Nestled into the brilliant and serene nightscape of Hong Kong near Kowloon harbor, a single skyscraper could be seen making a scene at Art Basel: on the 490-meter-high facade of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), Cao Fei’s massive video installation Same Old, Brand New, sees an LED Pac-Man crawling up the walls, a cartoonish fist punching a smiling emoticon upwards, Space Invaders-inspired ships shooting light, and pulsating pixelated hearts.
Fei is fascinated with escapism and the disillusionment of the Chinese youth, and explores the boundaries of reality and perception, in experiments that range from creating a virtual city in Second Life to examining the lives of Chinese factory workers. With playful imagery from games, Fei “attempts to turn collective memories into a current reality,” explains the press release. At the IFC Mall terrace, viewers can experience a synchronized audio track by local sound artist Dickson Dee’s compositions to accompany Fei’s visuals.
Commissioned by ICC and Art Basel, the work is part of a larger program called the ICC Light and Music Show.