The 5th  VH AWARD


About the 5th VH AWARD

In September 2022, VH AWARD announced the five shortlisted artists of the 5th edition—Subash Thebe Limbu, Zike He, Riar Rizaldi, Su Hui-yu and zzyw—and awarded grants for the production of new artworks. The finalists also received the opportunity to participate in an online residency program hosted by Eyebeam, the preeminent New York City-based art and technology center. The artists participated in professional development sessions and regular mentorship meetings with globally renowned art experts such as Barbara London and Magdalena Magiera, as well as artists Jon Ippolito, Clarinda Mac Low, Kamau Amu Patton, Taeyoon Choi, and Marton Robinson.

About the Works

This year’s Grand Prix recipient is Subash Thebe Limbu, an Indigenous artist based between Kathmandu and London. He works with sound, film, music, performance, painting and podcasts, and won the award with his film titled "Ladhamba Tayem; Future Continuous."

The title of the work borrows from a verbal inflection that specifies time of action or state where ‘Tayem’ is future and ‘Ladhamba’ is continuous in the artist’s native Yakthung (Limbu) language, spoken by the Yathkung people who are indigenous to northeastern Nepal. The plot depicts a conversation between two indigenous figures from different historical timelines, the first a real 18th century Yakthung warrior called Kangsore fighting the colonial army, and the other an astronaut and time traveler from the distant future. They discuss the space-time continuum from their perspectives, and in doing so, ask the viewers—who exist between the past and future—to investigate their own relationship to the passage of time. The time traveler prophesizes what the future could look like, while the warrior reminds us of the continued struggle against colonialism.

Media artist Zike He's recent projects are developed with research ranging from digital space and machine learning to infrastructure and deep time, and with the exploration of their shapes in daily life. Her artwork "Random Access" (2023) is one of the modes to read and write datum (as in random access memory, RAM), by which any arbitrary address can be visited in equal time no matter where it is located. It also refers to how we process memory, especially in the time interwoven deeply with digital technology.

Finalist Riar Rizaldi works as an artist and filmmaker whose "Fossilis" (2023) tells a tale of the verdant inferno of technological legacy, resonating the complexity of electronic waste in the 21st century of Asia where most of the discarded electronics are dumped and buried. With sets built from waste materials, cannibalized parts, 3D assets, environments from abandoned projects and artificial intelligence (AI) images generated from a personal dataset, "Fossilis" offers more than just concepts, narratives and representation of e-waste as an issue. It also engages in the process, development and modes of film production that involves actual—both digital and physical—waste and e-waste objects as means of artistic practice.

Taipei born artist Su Hui-Yu explores the connection between mass media, pop culture, memories of martial law and the post-colonial history of Taiwan and East Asia. His work "The Space Warriors and the Digigrave" (2023) combines fantasies and folk tales that hint at nationalism, Confucianism and chauvinistic values, based on a unique experience of the collective memory of the island nation during the martial law era. Using nowadays open-source AI tools combined with traditional film skills, Su wants either metaphysically or technically providing a solution of reconciliation for those who’s still struggling with the nations, identities, genders, morals, and ideologies.

Finalist zzyw (founded in 2017, based in New York) is an art and research collective formed by Yang Wang and Zhenzhen Qi in New York in 2017. They produce software applications, simulations and text as instruments to examine the cultural, political and educational imprints of computation. Their work "Other Spring" (2023) is a multifaceted project that critically investigates the societal implications of computational mediation, automation and AI. Inspired by the ancient Chinese fable "Peach Blossom Spring" and drawing from zzyw’s research paper Computational Haze, the project comprises a virtual world and a short film exploring the potential of ‘heretical computing’ (based on a lecture by Alexander R. Galloway, 2020) to challenge the monolithic idea of efficiency and precision that characterizes our contemporary information society.

About the Program


VH AWARD is Asia’s leading award platform that aims to support emerging media artists from Asia who contextually engage with Asia and its futures. The annual program offers five finalists a residency program, grant, and opportunity to share their work with global audiences, then culminates in a Grand Prix recipient. Initiated in 2016, The VH AWARD began as a way to support Korean media artists, then expanded in 2021 to welcome all Asian artists working in audiovisual formats. Recent VH AWARD partners include Eyebeam in New York, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, and Canada’s ELEKTRA Montreal.

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