The global pandemic has brought on a new normal, and technology’s dominance in our lives has made human relations all the more delicate: so often we feel the contradiction of being close to each other yet separated by long distance. COVID-19’s impact has been felt far and wide as people of all nations share the same predicament, making communication and mutual understanding all the more important.

Since its founding, the New Vision Arts Festival has been steadfast in its mission to promote crossover works. We continue our efforts this year with commissions by outstanding local and overseas artists, among them two new works celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the HKSAR Government. The first piece, chasing waterfalls, is lauded as the first AI opera focusing on the symbiosis of men and machines, investigating manifold manifestations of humanity in our digital age. Produced by the German Arts Tech collective “phase 7 performing.arts” and featuring music by Hong Kong’s rising musical star Angus Lee, chasing waterfalls received its world premiere in Germany with Lee as conductor. The New Vision edition proactively creates opportunities for local artists, as members of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble take part in this performance. The second commemorative programme is Jungle Book reimagined by England’s distinguished Akram Khan Company. Our Festival offered an opportunity for a partnership between Akram Khan and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA)’s School of Dance. Eight outstanding students travelled to England to audition and rehearse with the master and his company; Jan Mikaela Villanueva was chosen to participate in the world premiere in England, she also received a two-year contract as a full-time company member. Villanueva will perform the principal role of Mowgli, which is an inspiration to us all. We are proud that our Festival has fulfilled its role after many years of concerted efforts in connecting local artists with world-class performing arts troupes, helping our own talents land on the international stage in their pursuit of greater artistic maturity.

Because of the pandemic, the public’s aesthetic needs have also changed. The New Vision Arts Festival is unwavering in promoting Arts Tech, continuing this effort along two parallel planes – commissioning local artists to produce both onsite and online shows, thus expanding creativity in multiple dimensions. Such examples include: HACK, where GayBird and Ata Wong focus on the intricate relation between machines and humans; Olivia Yan’s interactive music theatre work Zoetrope, involving audience participation; and Choi Sai-ho’s Live・Earth・Space, using electronic music and video to explore our universe.

In 2016, the New Vision Arts Festival presented the first instalment of the tripartite A Concise History of Future by the intrepid and singular theatre artist Yan Pat-to. This year, the second instalment, Posthuman Condition, explores the new era of technological warfare in which AI progresses in leaps and bounds. Yan uses his unique and distinctive perspective in foretelling the future of mankind. Zuni Icosahedron presents its Mindfulness Arts Tech Theatre Hua-yen Buddhaverse and Hua-yen Concert, bringing the sūtra’s journey to yet another realm. Finally, MaD (Make a Difference)'s A Date with Dogs reflects on interspecies coexistence with multi-arts — art is for all!

Anne Tsai
Senior Manager, Festivals Office
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

New Vision Arts Festival 2022