A Gigantic Public Artwork About Hong Kong’s Protests Was Quietly Censored in the Middle of Art Basel Week
A large-scale artwork on show during Hong Kong Art Week was removed after the artist revealed that the work is embedded with hidden messages supporting the jailed pro-democracy activists. Pro-Beijing media accused the artwork of being “pro black rioters,” referring to those who participated in the months-long pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in 2019.
Titled No Rioters, the digital moving image work by Los Angeles-based artist Patrick Amadon was part of the video exhibition “The Sound of Pixels,” organized by the Milan-based Art Innovation Gallery. The screening featured works by more than 70 digital artists from around the world on a LED billboard that measures 230 feet by 67 feet and was on view until today, March 23. The screen, the largest of its kind in region, hangs on the facade of a department store in the shopping district of Causeway Bay.
Amadon’s moving image work depicts a CCTV surveillance camera. After the screening launched, the artist revealed on social media that he secretly embedded names of the jailed political prisoners who were accused of violating the national security law, which was imposed in 2020 after the protests; details about their sentences and crimes flash across Amadon’s glitchy, stylized video.
The work’s title is part of a popular protest slogan from the 2019 Hong Kong protests: “No rioters, only a tyrannical regime.”
The artist’s message was first reported by local media outlets, and soon after the state-owned outlet Wen Wei Po ran a story on Wednesday, March 22, accusing the work of being “pro black rioters.” The work was removed a day early from the screening schedule (which ran until today) by the owners of the department store, Sogo.
“Art week in Hong Kong pretend[s] the Chinese government didn’t crush a democracy and turn Hong Kong in a vassal surveillance state for a week because it’s a convenient location for a good market,” Amadon told Artnet News. “I think it sends the message that money can buy absolution yet again.”
Amadon said he knew the work could be controversial, but added that its total censorship was unexpected. “I knew the protesters’s names, ages, and sentences would be out of bounds. But it is art, and a few years ago this would have been an acceptable and legal expression,” the artist said.
Amadon did not tell Art Innovation Gallery about the hidden messages in the flashing text ahead of the exhibition launch. “[I] didn’t want [to force] the responsibility or liability of knowing on them,” he said. “Did I think it would cause this firestorm? No. I wouldn’t have imagined it would agitate as much as it obviously did. Guess it touched a nerve.”
In response to Artnet News’s enquiry, Art Innovation Gallery’s founder and CEO Francesca Boffetti said that the gallery was notified by their mediator that the owners of Sogo decided to take Amadon’s work off of display, and added that the gallery respected Sogo’s decision. “Art Innovation is based in Milan and in Europe, [where] there is freedom of expression. In China, the culture is different from ours,” Boffetti told Artnet News.
Sogo and its owner Lifestyle International did not respond to Artnet News’s requests for comments.
The removal of No Rioters came after Tuesday’s cancellation of the release of a British slash horror movie Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. The film, which was approved by the local censorship board, was originally scheduled for a theatrical release in Hong Kong today, March 23. But the distributor backpedaled, announcing the sudden cancellation while citing “technical reasons,” adding that they were told by cinemas that the film could not be shown. The incident sparked speculations as the image of the cartoon figure had been previously linked to the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Winnie the Pooh has been banned in China.
Both incidents happened as Hong Kong celebrates its post-pandemic return to the international stage amid the opening of Art Basel Hong Kong alongside various art events at cultural institutions. The international art world has descended on Hong Kong, but the city is noticeably different. There were also reports of increasing self-censorship following the implementation of the sweeping national security law in 2020.
Artists slam Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster art & claim it’s “AI generated” – Dexerto
Fans of the long-dormant Duke Nukem series were elated to see a remaster of the first 2 games getting announced, but that excitement has been dampened by people calling out the game’s key art for being “AI generated”.
AI has been rapidly developing as of late, getting implemented in an increasing number of ways for people to generate images and text by feeding certain AI programs a prompt to work from.
AI art has become just as controversial as it has been prominent, and people are increasingly wary of AI-generated images replacing the work of real artists.
Article continues after ad
When the promotional art for the Duke Nukem 1 + 2 Remasters released, the joy of many fans was traded out for disdain, with many claiming that the art wasn’t created by an actual artist. To prove their point, several artists put together a detailed analysis of the image to try and explain why they think the artist that was hired didn’t do all his work by hand.
Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under fire for “AI generated” art
When AI art first started taking the internet by storm, it was pretty easy to discern what was and wasn’t real. Though some images were more convincing than others, things like hands, facial expressions, and other small details didn’t quite line up with what a human artist would produce.
Article continues after ad
However, as the technology rapidly advances, it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference. For instance, the cover art for a book by the name of Bob the Wizard was exposed as being AI generated after it won a cover art contest, with the author of the book now working with a different artist to replace it.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
Now, Duke Nukem fans and artists are calling out Oskar Manuel, claiming that he used AI to generate the cover for the Duke Nukem 1+2 Remaster under the nose of Evercade, the company promoting the remaster.
Article continues after ad
It hasn’t been confirmed by the artist or Evercade whether or not Manuel used AI in the production of art for the title, but several artists and gamers have swarmed the account, claiming that art from Manuel’s portfolio seems to be AI-generated.
One artist went out of their way to mark the places in which they think the art most clearly shows its faults and other examples of art from Manuel’s portfolio that includes things like clocks with no hands and characters with 6 fingers.
Article continues after ad
Neither Evercade nor Manuel have commented further on the matter at the time of writing, and the story is still developing.
Global BC sponsors Vancouver Art Gallery: Fashion Fictions – GlobalNews Events – Global News
On now until October 9
Vancouver Art Gallery
Head to the Vancouver Art Gallery for Fashion Fictions,
This exhibition explores the increasing influence of research-based, materially driven practices on the global fashion scene, and surveys experimental design practices pushing the boundaries of the art form.
Proudly sponsored by Global BC.
Details at VanArtGallery.bc.ca
Poland's quest to retrieve priceless Nazi-looted art – BBC
When the Nazis occupied Poland in World War Two, many of the country’s priceless pieces of art were stolen.
One of those was Madonna with Child, a 16th Century painting attributed to Italian Alessandro Turchi. A Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art included the painting on a list of hundreds taken from occupied Poland.
It is one of 600 looted artworks that Poland has managed to successfully bring home, but more than 66,000 so-called war losses are yet to be recovered.
Poland recently launched a campaign seeking the return of hundreds of thousands artworks and other cultural items still missing after German and Soviet occupations in World War Two. It is also seeking $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for damage incurred by occupying Nazis.
Experts believe more art will be discovered with the passage of time as heirs to looted artwork attempt to sell pieces without being aware of their history.
Madonna with Child is thought to have been transferred to Germany in 1940 during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The Nazis often looted art belonging to Jewish families before killing them.
The painting was included on a list of 521 artworks in occupied Poland compiled by Kajetan Mühlmann, a Nazi official who oversaw the looting of art.
The painting reappeared in the 1990s, when it was sold at a New York auction.
It was due to be auctioned in January last year, but the sale was halted after Polish authorities spotted the piece. Once it was proven to be the looted painting, the auction house and the painting’s owner agreed to return it to Poland. An official handing-over ceremony took place in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Polish art historian Natalia Cetera said the return of masterpieces like Madonna with Child help restore pride in the country’s art heritage.
Poland had Rembrandt and Raphael pieces stolen, as well as internationally recognised Polish masterpieces, she said.
“So whenever there is this situation where the artworks come back to Polish collections, you feel proud because it shows the importance of Polish collections that is sometimes forgotten,” Ms Cetera told the BBC.
“It means we have some strong focus on remembering our heritage, our collections and the strength we used to have in art, because this is something we tried to rebuild after the war and this is a long process to be recognised again.”
Ms Cetera says she believes there has been a shift in recent years in cultural heritage “being seen as a common good”.
Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, has spent more than 30 years finding missing masterpieces. He believes that more pieces could start showing up as looted artwork gets handed down to the next generation, with the new heirs unaware of their history.
“We’re talking about a generation ago now and these looted objects are being left to their heirs when the possessors pass away and the children don’t necessarily know the history and they decide to sell it,” Mr Marinello said.
Polish authorities have recorded stolen pieces of artwork on Interpol and other private and government databases.
“There’s also a great number of art historians out there who are doing research of looted artworks from Poland and they’re spotting them too,” Mr Marinello said.
“The more that tech improves and auction houses start to post everything online, there’s more eyes looking for the objects that have been looted.”
Mr Marinello believes there is also a “generational shift” in attitudes to stolen masterpieces. He’s currently working on a case where a man in Chicago contacted him about a piece he believed his grandfather stole from a German museum in World War Two.
“They’d had it for an entire generation and now they realise that they can’t sell it and that they would rather give it back than have any more trouble over the issue.”
But the law varies from country to country, and sometimes a stolen piece can only be returned with the goodwill of the current owner.
Japan, where Madonna with Child was found, “is not a great country to recover stolen art from”, Mr Marinello says.
“It’s really up to the possessor in many cases to do the right thing… to understand that something was looted or stolen and that it should be returned, because you can’t rely on a lawsuit under Japanese law,” he said.
Ms Cetera said that the successful retrieval of Madonna with Child was a source of pride, but is unsure whether the passion for bringing stolen artwork back to Poland will continue with future generations.
“The question is whether it is important to the next generation – Gen Z and younger generations, do they really care? From what I observe, this might not be the case,” she said.
Digitised art collections might mean people losing interest in the physical form, she said.
“At some point maybe we won’t have to retrieve artworks… because we will have it in the Cloud and we will be able to reach it any time anywhere, no matter who has it.
“This digitisation and tech that is coming might at some point suppress the need of retrieving physical artworks.”
You may also be interested in:
Scientists discover mysterious cosmic threads in Milky Way – The Guardian
Equities may rally since the U.S. economy remains strong: Dennis Mitchell – BNN Bloomberg
Man charged after allegedly threatening to shoot Toronto mayoral candidates, police say – CBC.ca
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Science13 hours ago
Private Astronaut Crew, Including First Arab Woman in Orbit, Returns from Space Station – Voice of America – VOA News
Science9 hours ago
Private astronaut crew, including first Arab woman in orbit, returns from space station – Indiatimes.com
Media12 hours ago
Will Google's AI Plans Destroy the Media? – New York Magazine
News12 hours ago
Air Canada flight communicator system breaks down, causing widespread delays – CBC.ca
Real eState10 hours ago
Victoria real estate sales up and prices down year-over-year – Times Colonist
Sports12 hours ago
Brad Treliving on the criticism the Maple Leafs’ core players face in the market. "Whether it’s raining or sunny, it seems to be the core four’s fault every day… Quite frankly, I don’t want to hear the [core four] term"
News13 hours ago
Digital banking complications resolved at RBC – CTV News
News9 hours ago
Air Canada flight delays at Toronto Pearson | CTV News – CTV News Toronto