A land-art that is beyond a singular perspective and fully embedded in NDSM-Werf.
“Dancing in a circle, beating rhythmically, no one is first, no one last, all are the same, all beats in the same way. The start is slow then the rhythm takes over, a sense of infinity arises from this human ring that turns and beats rhythmically.” - Bruno Munari, Square Circle Triangle, 2016.
Through time and between cultures, circles have come to represent a simple yet powerful concept; oneness. This humble shape has been used to communicate ways in which we can come together, where we collectively become more than our individual parts. This message is more important than ever before, as tensions arise in our multicultural communities, fuelled by polarizing politics and divisive social media algorithms. NDSM, as a port, has a history of diversity throughout the different types of people arriving in the Netherlands from around the world. This mix of differences can be seen lives on today through the vibrant day and nightlife, with cultural events, various expressive forms of graffiti, and the wide range of art and design practices that call this area home.
The circle speaks of something large - beyond the individual, to the collective. Through gradually piecing together glimpses of a glowing shape that seems to be scattered throughout the NDSM area, viewers can collectively trace the line of a giant circle. Because of the impossibility of grasping the full circle from any single position on the ground, the work offers infinite vantage points. The process of interacting with it from different angles, heights, and distances represents how we come together to form a shared reality - where no particular point of view should be privileged over another, where the seen and unseen, the visible and invisible are equally considered.
In this way, we want to involve the viewers in becoming part of the shared experience of the circle; in the words of Timothy Morton, “You realize that you are included in the interpretation so your art becomes ‘reflexive’ - it starts to talk about itself” (Being Ecological, 2019).
Exhibiting from 12 November 2021 to January 2022, at NDSM-Werf Amsterdam, under the curation of Come To Light, curated by Petra Heck from Stichting NDSM-Werf.
Designed by Alice Wong & Crys Leung, planned & visualized by Huey Hoong Chan, written by Vincent Thornhill & Irene Stracuzzi.
'THE THIN ORANGE LINE' (2021)
An interactive installation existing of candy dispensers, plastic bags, and candies.
During the various Dutch Covid-19 lockdowns, there has been a lot of discussion about what is essential and what is not. The word ‘essential’ has been gradually shifting in meaning, practically coming to signify to what stores and services should be (fully) open to the public. Museums and other cultural institutions for example were still closed at the time of the exhibition, while stores for (food) supplies hadn’t been closed at all. This includes candy shops, which have remained open for customers throughout the several lockdowns.
Alice Wong and Crys Leung raise questions about this essential/non-essential policy with their interactive installation The Thin Orange Line. The title refers to both the thin blue line – which refers to the idea of policemen being the border between a healthy society and complete chaos – as well as orange being the (informal) national colour of the Netherlands. The work consists of several plexiglass displays, showing one piece of candy, including a label as you would see in a museum, playfully disguising art as candy – otherwise, the exhibition couldn’t have opened at all. In this way, the installation walks a thin line between essential and non-essential: can candy be a form of art?
All viewers/customers can use a tong at the bottom of the display, to fill a bag with sweets; pricing ranging from €3 to €7, buying art for very fair prices. These bags are printed with questions to think about while eating candy, about what can wait and what can not – especially in pandemic times. If you have serious cultural cravings, can you still consider art non-essential?
Exhibiting from 17 to 26 May 2021, at Museum Voor Niet-Essentiële Kunst curated by We Are Public at Droog.
Designed by Alice Wong & Crys Leung, film edited by Alice Wong, installations crafted by JB Gambier, text written by Maarten Buser, photographed by Crys Leung.
'A CHARGED DREAM' (2020)
A four-part video installation.
A Charged Dream is a serious, yet playful exploration of the history of the lithium battery, which might be more popular than ever, since the rise of the smartphone. These four videos show the other ways these batteries are charged: not only with electricity but also with ideologies. The videos are bookended by excerpts from a speech by President Richard Nixon. He speaks about the oil crisis in the 1970s and the need for America to develop its own sustainable energy source.
The videos keep increasing in intensity, mimicking a battery that gets drained during the long and heavy performance. How sustainable is sustainable actually?
The second video dives into a colorful, yet aggressive montage of the late 1980s and early 2000s commercials for lithium batteries: each type of battery seems to be replaced almost immediately by a better, more powerful, longer-lasting new one. Nixon’s practical aim has become a capitalist dream product, based on research from Nobel Prize-winning, both American and Japanese scientists, giving the search for a new energy source an international scope.
The third video slows down to the flow of a sales pitch. It zooms in on entrepreneur Elon Musk who talks about the possibilities of electric cars, ‘fuelled’ by sunlight. Lithium is as abundant as the shining sun, he seems to believe, which sounds environmentally aware, but on second sight it seems to be a justification to consume even more.
The fourth video combines the voices of scientists talking about the central role of batteries in modern society, with images of space travel, combined with a few of President Donald Trump’s nationalistic eruptions. Then the video cuts to Musk talking in front of an audience. Someone hails him as a kind of savior, but is this unseen man being genuine or sarcastic?
This sentiment is echoed in the images of the rocket: is it a metaphor for endless new possibilities or ways to escape destructive routines? What once were luxuries, Nixon states, at the end of the last video, have become necessities.
Exhibiting from 18 September 2020 to 15 August 2021, at Lithium curated by Ina Hollmann & Anastasia Kubrak at Het Nieuw Instituut. Design assisted and data analyzed by Crys Leung, sound designed by Yuval Reuven, text written by Maarten Buser, photographed by Johannes Schwartz.
Part 1 of 'A Charged Dream' (2020) Duration 1:24
Part 2 of 'A Charged Dream' (2020) Duration 1:24
Part 3 of 'A Charged Dream' (2020) Duration 1:29
Part 4 of 'A Charged Dream' (2020) Duration 1:44
'WEAVING STORIES' (2016-2018) x thonik x Alexandre Humbert
This documentary introduces the lives of Qiao Yun & Xiao Fang, the two experienced traditional Chinese brocade weavers.
With over 20 years of weaving experience, they wanted to weave a wedding gown for their own daughters whom are married earlier in the year, but their idea dropped, as they lack money and graphic design skills. thonik was invited by UNESCO to Nanjing to undertake an artistic residency, with the supports of Stimuleringfonds & Nanjing local government, the dutch designers decided to collaborate with Qiao Yun & Xiao Fang, which enable them to create a wedding gown for her daughter.
Exhibited on 14 June 2019 at 'It's A Women's World' Kaserne Basel, from 30 March to 2 June 2019 at 'Why We Design' - thonik's Solo Show at Power Station of Art in Shanghai, from 16 April to 24 May 2019 at 'Cultural Threads' TextielMuseum in Tilburg, from 14 October 2018 to 3 February 2019 at 'BLOOT' Kranenburgh Museum in Bergen and 'Dutch Design Week 2018' at Veemgebouw in Eindhoven.
'DESIGN DATE 2.0'
Alice Wong was role playing a Contemporary Jewelry Artist and a Digital Jewelry Artist at this on-stage matchmaking challenge, 'Design Date 2.0', through 2 rounds, hosted by Matylda Krzykowski to the discussion to questioning what value, personal and uniqueness mean within the two contexts, but also what the implications as these two contexts blend together. The physicality of precious metals is confronted by the facility of the touch screen, all the while ideas like sentimentality and desire remain as virtual as our profiles.
Design Date is a format that combines the exchange of knowledge with a bit of humour. seduction and awkwardness. In short: Entertainment. Inspired by the British TV programme, 'Blind Date', the anonymity of personalities is used to highlight the merits of personal design opinions and convictions.
Took place on 11 November 2017 at 'Joy of Collecting' hosted by Current Obsession at Tolhuis, Amsterdam.
‘RECONSTRUCTING REALITY' (2015)
Based on Alice Wong's personal story to demonstrate how storytellings shape our minds and our perceptions of reality.
This is a MA Information Design graduation project, after exhibited at Dutch Design Week 2015 and awarded Dioraphte Award by Nederlands Filme Festival in 2016, she was then scouted by film festival agency aug&ohr median (www.augohr.de/catalogue/reconstructing-reality), in the following years, 'Reconstructing Reality' has won Best Experimental Film Award from Crossroad Film Festival in 2018, Best Experimental Film Award from Unishorts 2017, Special Mention from One-Reeler Short Film Competition Los Angeles 2017, Best Film Editing Award from Bangalore Film Festival 2017 and Best Film Editing Award from I.V. Filmmerfest Hamburg 2017. In 2017, she was nominated for the Keep An Eye Grant & granted Talent development Grant by Stimuleringfonds.
Excerpt of 'RECONSTRUCTING REALITY' (2015) - Duration 1:00
To find out the truth behind the indication of the Happiness Index and to reveal the current societal issues that they were facing in Hong Kong, by interviewing the ‘Post-80’s’ 10 open questions regarding happiness.
In 2020, this group of interviewees will be interviewed again with the same sets of question, to compare and contrast the changes in the last decade.
According to the Happiness Index in 2010, Hong Kong people who were born after 1980 are getting harder to be happy in their own way, their general happiness index is 4.14, which is below the average as shown in a scientific research, 40% of Hong Kong people among this age group are feeling anxious. The label ‘Post-80’s’ does not represent anything good at all. The term ‘Post-80’s’ originated from the mainland China and was used to describe immature kids, now young adults, who were raised under the one-child policy and overly protected by their parents. They are generally known to be selfish and ignorant of current affairs.
'Happiness' is her graduation project when she studied Graphic Design at Caritas Bianchi College of Careers in Hong Kong. In 2010, she won Gold Award in Graphic Design at school and awarded Design Student of The Year 2010 by Hong Kong Designers Association.
Exhibited at Hong Kong Museum of History, The One and Central Oasis in 2011.
Transcripted by Lotty Lo, photographed by Koon Ka Kin, printed by John Lam.