It has always been one of the goals of this biennial festival to challenge the conventional and broaden realisations and concepts of “art”. This year is no exception, with opening programme Tree of Codes advancing cross-boundary creativity by drawing together world-class dancer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson and musician Jamie xx in a production combining literature, sculpture, architecture, and space design with performing arts.
Other shows are equally transformational in their merging of different disciplines and forms. The world’s first underwater ensemble presents AquaSonic, a novel integration of the arts and science that generates a previously unheard-of aesthetic encounter. In a departure from its usual classical ballet format, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala delivers a searing dance theatre performance, giving a voice to people on the margins of contemporary society. Likewise, Du Yun, the first Chinese female recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, spotlights the dark problem of human trafficking in Angel’s Bone, a powerful combination of opera, chamber music, electronic rock, and cabaret. Meanwhile, Negotiation centres on an in-depth dialogue between two internationally renowned Asian dancers, who draw out connections and contrasts between “high-culture” court tradition and street hip hop and their links to body, mind and spirit.
In a further re-examination of human nature that is steeped in the legacy of Jerzy Grotowski, one of the 20th century’s most important theatre practitioners, the Workcenter’s artistic director Thomas Richards breaks the usual venue boundaries between performer and audience and invites you to re-evaluate our links with each other and to ourselves. Incidentally, Tan Dun’s Buddha Passion boldly retells Buddha's stories in a Dunhuang epic to celebrate universal human values such as equality and sacrifice.
In 2014, drawing inspiration from micro-festivals around the world, we introduced ArtSnap to run beside New Vision. However, unlike other international fringe events and their larger-scale alternative performances, the ArtSnap concept focused on micro-programmes, with a special emphasis on interactivity, improvisation, and originality to generate fresh experiences for audiences.
This year, ArtSnap moves forward to become a unique “festival within a festival”. While most shows in the past came from overseas, nine out of 12 productions in the current line-up are newly commissioned Hong Kong works, and two of them feature local and overseas artists paired up by New Vision. Indeed, the impact of ArtSnap as a platform for nurturing local talent, and their sustainable development is already apparent. The 2018 New Vision’s Guan Yu’s Ride of 1,000 Miles, an experimental multimedia “lion dance theatre” production by choreographer Daniel Yeung and Kwok’s Kung Fu & Dragon Lion Dance Team, originated from the 2016 ArtSnap programme The Lion Rocks!
By helping artists and audiences explore trailblazing frontiers, New Vision and ArtSnap are widening and deepening the reach of the arts in Hong Kong and the reach of our creative talents within the city and beyond.
Another new initiative is the launch of the Views from Two Cities: Shanghai-Hong Kong Arts Criticism Exchange Programme, jointly held with the China Shanghai International Arts Festival. Students and young arts critics from Hong Kong and Shanghai will have the opportunity to attend performances of both festivals and share their insights. In addition, the Arts Experience Scheme for Senior Secondary Students, run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Audience Building Office, will bring festival activities to more schools, alongside encouraging greater appreciation of the arts in the city overall.
I look forward to seeing you at our performances and events and together exploring, with open hearts and minds, the innovative perspectives on life that New Vision presents.
Senior Manager, Festivals Office
Leisure and Cultural Services Department