M+ Stories HomepageM+ Stories Homepage
Computer animated still depicting a square grassy island in the middle of an ocean at sunset. A row of increasingly tall, alternating trees and unicorn horns sticking out of the ground divides the island into two. Several shapes covered in white fabric covered in logos lie on the island.

Miao Ying and the ‘Chinternet’ Can Help You Detox from the World Wide Web

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

Need an online break from the dominance of multi-billion dollar ‘unicorn’ businesses like Google and Facebook? Set your virtual private network (VPN) to mainland China, where these websites and apps are blocked, for a relaxing online retreat!

This is the satirical concept behind Shanghai– and New York–based artist Miao Ying’s Hardcore Digital Detox (2018), the first work in M+’s new online series of digital commissions housed here on M+ Stories. The browser-based work is a playful reflection on both the ‘Chinternet’ and World Wide Web, using the concept of a wellness retreat to comment on issues of global capitalism, online propaganda, and media democracy.

Below, we chat to Miao Ying about the inspiration behind the work, her relationship with censorship, and unicorn poop.

What inspired you to create an online retreat experience?

A woman stands in a doorway, looking back indoors. She’s leaning against the doorframe with her hands against her back.

The Affectionate Appeal of Ann Hui’s Filmography

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

The below post was written by film critic Long Tin in conjunction with the screening programme, M+ Screenings: The Film Life of Ann Hui. You can catch the final weekend of the screening from 14–16 December at Broadway Cinematheque.

Imagine an attractive passerby; they catch your eye because of their looks, posture, and aura. Of course, we all know that, ultimately, it is their inner beauty that counts. However, this inner beauty is in constant interplay with the effects of their outward appearance.

If we were to compare a good film to this charming individual, their outward appearance might correspond to the film’s use of sound and image, its meticulous mise-en-scène, its performances, and dramatic power. Meanwhile, their inner beauty would parallel the film’s narrative structure, its treatment of subject matter, its build-up of mood, and intellectual depth. A pioneer of Hong Kong New Wave cinema, the filmmaker Ann Hui moves audiences with an elegance in her early work that is immediately recognisable. But it is the subtler depth from within her later films that is worth savouring time and again.

Video game still of a person sitting on a motorbike with their back towards us. In front of them is an urban landscape in a rainy, dusky atmosphere. The street is lit up by neon signs showing Chinese lettering, and a red Hong Kong taxi is seen driving.

Why is Hong Kong Such a Popular Video Game Location?

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

The below article was written by Hugh Davies, games researcher and Postdoctoral Fellow in Design & Creative Practice at RMIT University, who is currently a Research Fellow with M+ and the Design Trust, researching Hong Kong architecture in video games.

There are around 140 video games set in Hong Kong. The final figure depends entirely on how you define ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘video games’ respectively, as both are contested territories. However, few can argue against the fact that the city looms large in visual culture—a culture that increasingly includes video games.

Yet with so few local developers creating games set in Hong Kong, how can the city’s international popularity in the ludic medium be adequately accounted for? Why do games feature Hong Kong so much? Through my work as a Research Fellow with M+ and the Design Trust exploring representations of Hong Kong in video games, I offer these overlapping explanations:

Cinematic History

A large robotic sculpture of a scorpion made out of black metal sits in a desert landscape under a bright blue sky.

The Curatorial Role: 'Participate, Don't Dominate'

Share via Facebook
Share via Twitter
Share via WeChat

‘Viewpoints’ spotlights opinions on visual culture from voices inside and outside M+. Below, Ben Vickers, Chief Technology Officer at Serpentine Galleries, London, responds to the question, ‘How has the curatorial role expanded today?’

The internet and information technology have given rise to parallel art worlds that do not play by the rules of the dominant-art-world industrial complex. DIY maker culture is booming, more than 246 million pieces of art have been submitted to DeviantArt, the Nordic LARP scene is growing exponentially, and people at Burning Man are building industrial-scale kinetic works like this fire-breathing robot scorpion. All of this indicates the decentralisation of authority in the art world: traditional institutions and curators are no longer seen as purveyors of contemporary culture.