Casting Light

  • ©ISEA2016: 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Kingsley Siu King Ng, Casting Light
  • Moon.gate at Guangzhou Triennial, 2012, Installation © Kingsley Ng _ Osage Gallery


Session Title:

  • Cultural Heritage and Preservation

Presentation Title:

  • Casting Light




  • In 1889, German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz proved that electric waves and optical waves shared the same anatomy. His theory was cited by curators Peter Weibel and Gregor Jansen as their lead to “Light Art”, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions in the field, at the ZKM. Ever since then, light art has been part of the discourse of electronic art, not only for their shared energy properties, but also their symbolic or phenomenological manifestations.

    My works have always an exploration of light as a medium, and its essential quality. As compared to a majority of works which delve into the materiality of light itself, my practice does not call for attention to light as a subject, but makes visible what already exists. It casts light on my subjects of inquiry, usually context-related. On the occasion of the 22nd ISEA held in Hong Kong, a place noted as the brightest city on the planet, I will share a selection of my works to expand the understanding of light art, particularly on how they interplay with the sensorial bombardment in urban environments.

    Record: Light from +22° 16′ 14″ +114° 08′ 48″ (2008) draws attention to flashes from tourists’ cameras at the Peak, normally washed out in the neon-lit spectacle of a typical Hong Kong night. Moon.gate (2011-present) intertwines digitally rendered light and shadow with an ambiguous rendering of reality and simulation, creating a heterotopia where the audience experiences the coexistence of both active and contemplative states of being. While the aforementioned works are primarily presented in gallery settings, Tête-bêche (2013) is an actual intervention in the city. A tram is turned into a camera obscura to give passengers a moment of contemplation, as reversed images of the city glide across the tram’s interior as it moves along its routine paths. As light is cast on the contexts to illuminate narrative experiences and moments of contemplation, at the same time, my works are an inquiry to very nature of this medium.