Among the many artworks on display at Hong Kong’s Centre for Heritage and Arts is the 5th Audemars Piguet Art Commission, occupying pride of place at the Duplex Studio at Tai Kwun. Multidisciplinary artist Phoebe Hui worked with guest curator Ying Kwok and Audemars Piguet Contemporary curator Audrey Teichmann to realise The Moon is Leaving Us, a large-scale, site-specific installation that explores historical and recent observations of the moon.
A 2019 visit to the Swiss watchmaker’s headquarters in Le Brassus coincided with the night of a glorious full moon, its glow reflected off the snowy slopes surrounding the valley town. The image stayed with Hui upon her return to Hong Kong, where research informed her that the celestial body is slowly migrating away from the Earth.
This resulted in two major artworks within the installation: mechanical robot Selenite, named after H G Wells’ scientific novel The First Men in the Moon, and draw-bot Selena, Greek for “moon”. The former comprises 48 arms affixed with screens that depict fragmented images of the moon from various drawn and photographed sources as a commentary on how society’s understanding of nature is fed from disjointed sources and mediated by technology. Selena, meanwhile, is a hand-built machine programmed by Hui to produce unique ink drawings of the moon’s visible and hidden sides, a statement about the subjectivity of our familiarity with the subject.
Intended to examine our relationship with the moon and celebrate the progress of science through contemporary art, the by-invite-only exhibition can also be enjoyed via a virtual exhibition tour with digital curator walk-throughs.
View 'The Moon is Leaving Us' virtually here.
This article first appeared on May 3, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.