‘DEEP WATER’ (2016-17) is a solo project by Hong Kong-based collective Zheng Mahler originally produced for the independent art space Holy Motors in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon and funded by the Young Collectors Collective (YCC). On display at Sónar+D is a re-translation of the original work from a single channel video work into an immersive VR experience.
The work virtually re-maps the streets of the Sham Shui Po market with a combination of video and 3D animation. The camera follows the invisible paths of the former streams and waterways which ran through the area (Sham Shui Po translates as Deep Water Market), which were reclaimed from the harbour in the 1960’s. In tracing these long lost natural geographies and travelling the ‘urban as well as subterranean depths’ of these zones, Zheng Mahler also referenced various historical strata of the area including its role as the location of a Japanese POW camp during WWII and a Vietnamese refugee camp in the 1970’s.
Zheng Mahler are an artist (Royce Ng) and anthropologist (Daisy Bisenieks) duo working together on research intensive, community based, site-specific projects often utilising digital media, performances and installation to explore relationships between art and research practice. Drawing from each other’s respective backgrounds, they examine the limits as well as the methods and strategies of expanding both their familiar disciplines while experimenting with new interdisciplinary possibilities or cross pollinations, where anthropological approaches are applied to art practice and artistic methodologies are utilised as research exercises in the studies of anthropology. Together they have exhibited, performed and participated in numerous art spaces, institutions and residencies, working alongside various communities in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the US.