Read the Nuance, Real and Virtual
In the fight against the pandemic, everything comes to a halt, but we can still open up a vast world as long as we keep reading. The 2nd Hong Kong Library Festival carrying the theme of Reading Quartet reaches out to present four thematic groups of programmes, including cross-sector arts, multi-media, virtual technologies, and arts activities. Integrated with online platforms, the Festival this year allows readers to go beyond the spatial boundary to enjoy a diverse reading experience. Online or offline, real or virtual, readers will be able to construct their multi-faceted worlds through reading.
The meanings of actual and virtual readings are two-fold. First, artists and writers construct imaginative and artistic worlds based on real-life; second, the Festival combines physical books with virtual media technologies to provide a diverse reading experience, for reading to become a part of participants' lives. Featuring four sections: Light and Shadow, Innovative World, Variety Show on Stage, and Living with Books, the Festival's varied activities are not only disseminated to the Hong Kong Central Library and the public libraries across 18 districts in Hong Kong but also held on the thematic website for readers to join cross-genre workshops as well as reading events. In collaboration with different units and partners to organise creative activities, the Festival creates opportunities for readers to traverse the border between the real and the virtual, appreciate performances transformed from texts, and enter the many worlds built using diverse reading methods.
Reading creates worlds. French philosopher Michel Foucault has asserted that a library is a place that encloses all times, all forms, and all tastes. The Hong Kong Library Festival this year highlights a cross-generational Hong Kong. Fragments of texts come together to create new stories. Being one of the highlights jointly staged by the Library Festival and ReNew Vision, “It All Begins with a Word”, curated by local media artist Hung Keung, is a multi-media artwork collaged with interactions, video records, sounds, lights, and performances. Multiple creative artists were involved in the creative process, and they drew inspirations from Hong Kong writers' works between the 1960s and 1990s. Creative contents will be premiered on social media platforms serving as a prologue for the physical exhibition next year. As the reading mode shifts from online to offline, readers will be able to experience and appreciate texts in differing contexts and have a glimpse at the wisdom and vision generated from the crossover between Hong Kong literature and transmedia arts.
Reading goes beyond the spatial boundary. Connecting works from different generations, the Festival provides multiple angles for appreciating our living space. In the Light and Shadow section, the Tour Around 18 District programme offers an enriched reading experience through story sharing sessions and multi-media games. The picture books with the theme of 18 districts of Hong Kong contain children's stories that combine district scenic spots with communal memories. Also, VR games developed by The Hong Kong Design Institute allow readers to tour around 18 districts while sitting comfortably at home. Moreover, two popular writers well-liked among students and youngsters, Zhuo Ying and Yau Yan-ni will moderate online reading clubs that invite readers near and far to discuss their favourite books.
Days are heavy, but reading is uplifting. It brings us through actual and virtual realities. Whether in the imaginative world inspired by reading or the comfortable space created by technologies, let the transformation of reading counter the change of life, and let us dwell poetically in reading anytime anywhere.