Kongkee, an award-profitable animation director and visible artist, takes you back to the potential in an odyssey far more than 2,000 years in the creating. Aspect comedian reserve, portion motion photograph, portion meditation on heritage repeating, the immersive working experience of Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk traces the legendary Chinese poet Qu Yuan’s soul on a journey from the historic Chu Kingdom to an imagined 21st century Asia of cyborgs, electric rock, and stunning romantic reunions.

Creating its North American debut November 18, 2022, only at the Asian Artwork Museum, Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk invitations readers to step into a glowing collection of animated vignettes—some projected throughout walls and ceilings, some highlighted on screens for extra personal viewing, some accented with interactive factors. The exhibition also capabilities galleries of Kongkee’s art sketched in reaction to displays of age-old Chinese artworks from the museum’s assortment. These inspirational artifacts, which are introduced in the exhibition, include bronzes and jades from the eponymous Warring States Interval (c. 481 – 221 BCE) and before, a time when China emerged from fantasy into heritage with the founding of the 1st empire by the Qin.

Curated by the museum’s head of contemporary art, Abby Chen, Warring States Cyberpunk will occupy the museum’s Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion which opened in 2021 with a blockbuster exhibition by electronic collective teamLab.

“Kongkee starts his contemporary artwork process by looking into and allegorizing the historical figures of the Warring States period, and this time, by cross-referencing the Asian Artwork Museum’s individual archaeological Chinese selection,” explains Chen. “He brilliantly attracts these historical artworks into his personal stunning eyesight, demonstrating how the past haunts the present, but also providing us moments of connection and reconnection that make room for imagining what a vibrant pressure of ‘Asian Futurism’ can glimpse and experience like, one comprehensive of power, music, and shade that creatively entwine the enigma of the past with warning towards slicing-edge technologies however to be learned.”

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The exhibition facilities on the migratory soul of the poet Qu Yuan ([Choo Yoo-wahn] c. 339 – 278 BCE) who drowned himself in a river, and whose legacy carries on in the famed Dragon Boat races and the linked festival that are lively options of Chinese communities the entire world in excess of. “Like the Greek thinker Heraclitus said, ‘No man ever steps in the very same river twice, for it is not the similar river and he’s not the exact same guy.’” claims Kongkee. “I questioned myself, what happens when a soul emerges right after 2,000 years below water—does it seek out out some thing new? Does it return to destinations that are familiar? Qu Yuan’s poetry has a psychedelic, wandering high-quality to the language that I experimented with to reflect in my artwork, but I also needed him to mirror the disorientation as very well as the hope of our era.”

The outcome is a sci-fi neon aspiration that follows a resurrected android model of Qu Yuan, struggling with his memories of the river wherever he took his personal lifetime and pondering the duality of dying and immortality, the system and the soul, and what it is to be human—or a equipment that is able of encountering additional than a human ever could.

The recurring use of floating waves, ambient percussion, and the museum’s possess ancient artwork within just the exhibition immerses audiences in the robot Qu Yuan’s quest for answers and the restoration of his soul. Guests will comply with alongside as he rises to rock stardom with the aid of other androids in a contemporary cyborg fantasy that finishes with his reconciliation with the reincarnated King Huai of Chu. In the qualifications lurks the darkish specter of the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, a identify permanently connected to wrong claims of immortality, whose conquest of Qu Yuan’s homeland led to the poet’s suicide.

“The Warring States period was a time of political strife, but also a moment of profound artistic exuberance when quite a few of the most enduring and strong motifs grew to become embedded throughout ‘Chinese’ culture: snake-like dragons, all-around geometric styles, spirit guides to aide your pursuit of longevity—even immortality,” claims Jay Xu, the Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO of the Asian Artwork Museum, and a globally-recognized expert in early China. “Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk offers us all a way to hook up the previous to the current and to worth how the digital crafts and electronic storytelling of today—animation, online video artwork, even movie games—share the exact same kinds of tough-received technique, inspiration, and cultural affect as the bronzes, jades, and lacquerwares of aged the moment did.”

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