City University's exhibition on Antarctic blends science with art

'Freeze Frame' exhibit blends science with art, contrasting the polar environment with HK's

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 May, 2014, 5:15am

It may be oppressively hot and humid outside, but inside City University's school of creative media, icebergs loom and 3-D patterns inspired by the Aurora Australis, or the Southern Lights, play across the walls of a 360-degree theatre.

In "Freeze Frame", the newest exhibition at the school, students who set off on a 21-day Antarctic journey last December tell stories to an audience that lives more than halfway across the world from the South Pole. "They returned with images, videos and scientific data sets that revealed a landscape overpowering and yet embattled," said Vennesa Yung Chi-wei, a research assistant with the school.

[The images reveal] a landscape overpowering ... yet embattled
Vennesa Yung Chi-wei

While most people might expect a National Geographic-style documentation of what's going on down south, the school is moving away from that and blending the presentation of science with art, pairing teams of engineers and scientists with artists and designers.

"Freeze Frame" features images of micro-organisms found in the waters off Antarctica, Argentina and Hong Kong playing across a domed ceiling as music created by linking their DNA notes and chords plays in the background. It also features an installation of fabric and light presenting data on air pollution in Hong Kong and the lack thereof in Antarctica, and a video contrasting the free winds of the Antarctic with the trapped air of Hong Kong.

For those more inclined to be interactive, there's a bartering game for souvenirs, mimicking the exchange of goods a pair of students undertook on the trip. The students had documented an economic system showing the habits, backgrounds, histories, cultures and nationalities of the parties trading.

The school of creative media was also behind Pure Land, a 3-D, 360-degree Dunhuang cave experience in 2012. The exhibit runs at the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre until June 14.