Van 4-1-2000 t/m 9-2-2000

Works shown from the collection: Caitlin Hulscher, Ma Tete; Alicia Framis, Apart Together; Peter Stel, Look at Me; Anders Thoren, His Masters Voice; Atsushi Ogata and Anna Davis, By the Way; Hanspeter Ammann, Couple; Robert Arnold, Morphology of Desire

The '4th Microwave Festival' in Hong Kong took place at the spacious Space Museum and the adjacent Cultural Centre and City Hall. Spread over a month, the program included video screenings, a CD-ROM exhibition, a video/music performance/party, seminars, and a visiting artist's workshop. Some works from the collection of the Netherlands Media Art Institute were shown during the festival.

Memory, desire, borders, displacement, nonsense, identity were among the issues addressed in the 43 videos guest-curated by Solange Farkas, the director of Videobrasil. In 'Framed by Curtains', Eder Santos poetically captured the momentary chance encounter (or 'near-encounter') between two strangers at a Hong Kong bus stop, while in Hanspeter Ammann's 'Couple', even the physical setting of the couple (or 'non-couple') seemed non-existent. Only the couples from the covers of romance novels came alive as they became animated in 'Morphology of Desire' by Robert Arnold. Doron Solomons' 'My Collected Silences' presented countless 'talking heads' from TV who were not yet talking, while an overdosed dog from a scientific experiment staggered around in Anders Thoren's 'His Master Voice' - Abstracted from their original contexts, these images became both humorous and disturbing.

Representing local talents were 'Tramspotting' by Chong Ngar Wai Kitty, who celebrated the beauty of the Hong Kong trams, and 'Let Me Take You Away' by Chan Hiu Yan Sherona who exchanged her role with the medical student she was videotaping so that he ended up videotaping her instead - either way, he was the one revealing himself. Several Latin American works were highly reflective in their tones as the cameras slowly traveled over the painterly rivers and mountains. In contrast, the Australian program 'Sick and Dizzy' curated by Beth Jackson, the director of Griffith Artworks, rushed us through the fast-paced electronic animation of the colonial/aboriginal cultures.

Aside from organizing the festival, Videotage, an artists' collective, publishes a bilingual magazine, offers production workshops at schools/universities, and even produces and distributes videos and installations. Last year, 13 Hong Kong artist were commissioned by Videotage to each make a one-minute video, which was displayed as a public art piece on the large monitor at the Sogo Department Store in the city center.

At the Videotage office, now located in a former abattoir, Fion Ng, the Manager of Microwave, showed us works from their Hong Kong collection: Ernest Fung reflected on the hand-over of Hong Kong through humor and satire in 'Alice in Hong Kong' and 'Double Happiness'. Matthias Woo's 'Very Good City' combined wide-angle time-lapse shots taken from the upper level of a double-decker bus with poetic texts and voice-overs to create a highly engaging journey. In 'Drain IV', Ellen Pau showed us visually arresting grid-like patterns within which performers slowly move about - the imagery seem to reflect both the hierarchical rigidity of the social conditions and the physical shapes of the Hong Kong sky-scrapers and bamboo scaffoldings.

Successful in its collaborations with festivals/curators from the Southern Hemisphere, Microwave seems to be a growing focal point for this region. I look forward to the future festivals.