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Act 09


A Solo Exhibition By Jeffrey Shaw

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Opening Reception  12 November 2019 18:00-20:00

Exhibition Period  13 November 2019 - 21 June 2020 

Osage Art Foundation is proud to present WYSIWYG, the first solo exhibition of Jeffrey Shaw in Hong Kong.

Exhibiting together in London in 1966, Jeffrey Shaw and Tjebbe van Tijen announced: This is NO THING. This is a SITUATION OF OPPORTUNITY. From that time onwards throughout his career, Shaw has focused his artistic research on creating situations of viewer engagement rather than on object making. His pioneering introduction of ‘interactivity’ into the language of contemporary art made personal discovery and the WYSIWYG experience the cornerstones of his philosophy of art’s present and future operational value.

This exhibition at Osage of works that Shaw and Agnes Lin (Osage) have selected draws upon over fifty years of his practice. Together, it provides a rare opportunity to experience an overview and insight into the core technical, aesthetic and conceptual themes that have preoccupied his creative research. These include public participation and interaction, expanded cinema and immersive visualization, the aesthetics of navigable representations and emergent narrative, new media and computational techniques and virtual and augmented reality. This practice has often involved the development of new types of optical/mechanical apparatus which are both platforms for and expressions of the underlying aesthetic and conceptual aspirations in Shaw’s work.

Shaw has led the revolution in art whereby spectators became principal actors in immersive spaces of representation along the borders of the virtual and the real. The Osage exhibition presents a juxtaposition of Shaw’s most important recent works, reconfigurations of his landmark older works as well as some intriguing artifacts from his archive, thereby making it a fascinating exploratory journey for the audience moving from the past to the present and back again.

A distinctive aspect of Shaw’s practice is his deep-going co-operation with other artists, writers, composers, photographers and engineers. Shaw’s practice is also linked to the history of his foundational institutional and academic achievements (APG London; Eventstructure Research Group Amsterdam; ZKM Karlsruhe; iCinema UNSW Australia; School of Creative Media City at the University Hong Kong) that have made his pioneering research, as well as curatorial activities, so influential on artists, scholars and students internationally. In Peter Weibel’s words “… his works co-created, co-constructed the genre, gave it its initial contours. Without Shaw’s output we would be unaware of the full range of electronic media art.”


WYSIWYG presents milestone works that are hallmarks of Jeffrey Shaw’s singular achievements in the avantgarde of contemporary media art. The computing acronym WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get – was chosen by Shaw as the title for his solo exhibition because it invokes the experience gained from the viewer’s action of interactively exploring his artworks. In this most fundamental aspect of Shaw’s oeuvre, the exposition his art is determined by what happens in the course of an exchange, and what is seen and percieved is what is performed and elucidated by each individual viewer/interactor. So one can add this preface to WYSIWYG: WYDIWYS – what you do is what you see!

Selected milestones and statements about Shaw’s work:

  • Born 1944, Melbourne, Australia

  • Studied Architecture and Art History

  • Founding Director of the ZKM Institute for Visual Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (1991-2003)

  • Founding director of the UNSW iCinema Center for Interactive Cinema Research, Australia (2003-2009)

  • Appointed Chair Professor and Dean of the City University of Hong Kong School of Creative Media (2010)

  • Honorary Doctorate, Multimedia University, Malaysia (2012)

  • Oribe Award, Gifu, Japan (2005)

  • Awarded the Australian Research Council’s Federation Fellowship (2003-2008)

  • Awarded the Ars Electronic Golden Nica for Pioneer of Media Art, Austria (2015)

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Art and Technology, Montreal, Canada (2014)


“In interactive art the conditions for narrative-making arise through the process of interaction, and meaning emerges in the unique moments of engagement between user and system.” Jeffrey Shaw


“It is by conceiving of unique combinations of apparatuses that pertain to various modes of representation, both old and new, that Shaw is inventing amazing machines for seeing.” Anne-Marie Duguet


“Jeffrey Shaw is submitting the screen to an entirely different kind of treatment, one wherein it is conceived as a viewing window. Unlike with cinema … it involves a frame whose displacement is contiguous with that of the spectator and over which this spectator has control.” Anne-Marie Duguet


“Shaw’s research places itself figuratively at the heart of contemporary relations between art, science and technology.” Laudatio for the Immagine Elettronica Prize, Bologna 1990


“Jeffrey Shaw's achievements … have been without parallel. Not only has he pioneered the interactive arts through his own groundbreaking installations, but he has nurtured an entire generation of new media artists and theorists.” Marsha Kinder


“Jeffrey  Shaw  is  a  thinker  of  great  vision  and  forethought,  a  man  of  rare  integrity  and incorruptibility. His work is exceptionally influential and pioneering.” Otto Piene


“(Jeffrey Shaw) is an artist who has followed systematically the path from spectator participation to interactivity, … making full use of all technological advances in order to incorporate them in his artistic research.” Frank Popper

List of works and credits:

Fall Again Fall Better


Co-author: Sarah Kenderdine

Application software: Sinan Goo

First presented at the 9th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China (using anaglyph 3D projection)


Legible City


Co-author: Dirk Groeneveld

Application software: Gideon May, Bernd Lintermann

Bicycle technology: Huib Nelissen, ZKM

Collection of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

First exhibited at ARTEC 89, in Nagoya, Japan 1989


Recombinatory Poetry Wheel


Co-authors: Sarah Kenderdine and Edwin Thumboo

Application software: Leith Chan

Collection of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe


Golden Calf


Application software 1994: Gideon May

Application software 2018: Leoson Cheong

Engineering 2018: Joseph Chan

First presented at Ars Electronica Linz, 1994


Heavens Gate Anamorphosis


Sound composition: Harry de Wit

“Heavens Gate” first exhibited in 1987 at Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Heavens Gate Anamorphosis” first exhibited in 1993 at ‘InterCommunication ’93 Media Passage’, Shibuya BEAM, Tokyo, Japan

“Heavens Gate” is in the collection of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe


Compendium @ WYSIWYG


Archivist and application software: Raphael Chau

Supported by the Chronus Art Centre (CAC), Shanghai, China


Continuous Sound and Image Moments


Co-author: Tjebbe van Tijen

Music: Willem Breuker

Collection of the Netherlands Film Institute (EYE), Amsterdam


Latent Embeddings


Co-author: Hector Rodriguez

Programming: Sam Chan

Technological advisor: Mike Wong




Co-author: David Pledger

Video production: Gregory Ferris

Collection of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, Australia

First shown in 2004 at QUT, Brisbane, Australia


Virtual Sculptures


Co-author: Theo Botschuiver

1981 application software: Larry Abel

2019 engineering: Joseph Chan

2019 application software: Daniel Eckhoff

2019 photography: John Choy

Collection of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Exhibition Period 

13 November 2019 - 21 June 2020

Opening Hours 

Mon - Sat 10.30- 18.30

Sun Temporarily closed

Closed on public holidays

In light of the development of the Covid-19, we advise visitors to take the following precautions:

1) Please do not visit, when body temperature is higher than 37.2°C or have visited the mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran or travelled to another county within 14 days.

2) Please bring and wear masks at all times.



4/F, 20 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong



Presented by 

Osage Art Foundation

Supported by 

School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong


Equipment sponsored by

ZOTAC Technology Limited


Opening reception beverage sponsored by

San Miguel Brewery Hong Kong Limited


Sarah Kenderdine

David Pledger

Edwin Nadason Thumboo

Tjebbe van Tijen

Theo Botschuijver

John Choy

Joseph Chan

Harry de Wit 

Dirk Groeneveld

Hector Rodriguez

Sam Chan

Mike Wong



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