Artists to watch – Interview with Andio Lai

In celebration of Hong Kong Art Month, we chat to four of the city’s most exciting young artists about how they launched their careers and their plans for the future

Asound artist and a new media artist, Andio Lai is unique in his passion for inventing musical instruments and alternative sounds by upcycling materials and incorporating  modern technology. Lai has participated in group and solo exhibitions since 2015 including a solo presentation at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2016. He is currently completing his final year of a Master of Fine Art programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Was being a sound art/new media artist a career you always wanted to pursue?
I grew up enjoying drawing, sketching and comic books. But I did not set out to be an artist full-time until university. Experimenting with fellow artists without any fixed theme and working on collaborative efforts with different people helped inspire me to follow this career.

What attracted you to sound art and media art?
When I was younger, I used to build toy models and I always liked electronic gadgetry. During my studies, I was exposed to the possibility of using music as a medium. It triggered something in me. What’s interesting is how electronic music has created new possibilities. I’m still discovering every day.

How would you describe your version of sound/new media art?
I like it when my work or installation can allow viewers to touch and interact with it. Also, thanks to school I’ve begun incorporating art history in my work, exploring history using
technology, exploring paths not taken in the development of sound technology. I want to create new value and meanings in obsolete objects.

You’ve participated and showcased works at last year’s Art Basel. How was that experience?
It was definitely a learning experience. I got to speak to audiences, to explain and encourage people’s interest in media art. The challenge is, art doesn’t come with a manual or instructions. So inviting viewer interaction can lead to breaking artworks. But Art Basel was my largest project yet.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a piece that is part of a group exhibition at Asia Society in March. The project explores language and text. It involves a random word generator with a small LCD display. Inspired by my interest in fantasy stories, multiple LCD screens flash words. It’s like the television series Black Mirror, I like to explore the possibilities of technology.

Breathing Space. Mar 12-Jul 9. Asia Society, 9 Justice
Drive, Admiralty, 2103 9511;

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