The Classic of the Future
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant: stART Up Community
Arts Project 2021. In collaboration with Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation, Hong Kong.
Participating Schools: Helen Liang Memorial Secondary School (Shatin) and Sheung Shui Government Secondary School
The year is 2084, and all animals are extinct. As the technological imbalance causes havoc in human society, the imaginary country Contradictoria creates a series of artificial animals to serve its people and restore peace and order. Working with a group of local secondary school students, artist Michelle Fung shared this storyline and her own futuristic world-building work – loosely influenced by the classic Chinese text "The Classic of Mountain and Sea" on ancient mythological creatures and geography– to inspire participants to investigate animals that face extinction in the real world and explore adaptations that could help them survive.
Students first looked at the human activities that pollute and damage the natural habitats of endangered animals, then created futuristic animal sculptures of these creatures enhanced with features that could help them adapt and perhaps ensure their survival. Could ideas like this really help solve the devastating problem of mass extinctions facing the world today?
For the commissioned work, the artist created a landscape painting that serves as a backdrop for the students' AI animals, incorporating aspects such as habitats the students had designed for their AI animals. She further created Chinese poems in the style of "The Classic of Mountain and Sea" to describe these animals. Please click here for the full list of poems.
As part of exhibition activities, HKYAF and the artist also created educational activity videos for both primary and secondary schools.