Digital art exhibition inspired by Hue's historic legacy
Step into a fusion of history and cutting-edge technology as Songlab unveils a 1,000 square meter digital art exhibition space, where Hue's ancient capital comes to life anew.
Situated on the fourth floor of the Songplatform building on Ba Trieu Street in Phu Hoi Ward of Hue City, Songlab is a digital art exhibition space highlighting innovative works that harness the power of digital technology to pay homage to the city's rich history.
This area is divided into five rooms, each curated to explore different themes and artistic expressions, including installations and role-playing.
In the first room, visitors are captivated by 3D paintings created by artist Nguyen Ngoc Quy, centered around the theme of new beginnings. These blossoms, stylized representations of daisies and lotus flowers, are digitized and brought to life on LCD screens.
Quy's creative process involves materials such as ceramic, bamboo, and silk, all serving to convey a profound message: embrace and cherish diversity, for all things are equal in nature.
Room two introduces "Red Dragon," a visually graphic film inspired by the Imperial Citadel's architecture, enhanced with the touch of installation art by the author Jiohan.
The third room is the exhibition's grand centerpiece, spanning approximately 500 square meters and housing three works that employ light mapping techniques to bring to life the essence of Hue's life, people, and landscapes.
In "All Subconscious Regions" by Cuong Nguyen, viewers are transported into a world filled with bustling markets, mausoleums, winding alleys, and street vendors, all portrayed through thousands of flickering light dots.
"Like a Flow" by Le Minh Vien and Travis Cohantz draws inspiration from the Perfume River, capturing the image of boats drifting. Visitors to this space are immersed in an interactive, transformative experience, becoming an integral part of the art itself.
In room four, "Reflection" by the artist MxC transports viewers to the landscapes of Lang Co Bay. MxC recreates the mesmerizing sunsets reflected in the sky and water throughout the room.
Equipped with a sensor system, the audience can interact with the artwork by placing their hands on the walls, initiating changes in the display, much like the sight of butterflies taking flight from foliage.
The final room, "Abstract Cuisine" by Cuong, employs 3D graphics to showcase Hue's culinary treasures, ranging from humble dishes to royal feasts.
Duong Do, the visionary behind Songlab, selected the name to symbolize a laboratory for experimenting with lifestyle and art appreciation, as song means life and lab is short for laboratory.
This project, incubated for five years, embarked on construction earlier in the year, with an investment of nearly VND30 billion (more than $1.2 million). Duong Do's team has collaborated with a team that provided the lighting projection system for the Van Gogh exhibition in Marina Bay, Singapore, to create Songlab space.
Around the world, visitors can find similar places like Future World in Singapore, Teamlab Borderless in Tokyo, Japan, and L'Atelier des Lumières in Paris, France.
According to Duong, one of the most challenging aspects was the maintenance and operation of the machinery. The team must employ projectors with the appropriate aperture, capacity, and resolution.
Continuous projection requires the machine system to have a dedicated space for cooling and maintenance, with a vigilant team on duty. The area also boasts a robust security system to safeguard against potential hacking.
As one of the founding principles, the first artworks on display are inspired by Hue itself. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to interpret and appreciate the art according to their unique sensibilities. Visual artist Tung Monkey serves as the curator and assessor of the works before they are unveiled to the public.
Phan Le Chung from Hue University of Arts, after visiting the exhibition, praised the modern use of technology in the digital art pieces while still preserving the essence of Hue's spirit. He anticipates that this space will become a regular destination for artists from across the nation.
Following its opening on Oct. 20, the school has plans for numerous collaborative programs with the organizers, including international cultural exchanges, themed workshops, and contemporary art talk shows.