Alvin Zhong studied fine art and music at a young age, but in high school, he was introduced to trance and hardstyle music.
“I became entrenched in the EDM [electronic dance music] and booming rave culture which continues to permeate my artwork and aspirations today,” the UNSW Art & Design student says.
Zhong, who is graduating from UNSW with a double degree – a Bachelor of Media Arts (Hons) and Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) – with a focus on VFX, 3D and 2D animation, now describes himself as a multidisciplinary artist who is interested in video-jockeying, animation, interactive art, painting and dance music.
He is one of almost 200 talented emerging artists and designers who are preparing for the biggest showcasing of their careers so far – the UNSW Art & Design ANNUAL Graduate Exhibition, running from 27 November - 8 December.
The ANNUAL is Australia's largest and most diverse exhibition of graduate contemporary art, design and creative media, and is the launchpad for the next generation of artists, designers, makers and digital media creators graduating from UNSW Art & Design.
Works to be exhibited include animation, film, photography, sound, digital media, and graphic design, as well as painting, sculpture, object design, printmaking, textiles, spatial design, ceramics and jewellery.
Zhong’s ANNUAL project, No Captain, explores the relationship between sound, image, and emotion.
He sought to create a considered sensory club experience that traverses from traditional fine arts practice, such as a painting, all the way through to non-traditional forms of animation through 3D and coding.
“[It’s] a psychedelic journey that progresses through and across virtual worlds,” he says.
Also exhibiting is Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) student Linda Sok, who specialises in Sculpture, Performance and Installation.
Sok, the daughter of Cambodian refugees, has dedicated her project to the estimated 1.5 million people killed by the Khmer Rouge – and to her parents and others with lasting trauma from the regime’s atrocities.
“The event has had such a large impact on my family, and its impacts are felt through forthcoming generations,” Sok says.
Titled For my ancestors (ritual for the dead), Sok’s work is an immersive installation that “lures viewers into a space that allows for a soft reveal of past traumas”.
The work, which involves large pieces of black fabric draped and fixed with elements of gold, has taken hundreds of hours to make as Linda experimented with different configurations.
“The installation acts as a site for memorialisation and commemoration initiated by a performative element stemming from cultural ritualistic practices,” she says.
Boyd Ison began studying for an Architecture degree but transferred to Design, concentrating on Spatial Design and Object Design.
His interests in both disciplines are reflected in his graduating work, Rethinking Density: A Future Vision of Dwelling.
“It examines the social, environmental, and technological pressures that many modern cities face, including shifts in demographic and housing trends, increasing strain on resources and the environment, and technologies impacting the way we live and work.
“The project proposes a more flexible form of building, that explores customisable/modular components to create everchanging towers that can adapt to everchanging needs and lifestyles.
“There’s been quite an intentional decision made to limit the amount of conventional architectural methods of communication – i.e. plans, sections, elevations – and communicate the concept through diagrams and an interactive 3D printed model.”
Loc Nguyen is graduating with a Bachelor of Media Arts (Hons), after immersing himself in the specialties of Interactive Media, Video and Sound.
Nguyen’s art practice involves exploring how pornography represents Asian queer men, and the “violent erasures and fetishisation that occur in these spaces due to white homoerotic desire”.
His graduating project features a series of “porno-documentary video works”, No Hurt, No Scar.
To produce the work, Nguyen collected intimate interviews with Asian queer men, so the conversation could be shared with wider audiences.
“The reason I have been working with this project is quite a personal one. I have been trying to navigate my own identity alongside others and help tell my story and those of other Asian queer men who have shared similar experiences,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen was recently appointed Arc's Kudos Gallery Coordinator. As well as aspiring to be a practising artist, he hopes to continue to advocate for the conversation around Asian queer identity.