Virtual Frontiers, Art and Tilt Brush

Hidden away in the corner of the Collectors Lounge is Virtual Frontiers, Art Basel‘s collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, the results of a group of artists who were invited to create works using the Tilt Brush virtual reality app. And if you wondered why you needed to upgrade your pc and buy a VR headset, Tilt Brush a 3D drawing and painting application is that reason. Released a year ago (sadly only for Windows) it is quite amazing both in the creative sense and in the exploration of other’s creations.

The artists invited to explore and create with Tilt Brush for Art Basel included Cao Fei, Robin Rhode, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang who attended residencies at Google’s offices in Beijing and Paris to create the series of interactive works on display during the show and in which you can literally climb inside and explore the creations.

Eternal Landscape (2017), Yang Yongliang‘s Tilt Brush work uses the ‘Shan Shui’, traditional style of Chinese ink painting that depicts scenery or natural landscapes and is often considered to be one of ancient China’s most important contributions to the history of art. ‘Eternal Landscape’ recreates a traditional Shan Shui landscape in a virtual immersive realm, while trying to preserve the classical aesthetics.

With Gusheshe (2017), which in South African township slang translates to ‘go faster’ or ‘very fast’, Robin Rhode references the BMW E30, a model that was produced and driven on the streets of the townships of South Africa in the early 1990’s, a politically tumultuous time for the country. Rhode took inspiration from the iconic street culture in South Africa and re-imagined ‘Gusheshe’ animated in a virtual setting.

The Previous Life of the Yimatu Mountain (2017) by Sun Xun is a portrait of Yimatu, the highest mountain in Fuxin in Liaoning Province, the artist’s hometown. It focuses on the way the artist imagines what life around the Yimatu mountain would have been like in the past.

Cao Fei’s mixed reality film, titled Derivation Blurs the Virtual and Physical Worlds (2017), declares a utopian future where walls and societal restrictions are broken and new conversations and new possibilities emerge.

In addition to being able to explore the VR artworks the ‘Conversations‘ part of Art Basel features Cao Fei and Yang Yongliang in conversation with Freya Murray, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture. They will discuss the artists’ approach to making art in virtual reality, the impact virtual tools such as Tilt Brush can have on artistic practice and more broadly on the arts in general. The talk will take place at the fair in the auditorium on level 1, at the entrance of Hall 1A of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on Wednesday, March 22 at 3.30pm. If you can’t make it, all the talks from the fair can be watch here later www.artbasel.com/hongkong/conversations.

Treating Your Tastebuds

The Taste of Hong Kong festival returns for it’s second year to the Central Harbourfront. This year there are 16 restaurants participating and all will offer four taster portion sized plates: three standard items at prices $50-$200 and one iconic dish that could cost up to $420.

Payment this year is only by credit card, if you don’t have a credit card then you can buy a prepaid ($200, $300, $800) one at the festival or from any bank. The remaining balance can used after the festival at other shops around town.

So the big question is how to enjoy and get the most from Taste and sample all the dishes you want to… There are two main approaches to Taste, the casual wander where you sample and join the queues that take your interest. But really this relaxed approach while enjoyable does not bring the best out of the festival.

To get the most from Taste, you need a little advance planning and it’s best to go with three or more friends. Firstly download and peruse the menu, chose which dishes you want to try and then ‘rank’ them in a rough order. This gives you the restaurants you want to visit, and with around 3,000 people per session, you’ll be queuing, which realistically limits one person to 4-6 restaurants.

But this is where your friends come in. Choose a meeting/eating point and then each of you joins a different restaurant queue and buys 4 (or more depending on your friends orders/preferences) of each dish. Meet-up, eat-up, enjoy and repeat… Remember to bring a tray, or something similar, with you to help you carry all the dishes!

To whet your tastebuds here’s a list of some of the dishes that are available:

Amber: Fukuoka line caught Spanish mackerel cured & torched, Miyazaki Hyuganatsu.
Arcane: Rangers Valley wagyu short rib served with green beans, confit garlic and pepper sauce.
Café Gray Deluxe: Brittany Diver scallop, XO emulsion and Amalfi lemon.
Chino: Uni/ truffle/ spicy lobster tostada.
Duddell’s: Pan fried M9 Australian wagyu wasabi soy sauce.
Kaum: Ikan Belut – Sambal Hijau, pan-fried eel fillet served with char-grilled chilli, shallots, tomatoes and coconut oil relish.
Mercato: Black truffle lobster carbonara
Okra: Sea urchin a la mode – Murasaki uni with smoked jelly and sea water.
Rhoda: slow cooked Hawke’s Bay lamb shoulder, spiced cauliflower and cumin.
Tin Lung Heen: Barbecued Iberian pork with honey.
Tosca: Prime beef in pizzaiola sauce.
Yardbird: Yuzu chilli hot wings with fermented yuzu chilli sauce.
Zuma: Grilled Hakkinton pork skewer with miso and pickled daikon.

As well as these tasty dishes there’s several food shops, importers and a market offering a wide range of products to take home and enjoy. There are also food demonstrations and talks.

A little planning will treat you and your palate to a fine, if teasing, meal.

Taste of Hong Kong
Date: 16-19 March, 2017
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $678, $198, $168 from Ticketflap

Edited: The menu card only list 15 restaurants, there are 16 participating. We have updated the article to reflect that.

Goût de France 2017

Goût de France / Good France returns on the 21 March to tease and tantalise tastebuds globally. Orchestrated by chef Alain Ducasse and the French government with the intent to showcase the French way of life, regional produce, and France as a tourist destination. Goût de France is inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who launched a Dîners d’Épicure (Epicurean Dinners) initiative in 1912: the same menu, on the same day, in several world cities, for as many guests as possible.

This year over 2,000 chefs on 5 continents are creating a special menu to celebrate French gastronomy and joie de vivre. Locally 15 restaurants are participating at a wide range of price points, with some menu offerings only available on the 21 March, while others are on offer all week.

The Good France menu should include an aperitif with finger food, a starter, one or two main course(s), a cheese platter and a dessert, accompanied by French wines and champagnes. The outlets taking part locally this year are:

Akrame (Wanchai)
AOC Eat & Drink
(Wanchai)
B.A.M le garde manger (Sheung Wan)
Brasserie on the Eighth (Admiralty)
Chez Raymond de Paris (Sai Kung)
Epure (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Fleur de Sel (Causeway Bay)
La Cabane Wine Bistro (Central)
La Table de Patrick (Central)
Le Bistro Winebeast (Wanchai)
Otto Restaurant & Bar (Causeway Bay)
Petrus (Admiralty)
Privé (Ponte 16, Macau)
Rech by Alain Ducasse (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Stan Café (Stanley)

For more details on the individual menus see each restaurants website and for more on Goût de France see www.goodfrance.com

Abigail Reynolds and The Ruins of Time: The Lost Libraries of the Silk Road

British artist, Abigail Reynolds, winner of the BMW Art Journey will unveil her project The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road at Art Basel later his month.

A five-month-long exploration into the complex religious and secular narratives of Europe and Asia, Reynolds journeyed along the Silk Road by motorbike to investigate the sites of former libraries she discovered in her research, and document what she found at each location. You can read her fascinating travelogue here http://bmw-art-journey.com/journey/abigail-reynolds

Reynolds said of the project, “A library is a compendium of knowledge, a group identity. I went to places where all that meaning has been voided, recently or in the distant past. The journey itself was challenging and huge, encompassing three quarters of the globe, traversing multiple cultures, none familiar to me. The journey brought me to the edges of my knowing, just as the lost libraries brought me to the edge of visuality.”

Reynolds’ journey took her to sites in China, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Iran dating from 291 BC to 2011. Where she gathered material in various forms including 3D scans, photography, microscope imagery, written text, plans and cataloguing systems. Based on this extensive research, she has created a cluster of book forms, prints, collages and moving-image works which will be on display at Art Basel.

Images, texts and other documents originating from the trip are going to be included in a book – thus completing a journey that both starts and ends with the institution of the library.

Braids, Deep in Hong Kong

“In my position I’m the slut/ I’m the bitch/ I’m the whore/ The one that you hate” Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s lyrics on Braids‘ Miniskirt are blunt and to the point, but with strong vocals and some mesmerising beats from friends and fellow band members Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith they hit home.

Ahead of the Montreal based three piece’s much anticipated return to Hong Kong for a gig at Hidden Agenda on the 7 March, bc spoke to Raphaelle Standell-Preston about success and the future.

With the immense impact and success of Miniskirt and Companion, how difficult is it /was it to begin writing again?
I don’t really feel like we have that much outside pressure acting on us so it’s been very easy to begin writing again. It’s our favourite thing to do so it’s what we most look forward to doing! Also we have a DIY label and are self-managed so there is no big shot label or team that we have to impress or provide for. It’s very chill 😉

How is the progress going on a new album? Where will it move musically and lyrically?
It’s been an interesting journey thus far. A lot has happened in the world since starting the record 6 months ago that have impacted all of us deeply. Being next to America we feel their struggle and it highlights here in Canada issues that have been left unattended to like immigration and Aboriginal rights, to name a couple.

We’ve been talking a lot in the studio about our position and what our responsibility is to our community and our planet. Lyrically these conversations have been coming out in little bits and pieces, it’s too early to tell what angle the record will take.

Also with the world feeling so tumultuous right now we’ve been using our music as a way to improve the mood or as a way to scream out or play out some of our frustrations. We’re writing better music than we ever have before, and I’m really excited to see how some of the songs change and grow after this tour in Asia.

Did you find that ‘success’ has created new pressures and expectations for the new album. Have those expectations/ pressures made it harder to create new material?
No pressures felt currently from any outside sources. It’s really just from ourselves and that we want to write better music because we all have it in us to.

Why do so many of your songs last 6 minutes plus (not complaining as I think they’re great, just curious.)
Hmmmm, I think it’s because we like going on musical journeys together. Also we never have a shortage of ideas. I think our difficulty is choosing which ideas to get rid of. We tend to be a little to precious with keeping things. This is something we’re trying to get better at… If it’s just good get rid of it! It needs to feel excellent!

Why do you think your lyrics resonates so well with men and women? Thank you, that’s kind of you to say. I think because I tend to write about the human experience a lot, and I often try to write in a gender neutral way, except for in Miniskirt… I took the angle that I am a woman talking about the female experience.

Do you find the increased options for music Spotify, Bandcamp, Facebook etc make it easier for a band to survive financially?
Absolutely not. Streaming music is the worst thing you can do for the financial survival and really the survival of a band. If you aren’t making money you can’t rent a space or pay for mixing or pay for the costs of putting out a record. It sucks that people think music should be free or $9.99 for ALL THE MUSIC IN THE WORLD. Do you realise how cheap this is!? With Spotify the average musician who isn’t Taylor Swift and can negotiate a higher price, is paid$0.006 and $0.0084.per stream of a track.

Meaning that in order to pay for one record which is $10, someone would have to listen to the tracks 1667 times. Have you ever listened to a track 1667 times!? It’s honestly the worst paying system ever. I can’t believe it’s gotten as big as it has. Yes it increases the bands ability to connect with a larger audience but then you are expected to spend the rest of your life touring as this is the best way to make money as a musician now.

It’s very different for artists like Drake or Rhianna, they make millions off of Spotify and Apple music, but the average band that pulls in 200-1000 people per show isn’t making the bulk of their money from people purchasing their music, it’s from touring their asses off! The best way to support musicians is to purchase their records at the show or to order it from their record label or to head to a local record shop. Also the more we support online streaming the fewer record stores are going to be able to survive, and record perusing is seriously fun and really important for local communities.

Touring globally do you find that audiences like the same songs or do you find different songs popular in different parts of the world?
I find our louder songs go over really well with American audiences. Our music can get very visceral and physical in America. Europeans tend to be superb listeners so we can get away with playing really delicate songs there. That’s really all I’ve noticed !

I read an interview (Consequence of Sound) where you said the songs on Deep In The Iris were written to allow you more freedom when playing them live. Are you enjoying touring Deep In The Iris/Companion more because they allow for more live expression, energy and emotion?
Absolutely! Touring Flourish // Perish was so hard because we wrote these really on the grid electronic songs that were so difficult to feel free when playing. A goal with Deep In The Iris was to be able to be lose and free with it. To be able to push and pull it and be human with it.

We don’t use any click tracks and nothing is on the grid. There are no long samples or loops so though we have a lot of digital gear on stage, all the playing is done in real time. It makes it not feel the same night after night. It’s very liberating.

As you’ve toured have you found that any of the songs have evolved in ways you didn’t expect?
Yes all the songs have grown in big and beautiful ways. I always wish we could rerecord the record after touring them for a 2 years. I guess that is the point of a live record! Something that I hope we do at some point 🙂

Some of my favourite Braids recordings are the live gigs from Knitting Factory, KEXP and CJSW. With the ease of releasing live recordings of gigs, why don’t you release your live shows? Especially as the performances are more likely to be different each show?
I think we will release something we are proud of at some point that is live.

What other artist’s song would you like to cover / record, play live?
I would love to play some Dolly Parton covers. But we’re not much of a cover band. I don’t think we will ever cover a song live. You’re only playing for 45 minutes – 1 hour usually and with our songs being as long as they are sometimes it doesn’t make for much time to spare 😉

Catch Braids live at Hidden Agenda on the 7 March, 2017

Braids
Support: So It Goes
Date: 8pm, 7 March, 2017
Venue: Hidden Agenda
Tickets: $320, $260 (Advance) from Ticketflap

Hong Kong And The Commonwealth

Although Hong Kong ceased to be a member of the Commonwealth in 1997, it still has strong links through its business, legal and sports community.

The modern Commonwealth is a free association of 52 independent nations with historical links and shared values of democracy, rule-of-law, tolerance and diversity. With a population of 2.3 billion (nearly a third of humanity, with the majority under 25) it represents a very strong soft-power network or ‘Platform for the Future’. It is also characterized by the use of the English language. In the light of Brexit the Commonwealth may be ripe for a renaissance

Hong Kong has an active branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) which provides a network for citizens of Commonwealth countries (especially Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa) and their Consuls-General to come together at speaker lunches, cocktails, exhibitions and concerts. There is also an annual Essay Competition and Charity Ball.

The RCS (HK Branch) is particularly keen to attract more young people as members and has therefore introduced more informal, fun events.

This year, Commonwealth Day falls on 13 March and there will be a reception in the Garden Lounge of the Hong Kong Club with British Consul-General, Andrew Heyn, reading the Queen’s Commonwealth Message at 7.30pm. Anyone in Hong Kong is welcome join the RCS. Annual subscription is $500 and $250 for those under 35. See www.rcshk.com

 

Captain Babar Hayat Scores Magnificent 141 Not Out

ICC sanctioned First Class cricket finally made it’s long awaited debut in Hong Kong and captain Babar Hayat ensured it would be a milestone day for his side with a magnificent unbeaten century.

Hayat the owner of the first, First Class and T20 International hundreds by a Hong Kong player, added another feather to his cap with an unbeaten 141 as Hong Kong amassed 366-3 on day one of the ICC Intercontinental Cup match against The Netherlands.

Sent in to bat after losing the toss, debutant Matt Stiller and Chris Carter got Hong Kong off to a spritely start, scoring 50 runs in the first 10 overs with crisp drives a feature of their play. Stiller eventually nicked a good delivery from Vivian Kingma for 42, but the 90-run partnership had laid a strong platform.

Carter and Hayat continued to score freely, guiding Hong Kong to 121-1 at lunch. Although The Netherlands’ bowling attack was hampered by an injury to opening bowler Timm Van Der Gugten, who suffered a shoulder injury while diving in the outfield.

After the break, the spin of Roelof Van De Merwe slowed progress somewhat but Hong Kong again only lost one wicket in the session, that of Chris Carter for 84 – his highest First Class score.

Resuming at 227-2 after tea, Hayat and Nizakat Khan played with freedom. Babar’s century, courtesy of an ungainly dive, came from 162 balls, while Nizakat raised his 50 in 89 balls.

The partnership was worth 117 when Nizakat fended a ball to second slip following the introduction of the second new ball. The day was already Hong Kong’s at that point and the Hayat and Anshuman Rath (23*) partnership added 53 before the close. The home side are in a strong position to accelerate further on day two.

“The boys got off to a really good start and then when I came in they kept supporting me,” Hayat said. “I’ve never batted for this long before so I’m really pleased with this, we were thinking 230 or 240 would be a good score at the end of the day so we are looking forward to hopefully putting 500 on the board tomorrow.”

“The guys have been working really hard on our batting and everyone was feeling good coming into today so pleasing to put a good performance on the board.” Hayat continued “We lost the toss but thankfully they chose to bowl first, hopefully the wicket can spin on day three and four.”

Additional reporting and images: HK Cricket

Taste of Hong Kong 2017

The Taste of Hong Kong returns for a second year to Central Harbourfront from 16 to 19 March. This year’s festival features an increased number of Hong Kong’s top restaurants, confirmed so far are Amber, Arcane (Sunday only), Cafe Grey Deluxe, Chino, Duddell’s, Kaum at Potato Head (Thursday & Friday only), Mercato, Okra (Saturday only), Rhoda, Tin Lung Heen, Tosca, Yardbird and Zuma with perhaps three more to come. Each restaurant will serve four taster portion sized plates: three standard items at prices $50-$200 and one iconic dish that could cost anything…

So what is Taste? The concept is that you can sample taster size portions of dishes from restaurants that you might never visit and create a meal from a range of cuisines. It is a interesting idea, sort of like changing restaurants between each course of a meal – and organisers IMG have turned it into a very profitable global concept.

bc was underwhelmed by last year’s event, not by the concept but by the execution – read the report here. We do love food though, so we spoke to IMG about how they’re looking to ‘improve the experience’ this year.

As HongKongers we’re accustomed to queuing but IMG have said they’ll be working with the participating chefs and restaurants to improve the service efficiency. Increase the information about which dishes are still available, including having far more of the icon dishes per session. As well as having drinks carts serving people in the queues.

There is to be more seating, covered and uncovered. A wider range of entertainment and more artisan shops to purchase food and drink from. Plus an expanded range of talks about food and wine.

The invited chefs look to have a better understanding of the concept and several of the icon dishes show they’re looking to offer something unique at Taste.

IMG appear to have addressed a lot of the frustrations that dampened enjoyment last year with some more improvements yet to announced but it all sounds promising for a tasty event in March.

Taste of Hong Kong
Date: 16-19 March, 2017
Venue: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: $678, $198, $168 from Ticketflap