking about the many years of struggle in our early days – those days when we had to fight hard, albeit quietly and skilfully, to protect art and its vitality as a core value. “What is art” remains an experimental yet avoided question, further sidelined by lip services to interdisciplinarity. At SCM, art, tech, experiment, research, interdisciplinarity are no trendy catchwords – at least I hope so. (25 March 2024)

Floating Projects Collective 2024