Peer to Peer: UK/HK, a programme designed to encourage meaningful cultural exchange and to forge enduring partnerships between the UK and Hong Kong’s visual arts sectors, has been announced. a-n The Artists Information Company is pleased to be a partner of the programme, which launches publicly with an online festival from 11-14 November, and includes online exhibitions of new and existing digital artworks from UK and Hong Kong based artists, alongside a series of digital residencies and curated panel discussions.

The free festival, which is curated by Ying Kwok, explores work that critically engages with new media and technology to challenge contemporary art practice and consider conceptual possibilities. Five new artworks have been commissioned by artists who create work through digital media and platforms. Among them are Antonio Roberts and Hetain Patel who are both members of a-n’s Artists Council. Each of the artists was selected from nominations by UK and Hong Kong partner organisations taking part in Peer to Peer: UK/HK.

Birmingham-based Roberts was nominated by Charlotte Frost of Furtherfield. Roberts’ work explores what ownership and authorship mean in an age impacted by digital technology and his video commission will demonstrate the creative potential of ‘live coding’, a performative practice where a global community of artists make music and visual art live using programming technology.

Patel, a London-based visual artist and performance maker, will present a new HD video, Spectrum 2. He was nominated by Skinder Hundal, CEO of New Art Exchange, who co-commissioned the work. Hundal is also a member of a-n’s Board. Spectrum 2 uses drawing and animation to explore the physical manifestation of three different, cultural influences on Patel’s body and identity: Bruce Lee, Spider-Man and an Indian squatting position.

The other commissioned artists are Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, who uses animation, sound, performance and video games to communicate the experiences of Black trans people; Lee Kai Chung, whose research is informed by historical events, political systems and ideologies; and photographer Sharon Lee Cheuk Wan, whose commissioned work uses Google maps to combine street view images with analogue photographs, creating a hybrid ‘half-positive-half-negative’ digital map.

Commenting on the Peer to Peer: UK/HK project Nick McDowell, Director International, Arts Council England said: “This is such a heartening example of international exchange and partnership evolving despite the global pandemic. Artists may not be able to travel but – as this project shows – they can connect and innovate in the digital space.”

Peer to Peer: UK/HK is led by University of Salford Art Collection, Open Eye Gallery and Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and consists of a network of contemporary visual arts organisations across the UK and Hong Kong, including a-n. The project is supported by funding from Arts Council England and the GREAT campaign.

The full list of partners is:

A-N, Castlefield Gallery, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Firstsite, Furtherfield, Milton Keynes Arts Centre, New Art Exchange Nottingham, Newlyn Art Gallery / The Exchange, Nottingham Contemporary, Open Eye Gallery, QUAD Derby, Red Eye Photography Network, University of Salford Art Collection, and Wellcome Collection.

Hong Kong
1983, Blindspot Gallery, Centre for Heritage Arts and Textile (CHAT), Eaton Workshop, HART, Hong Kong International Photography Festival, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, K11 Art Foundation, Oil Street Art Space, Videotage and WMA Award.

1. Hetain Patel, Spectrum 2, 2020, Single channel HD Video, acrylic paint (video still).
2. Antonio Roberts, Glass, 2014, Video (previous work).