Written by Smek Almohdzar
Filamen is a meeting point of visual art, ideas, and technology. Artists and technologists, masters of project mapping, Filamen returns to Urbanscapes this November for the third consecutive year to curate Immersio 3.0
: an immersive – like its name – audio-visual installation, paired with performances inside three heritage shophouses in Medan Pasar.
Today, when technology seems weightless – made up of abstract codes, signals, invisible waves – Filamen explores the ways in which Immersio
ties together colours, lights, and music to create a total sensory, site-specific experience.
Where the physical and digital worlds melt into each other, that’s where you’ll find Fariz Hanapiah and Abdul Shakir, co-founders of Filamen
, and with it, Immersio
This year, Immersio 3.0 involves Filamen converting three heritage shop houses in Medan Pasar into immersive digital realms.
“The idea: how can we use media art to convey a message about and to the surrounding communities – as we’re always big on community. Medan Pasar is steeped in culture and in history; it’s where people meet and gather, as it’s always been from the olden days until now. We hope for Immersio 3.0 to do the same, to reconnect people with their surroundings," Shakir said.
“We brief our artists to take into consideration the space – because it has to be site-specific,” Fariz Hanapiah explained.
has always been mired in its intervention of a specific site in Kuala Lumpur; how an artwork’s physical location is inseparable from its identity.
"Aesthetically, it’s up to the artist how to interpret his or her work; either to elevate, or to offer a different experience at the site. Another point is on functionality: artists need an understanding of their audience, who will experience it, who will come to the installation.
"As an artist, if you know there’ll be children in the area, then probably you have to consider things like no sharp edges, stuff like that. At the end of the day, it’s about the people."
“Right now, the audience wants something Instagram-worthy. That can both be a good or a bad thing,” Fariz said.
“We want the audience to consume the artwork as it is – but when they see art because they want to get more likes for their photos, the thought process behind the artwork is lost in translation. It becomes about the audience framing themselves in a picture with the artwork. The artwork becomes a prop.
"Then again, it goes back to the mission of the art, the purpose. If the artist has intended for his or her art to be Instagram-worthy, then it’s fine. If not, it could be a bad thing. As for the audience, they might not know the difference."
Technology – and with it, social media – is expanding access to art. In some cases, technology is the art. The art world has always been an exclusive club; if you’re a new artist, much less a new media artist, getting your work into art galleries can be a challenge.
At its heart, Immersio
is about creating art beyond the canvas: a breaking of boundaries, where one can touch the artwork, wear it, interact with it.
“We’ve been working with Urbanscapes and the Freeform team for the past couple of years; and we are sort of on the same page,” Fariz noted, on making art accessible to the public.
“It’s not about only the artist that has to have this awareness, but also about whoever is supporting the creation of this art, when it comes to digital art and new media art. It’s easy to work with people who understand this – and we hope there will be more bodies that have this kind of understanding.
"I think the effort by Urbanscapes, working with the city council should continue – because they’re the ones who hold the power to change things. We just need to work together for Kuala Lumpur lah, kita tak boleh masing-masing sangat lah
“We have a lot of things going on, but we need to define one iconic thing, how people will remember Kuala Lumpur,” Fariz said.
“Pasar Seni is the most underrated Kuala Lumpur experience, pasal orang takut nak datang sini.
Despite the efforts that the city has done to clean up and beautify the place, people still prefer to go to shopping malls.”
“If Kuala Lumpur is a person, dia seorang awek
yang unpredictable – sebab siang kau pergi dia macam ni, malam kau pergi dia macam ni, esok kau pergi dia macam ni, cepat berubah
. She’s always changing her mind, but she’s still beautiful,” Fariz said.
Filamen is made up of Fariz Hanapiah and Abdul Shakir. Immersio 3.0 will feature STATE SENSOR, Fabu, Iwaz, Kimy .A, Azarikh, Fi7i, Beatnation, Reza Othman, LOCH, VLIXN, Numendium (ID), Farhan Fathee, Saishogen, Max Jala & Adam Macpherson, No-to-scale, and Titik Buta from 16 until 24 Nov at Medan Pasar. Admission is free.