Digital art festival gives Muzium Telekom a glowing effect


Pamela Tan's 'Tatu' installation, which offers an intricate play of light and shadow that evoke scenes of wayang kulit (shadow puppet). Photo: Eugene Kong

New media festival Immersio has found a new home this year, at Muzium Telekom in Kuala Lumpur.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this fourth edition of the event (free admission) presents 12 immersive installations, workshops and talks from now till Nov 27.

These commissioned works consider what it means to be human in a world of technology-driven change, exploring the shifting boundaries between natural and artificial, art and science, tradition and technology.

Pamela Tan’s Tatu is one of the works on display, a single room laser-cut steel installation presented as a dome with circular patterned plates.

This intricate play of light and shadow evokes scenes of wayang kulit (shadow puppetry), with motifs inspired by the many cultures in Malaysia, including the Dayak, Malay, Indian and Chinese.

Visitors take a closer look at Pangrok Sulap's 'Marine Life', a multimedia work highlighting ocean life and the threats they face. Photo: Eugene KongVisitors take a closer look at Pangrok Sulap's 'Marine Life', a multimedia work highlighting ocean life and the threats they face. Photo: Eugene Kong

Tan has designed the circular plates to be detachable, revealing the silhouette of a stylised, human head, offering each viewer a suggestion of a representation of “self”.

Tatu represents the diversity of the Malaysian community and all people regardless of their differences; judging none and celebrating all. It reminds us that only through embracing our differences can we survive through times of conflict. The title Tatu pays homage to the people of East Malaysia who often feel sidelined in the grand Malaysian setting,” wrote Tan in a Facebook post.

Another interactive installation is Sarawakian artist Tristan Lo’s Tending To The Garden Of Infinity multimedia work, where visitors are encouraged to wave their hands at specified positions to reveal a bunga kantan (ginger flower) that gradually blooms. Once you stop moving, the flower will slowly shrink and vanish from sight.

Tristan Lo's 'Tending To The Garden Of Infinity', an interactive work that allows visitors to contemplate on the 'tree of life' theme. Photo: Eugene KongTristan Lo's 'Tending To The Garden Of Infinity', an interactive work that allows visitors to contemplate on the 'tree of life' theme. Photo: Eugene Kong

This is a virtual interpretation of the "tree of life" motif which symbolises a cyclical existence in which every beginning has an end, and every end has a new beginning.

The installation stimulates a meditative effect in hopes that visitors would reflect on these interconnections and discover a whole new way of observing the universe.

For the first time, art collective Sabah-based Pangrok Sulap, which is known for its woodblock prints, is exhibiting the MDF wood blocks instead of the prints in Marine Life.

This mixed-media, audio-visual installation depicts wood-carved aquatic creatures that come to life, “swimming” out of the MDF blocks in an ocean that transitions from pristine to polluted.

Farhan Fathee's 'EQUA.LI.ZER' installation, where sound and light will take viewers to another dimension. Photo: Eugene KongFarhan Fathee's 'EQUA.LI.ZER' installation, where sound and light will take viewers to another dimension. Photo: Eugene Kong

The sound of ocean waves accompany this presentation, a reminder of how our oceans and ecosystems are being impacted by our actions.

Immersio is hosted by Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) through its foundation arm, Yayasan TM (YTM), in collaboration with local new media art collective Filamen.

The festival opens with the theme Mengukir (to carve), an examination of how new media forms and digital technologies carve new opportunities to create more meaningful relationships between people, our cultural heritage and the world.

Immersio aims to become a major platform for local and international artists in art and technology. We hope this will nurture more young talents in the digital medium and new media arts," says Abdul Shakir, co-founder of Filamen.

"This platform is also meant to connect and engage different communities to make arts and technology more engaging and accessible. We look forward to building Immersio into a leading arts and technology festival within the region and internationally,” he adds.

More info here.

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