new media festival Immersion found a new home this year, at Muzium Telekom in Kuala Lumpur.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this fourth edition of the event (free entry) presents 12 immersive installations, workshops and talks by November 27.
These commissioned works examine what it means to be human in a technologically changing world, exploring the shifting boundaries between the natural and the artificial, art and science, tradition and technology.
Pamela Tan’s Armadillo is one of the works on display, a one-piece laser-cut steel installation presented in the form of a dome with circular patterned plates.
This intricate interplay of light and shadow evokes scenes of wayang kulit (shadow puppets), with patterns inspired by Malaysia’s many cultures, including Dayak, Malay, Indian and Chinese.
Tan designed the circular plaques to be detachable, revealing the silhouette of a stylized human head, offering each viewer a suggestion of a representation of “self”.
“Armadillo represents the diversity of the Malaysian community and of all people, regardless of their differences; judging no one and celebrating everything. It reminds us that only by accepting our differences can we survive in times of conflict. The title Armadillo pays tribute to the people of East Malaysia who often feel left out in the grand Malaysian setting,” Tan wrote in a Facebook post.
Another interactive installation is that of Sarawakian artist Tristan Lo Tending the garden of infinity multimedia work, where visitors are encouraged to wave their hands at specified positions to reveal a Bunga Kantan (ginger flower) which blooms gradually. Once you stop moving, the flower will slowly shrink and disappear from sight.
This is a virtual interpretation of the “tree of life” motif which symbolizes a cyclical existence in which every beginning has an end, and every end has a new beginning.
The installation stimulates a meditative effect in the hope that visitors would ponder these interconnections and experience a whole new way of observing the universe.
For the first time, Sabah-based art collective Pangrok Sulap, known for its woodblock prints, is exhibiting MDF woodblocks instead of woodblock prints in Marine life.
This multimedia audio-visual installation depicts aquatic creatures carved from wood that come to life, “swimming” out of MDF blocks in an ocean that changes from pure to polluted.
The sound of ocean waves accompanies this presentation, a reminder of the impact of our actions on our oceans and ecosystems.
Immersion is hosted by Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) through its foundation, Yayasan TM (YTM), in collaboration with local new media art collective Filamen.
The festival opens with the theme Mengukir (carve), an examination of how new forms of media and digital technologies are creating new opportunities to create more meaningful relationships between people, our cultural heritage and the world.
“Immersion aims to become a major platform for local and international artists in art and technology. We hope this will encourage more young talent in digital media and new media arts,” says Abdul Shakir, co-founder of Filamen.
“This platform also aims to connect and engage different communities to make arts and technology more engaging and accessible. We look forward to building Immersion into a premier art and technology festival in the region and internationally,” he adds.
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