Nov 11 2011

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre

by Ashley Lee

Exterior of the Run Run Shaw Creatie Media Centre, which is designed by Daniel Libeskind. Photo by John Gollings. Courtesy City University of Hong Kong. 

City University of Hong Kong’s Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre (CMC) opened with great fanfare on October 28. Built with a USD 100 million donation from media magnate Sir Run Run Shaw, the Daniel Libeskind-designed center houses an ambitious institution that aims to increase awareness and appreciation of new media art in Hong Kong.

The CMC building has received mixed reviews from architectural critics, its concrete-and-steel geometric form appearing alien amidst the Kowloon cityscape. The nine-story building will host City University’s School of Creative Media, the Centre for Applied Computing and Interactive Media and the computer science, media and communication, and English departments, as well as a theater, exhibition space, computer labs, classrooms and conference spaces.

Many faculty members hope that the CMC will set a new standard of discourse for the Hong Kong contemporary art community. Leung Chi-wo, a well-known artist and an assistant professor at the School of Creative Media, told ArtAsiaPacific: “Hong Kong has long been lacking an institution for higher education which is not only committed to train artists or creatives, but also contributes to the debate of contemporary art in a wider context by means of research and display. I really hope the CMC can fill this gap with its fantastic labs, experimental theatre and gallery facilities and our expanding interdisciplinary faculty from the School of Creative Media.”

Fellow associate professor and practicing artist, Hector Rodriguez, further elaborated on the School of Creative Media’s interdisciplinary academic goals: “The School of Creative Media is now developing a new undergraduate major in art and science, one of the first in the world, where students will not only learn basic artistic crafts in the areas of audiovisual thinking and interactivity but also work with experts in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and other disciplines. Thus the CMC will provide a locus where urgent contemporary topics can be addressed through interdisciplinary dialogue . . . to foster creative solutions to pressing problems in an unpredictable world.”

A lengthy series of exhibitions and programs, continuing until April 2012, has been planned to celebrate the CMC’s opening. Exhibitions include Scott Hessels’s ongoing “Sustainable Cinema” series (10/29-11/26), which consists of kinetic sculptures that produce moving images. “White Walls Have Ears” is a sound art series curated by associate professor Samson Young. Though it currently features American artist Ed Osborn’s Outfield, the December edition of the show will exhibit works by Hong Kong artists Warren Leung Chi-wo, Edwin Lo, Cedric Maridet, Kingsley Ng, Anthony Yeung and Young himself. The Centre has also planned several symposia about the relationship between art and science.

The CMC has opened at a crucial time given the rise in planned contemporary art spaces in Hong Kong, the most prominent examples being the West Kowloon Cultural District’s M+ museum and the Central Police Station revitalization project, and promises to give a boost to the generally conservative local scene. 

SCOTT HESSELS, Shadow Play, in the exhibition “Sustainable Cinema”, 2011. Courtesy City University of Hong Kong.