Headlines: Hong Kong, Mountains and Google

1) Public Countdown Clock Stirs Controversy in Hong Kong

A photo of the Add Oil Team's Countdown Machine


A public installation by the Chinese art duo Add Oil Team has angered officials in Hong Kong and mainland China. The installation by Sampson Wong Yu-hin and Jason Lam Chi-fai, built for the Human Vibrations public media art festival, which runs through June 22nd, was originally pitched as a more benign light installation of digital numbers counting down over the surface of the International Commerce Center building in Kowloon, Hong Kong. However, when it was turned on for the first time it was revealed as a countdown clock to July 1st, 2047 – the date when Hong Kong’s legal “One Country, Two Systems” agreement with China officially expires. The date is a major point of contention for both Hong Kong and China, and represents a great deal of uncertainty for the future of Hong Kong.


2) A Portrait of Seven Magic Mountains


A photo of Ugo Rondinone's Seven Magic Mountains


Here’s an interesting interview with Ugo Rondinone, and a look at his newest installation Seven Magic Mountains. The work, consisting of seven stacks of boulders, each painted a bright, almost garish color, placed along a road just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. The interview goes into the long process of getting such a large public work approved – partly in conjunction with the project, a new law was passed that reduces the liability of the artist should someone injure themselves “[doing] something stupid” around the artwork. The “mountains” themselves are beautifully monumental and create a truly magical contrast with the wide open space of the Nevada Desert.


3) Shortlist Announced for Sobey Art Award


William Robinson's Young PrayerWilliam Robinson, Young Prayer


Canada’s prestigious Sobey Art Award has released this year’s shortlist of the top artists under 40. The winner will receive $50,000CAD. The nominees this year include Vancouver-and-Berlin-based media artist Jeremy Shaw, and mixed media artist Hajra Waheed, from Quebec. Brenda Draney, William Robinson and Charles Stankievich represent the prairies, the Maritimes, and Ontario, respectively. The prize is announced on November 1st.


4) Google Asks Whether Machines Can Make Art


A Google AI generating an original music composition at MoogFest


Google has released a new project titled Magenta, aimed at answering the question of whether machines can produce creative materials such as music and visual art. The project is part of Google Brain, the tech giant’s “deep learning” program, that also spawned Deep Dream, the computer “vision” program in which an AI produces prompted original images based on a huge database of visual knowledge. Magenta’s eventual goal is to produce a series of open-source tools that creative individuals can use to aid in their pursuits. 

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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