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Published: 12:24, June 17, 2022 | Updated: 12:24, June 17, 2022
Brave new worlds
By Amy Mullins
Published:12:24, June 17, 2022 Updated:12:24, June 17, 2022 By Amy Mullins

My Heart Is That Eternal Rose NFT. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last couple of years, you’ll have heard about the metaverse, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the democratization of art. NFTs in particular have taken up a lot of space, with critics calling them a 21st-century scam, and enthusiasts seeing them as a fun, accessible, authentic way to consume art. This month, seven programs at the new M+ Cinema and the classic film exhibition Cryptyques are asking audiences to reconsider how NFTs are connected to cinema.

Nomad NFT. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Whatever your feelings, it seems NFTs are here to stay, and so Hong Kong startup Beam+ Lab on June 8 launched the interactive NFT exhibition Cryptyques. Under the direction of Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya, the collection is based on classic moments from Hong Kong films, and designed to reenergize traditional film intellectual property as well as stimulate reflections on the human experience. On top of that, Cryptyques aims to defy “the norms of the entertainment industry, and set the tone of entertainment in the Web3 era — bringing forward a fairer and more collaborative model for creators”.

. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

With 3D technology, Cryptyques is re-creating 1,320 classic moments from 600 notable Hong Kong films, including Patrick Tam Kar-ming’s crime romance My Heart Is That Eternal Rose (1989) as well as 1982’s Nomad (starring the late Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing), about a group of disaffected friends trying to find their place in the world. The pre-minting exhibition (if you buy an NFT, you’ll be “minting”) is designed to “bridge the gap between the physical world and Web3 by offering a hybrid experience that unlocks the metaverse”. There will also be workshops, screenings and talks to help many of us better understand the emerging art landscape.

Accident. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

While Beam+ Lab pushes the boundaries of the future of media art and engagement, M+ Cinema (which also opened June 8) looks back to survey the landscape of cinema as a medium of expression, and puts it into context for past, present and future. But in many ways, Beam+ Lab and M+ are exploring similar themes and concepts of how we connect with art and media.

House 1, M+ Cinema. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

With three intimate auditoriums (the biggest holds 180 people), M+ Cinema’s programs trade in shorts, features and documentaries about art and artists, as well as experimental films and video art. The idea is to engage with audiences through artist talks, and cultivate an understanding of film as a discipline in a visual landscape that complements, rather than competes with, traditional art — M+’s core disciplines being visual arts, design and architecture. Watching a film and then waltzing into the main gallery to see a partnered artwork brings new meaning to both, and it’s among the reasons M+ has cinema in its DNA.

A perfect example of this is the inaugural screening series Hong Kong: The Establishing Shot, a program in direct dialogue with the museum’s current centerpiece exhibition, Hong Kong: Here and Beyond. Together they survey the city’s evolving “capacity as an activated stage where time, space and action intersect in compelling narratives”.

NFT clips play alongside a photo exhibition at Haus of Contemporary. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

The series’ nine films span the 1980s to the present — including Cheang Pou-soi’s breakout Accident and Ann Hui On-wah’s The Way We Are — and illustrate how the city has shaped identity and visual culture over the years. It’s a visual culture not limited to movies but extending to commercials and music videos, a selection of which will screen before the main features. The series also reassesses the defining action genre and how it has imprinted Hong Kong onto the global consciousness.

If you go

Cryptyques

Date: Through June 26

Venue: Haus of Contemporary, 9 On Lan Street, Central

cryptyques.com


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