Matter of Soul

h0nh1m (Chris Cheung)

Chris Cheung Hon Him (h0nh1m) is best known for his installation art and audiovisual performances, his artistic expression depends upon electronics, sound, images, and creative technology in new media. h0nh1m’s reverence for Eastern and Western philosophy is central to his oeuvre, in which he blends traditional ideology and futuristic imagination to create immersive soundscapes, generative art and data art.

h0nh1m established the artist collectives, XCEPT and XCEED, as well as the XPLOR lab and FutureTense platform. The collective works have been exhibited worldwide and have won prestigious international awards, such as the Reddot, Lumen Prize and New York Art Director Club Young Guns 11. He received the Young Artist Award from HKADC and the Young Design Talent Awards from HKDC, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The Book of Ashes

Early Homo sapiens cut down trees and burnt them to keep warm. Then wood becomes ash, as a record of energy, existence, and life. During human evolution, woods serve as sources of paper, which are then made into books, living their lives as records of knowledge and thoughts. In The Book of Ashes, books are burnt into ash, the same way how woods are burnt––primitive and pure. The wood gives heat and light in its ephemeral life, while a book’s transformative power can last a lifetime.

When participants perform the burning ceremony at The Book of Ashes, they put the paper into a book-shaped container equipped with heating wire. The book is lit up, its pages flicker like a white pigeon flutters its wings. The flame wavers in the vessel, the words on the page fall like a snowy feather, fuelling the collective work. The way the book paper caught fire and burnt, mimics the decay of paper books in a digital age. Nowadays, the process of intellectual exchange has gone digital. While some may appreciate the seemingly free-flow of knowledge and stories online, excused from the physical boundary of a book; some may mourn the vanishing of book.