Alan Tsz-wai Kwan

2014 FutureGreat Asia, selected by Jeff Leung

By Jeff Leung

Wake, 2014, (installation view), immersive cinema installation. Courtesy the artist

Alan Tsz-wai Kwan began making experimental sci-fi films in primary school. His fascination with memory and consciousness continued in university, where he produced works in various media exploring the relationship between memory and reality.

In 2011, before Google Glass was available to the public, Kwan started a ‘lifelogging’ practice by constructing his own video glasses and documenting one and a half years of his daily life. He then digitised and transferred the content into a video game system that enabled viewers to explore and experience his life. In addition to winning the Gold Award at the Incubator for Film & Visual Media in Asia (ifva) in Hong Kong, 2013, the piece, Bad Trip (2012), was also exhibited at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, and at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, in 2013. His work Wake (2014) attempts to transcend the visual, audio and interactive bounds of the motion picture theatre with a device that stimulates the viewer’s nervous system during horror films.

He is currently working on a new lifelogging series in which his memories and daily activities are divided into different stocks and sold in an online stock market. Through this system, the relationship between memory and future activities generates gains and losses in the market.

Like two of his favourite films, Being John Malkovich (1999) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Kwan’s works explore how personal memories play out in the realities of others. Kwan’s work displays daily life and personal memory in the format of video games and films to show the threat of commercialisation posed to ‘behaviour’ and ‘privacy’ in the context of contemporary culture, in which reality television and paparazzi are as ubiquitous as mental health treatment.

Translated from Chinese by Philana Woo and originally published in the Autumn & Winter 2014 issue of ArtReview Asia, in association with EFG International.