AVA professor, Dr. Bryan Chung Wai Ching’s artwork “50 . Shades of Grey” received the Grand Prize of the 19th Japan Media Arts Festival 2015, Art Division. The Japan Media Arts Festival is an international media arts event that honors outstanding works from a diverse range of media. Among 1,946 submissions from over 80 countries and regions, Dr. Chung’s artwork was unanimously selected as the Grand Prize winner.

The work “50 . Shades of Grey” is a conceptual and visual art piece that consists of six pieces of framed computer codes on paper. Dr. Chung used six programming languages and software from the past thirty years to create the same graphic pattern of grey tone. The fifty shades of grey tone ranged from black to white, as reflected in the Chinese title of the work, Half a Hundred, Half White. Though these software tools were once popular, they are now largely obsolete. The fear of obsolescence is a haunting theme in the computer industry as well as in the digital arts. In this work, Dr. Chung looks back in history, revisits each programming language like an old friend and revitalizes it with a new appearance and energy using the latest machinery, creating a poetic visualization of the rise and fall of various forms of technology from the past. The award demonstrates that Dr. Chung’s research interest in computational aesthetics works perfectly in line with the interdisciplinary direction of the Academy of Visual Arts.

One of the Jury members, SATOW Morihiro, Professor of Kyoto Seika University revealed the reason of the award. “According to the artist, the six languages symbolize the historical evolution and obsolescence of computer technology. At the same time, the languages – from BASIC, which was created the year the artist was born, to ActionScript, developed in 2000 – overlap with the artist’s life. Though its appearance is almost bluntly simplistic, the work is laudable for its gradually emerging, rich and varied layers.”

Dr. Chung received the prize on the 2 Feb 2016 and his award-winning artwork was exhibited in the National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan from February 3 – 14, 2016.