State of the ART(ist)

D-Normal/V-Essay, online video zine, issues 1–4 (2020–2022)

Floating Projects Collective (HK), Linda CH Lai (HK)

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D-Normal/V-Essay (DnVe) was launched in the autumn of 2020 in response to strict social-distancing and crowd-restriction measures in Hong Kong. DnVe was proposed to answer the call for a sustainable “digital normal” of: (1) virtual togetherness, (2) open and free expression via the re-invention of the video essay; and (3) encouraging artists and non-artists to articulate their conditions of existence by maximizing the imaging tools they have.

Multiple rounds of open call brought in over 200 submissions from around the world, including Latin America and the Middle East. A total of 90 videos have been selected for four editions (12/2020, 3/2021, 6/2021, 4/2022), each with a theme and sub-themes based on the unique ideas articulated by the submitted works in a particular round.

Re-inventing the digital essay, on the one hand, highlights the relevance of the video essay, especially in Hong Kong at a time when the range of free speech and free ideas is narrowing, but also for the rest of the world which is dealing with effects of the pandemic. On the other hand, considering the ease of virtual transportability, our curiosity drove us to find out what it was that an ordinary citizen has in mind to articulate. This bottom-up approach purposefully subverts the tendency to take certain issues for granted.

What did they want to express? The daily routine of a Turkish immigrant in Germany, the gender-based architectural structure of a house in Iran, different ways to speak of one’s feelings about Hong Kong, where to ”glean” the neglected history of Taiwan, virtual presence and digital beings performing in front of the camera, a focus on the momentary (being in time) and the search for liminal space, documentary impulses, quarantine experiences, isolation, and what goes into one’s mind during a full year of online schooling … About 60% of the final published works are by Hong Kong people.


A Floating Projects initiative.

All staff members are members and friends of the Floating Projects Collective, who contributed to the online zine outside their full-time work.

General Editor/Project Initiator/Grant recipient: Dr. Linda C.H. Lai
Digital platform maintenance and on-line editing: Chun-hoi Wong, Hugo Yeung, John Chow, Winnie Yan, Jess Lau (graphic design)
Extended educational workshop coordinators: Andy Li, Kel Lok
Jury: Fei-pang Wong, Dr. Hector Rodriguez, Prof. Tamas Waliczky and the entire editorial team

Digital platform development: XCEPT (an IT company formed by young HK artists)

The project is supported by a one-off initiative of the Hong Kong Jockey Club administered by Hong Kong Arts Development — awarded to Linda Lai through a competitive open call, to be executed by the Floating Projects Collective.

The Floating Projects was initiated by members of the Floating Projects Collective to experiment with art associations, sustainability, economics of contribution and participatory art.

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