Dimension Civilization Archaeology Project is an ongoing art project by artist TO Kai-on, Benny, and this work marks the latest phase of its evolution. Using archaeology as a creative approach, Benny has produced a series of fictional ceramic artefacts and specifically developed an electronic game that transforms the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre (vA!) into a lost archaeological site, providing an immersive augmented reality gaming experience in which visitors would solve puzzles and explore the imaginary ruins, and thus re-visit the ideas of history, religion and popular culture.
Benny draws inspiration from the art of prehistoric and early civilisations. Ancient people developed religions and myths based on intellectual and spiritual insights from nature. They translated their earnest wishes and fantasies into tangible forms by creating totems and sculptural figures. Benny believes he receives similar nourishment and enlightenment from modern pop culture. He selects his materials from sci-fi anime, tokusatsu and films, then crafts characters and props from these fictions into fictional historical artefacts. His works simulate archaeological discoveries of our present time by future generations a thousand years from now. These iconic works of pop culture serve as objects of admiration and fantasy in his childhood. Benny moulds and casts finished plastic toys using traditional ceramic moulding techniques, reinterpreting the forms of industrial mass-produced modernity with ceramics that were used to make ritual and ceremonial objects and have always been considered historical evidence. He emulates the ancient practice of transforming desires and fantasies into art, transmuting the desires and fantasies of the millennial generation into tangible objects. This process is akin to taking a piece of time from the era to document the collective spirit. By producing fictional artefacts, he conjures up an imaginary archaeology and offers a future perspective with an augmented reality game to look back at today and perceive the interconnection between the past, present and future of civilisation.
Artist: TO Kai-on, Benny
Date: 22.11.2023 – 26.2.2024
Venue: 1/F – 3/F of the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre (vA!)