Andy Tam

Research project: Walking Along the Rivers-Flows-Streams- towards an art-practice-based journey


The research aims to underpin the significance of stream that will be exemplified to identify a hierarchy of dichotomies (Smithson, 1967) and to demonstrate Chinese vs Western, Classics vs Contemporary, Humanism vs Consumerism, Consumer-driven vs Data-driven in Chinese Long Scroll Landscape Paintings and Contemporary art contexts, by which the trajectory of "fluidity" will be mutually aligned to the connectivity and transposition of Stream (Classics) to Data Flow (Contemporary) as integral sources for the Production of Art (Marx, 1859). The dynamism of Stream brought with natural resources and developed agriculture and then culture to the bloom of human social and commercial activities. Stream has also been perceived as a common analogy as DATA Flow examination in contemporary art such as Pop Art. This examination has been demonstrating as impetus for social changes and documentations from the hierarchy of mass production, consumerism, mass media, popular culture material, and techno-information society. The research will confine contemporary art to be embedded as Consumer-driven and DATA-driven in the advance of new media and technology.

Throughout the archival history, Stream was confirmed shaping economy, geography, warfare, and defining culture, religion, mythology, and literature, obviously in the Chinese classical art. The research will also highlight Stream as becoming a hierarchy of genres in classical Chinese landscape painting that expresses the aesthetics of mountains and streams, poetic visual space, and philosophical thoughts alongside with a long scroll canvas space. This nature of connectivity and fluidity will be formulated as an analogy in-between the relationship of "Stream and Data Flow", by which stream delivers consumer-oriented activities via geographical/ demographic/ eco-socio-cultural data as defined as consumed-data. With reference to "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" (1186), this painting documents the rise of a metropolitan city as consumer-oriented and consumed-data behavior along the stream (The River Bian, China) that extends to the study of consumerism with social and cultural phenomena, such as advertising, psychology, iconography, hermeneutics, philosophy, and capitalism etc. In the era of globalization/digitization,

Data Flow will also provide "data-driven" contexts to the way we produce and experience contemporary art today. Not only it affects traditional forms of art such as painting, photography and sculpture, in which has been transformed by digital techniques and media, but also creates entirely new art forms such as internet and software art, digital installation and virtual reality have emerged as recognized artistic practices" (Paul, 2008). For some extents, DATA flow could be postulated as extensions of "media" and "technology" (McLuhan, 1964) or in some physical, social, psychological, or intellectual function of humans, and flows all of McLuhan's subsequent ideas. DATA flow is also interrogated, interrelated, and interactively embodied in contemporary art i.e. video art from Nam June Paik and conceptual art from Jenny Holzer's Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin installation (2001). Regarding the materialistic/ social/ economic/ technological/ cultural contexts, the research includes the interrogation of digitized data, specially focusing on "DATA flow". Definitely the understanding and use of data would become crucial and significant in such as consumer-oriented (Pop Art) and data-driven contexts (Digital Art), and especially in contemporary art nowadays.

The data-art-practice-based research is initiated from the history and genealogy of contemporary art, especially emphasizing on Pop Art, Computer Art, Multimedia Art, Cyberart, Digital Art, and New Media Art etc., and implementing on art research as practice in/ through/ with art (Borgdorff, 2010) by experimenting and creating new art form- DATA Art. This includes a feature of iconic imagination and industrial fascination by consumed-commodity, consumed-data, and behavior-driven art expression via coded-data such as images, text, sound (Roland 1977), spaces, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and big-data etc. My original contribution to knowledge is to explore the new ways of contemporary art practices from the examinations of classics to post-modern visual materials in-between stream and DATA flow, by which artists appropriate the history of "stream" to update the new genealogy of contemporary art.

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: Walking Along the Rivers-Flows-Streams- towards an art-practice-based journey
  • Research supervisor: Mr Volker Eichelmann
  • Other research supervisor: Ms Amanda Ure


Tat-keung, Andy TAM (Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hong Kong Art Critic and Cultural Industry Researcher) Graduated at Wimbledon College of Arts (UAL). He also participates in the projects of Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong (2018), Silk Road International Art Festival (2017), The 3rd Kunming Art Biennale (2016), Shenzhen Biennale of Contemporary Art (2015), Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture (Shenzhen and Hong Kong (2012 & 2015)), Kwangju Art Biennial (2005), Guangzhou Art Triennial (2005), MAAP Media Art Festival (2004), Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Museum (2000), Taiwan IT Park Gallery (2000), Taiwan Huashan Arts District (2000), Hong Kong Biennale of Art (1996 & 1998) etc. He also performed at Malaysia National Visual Arts Gallery (2000) etc, and his art writings were released in MIT-LEA Press, 2nd APAEC (Asia-Pacific Art Education Conference), 2nd Guangzhou triennial, Korean National Commission for UNESCO etc.

Areas of research interest

  • Asian Contemporary Art
  • New Media Art
  • Installation and Performing Arts
  • Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Art and Design Education
  • Neo+Post Pop Art
  • Data Art
  • Chinese Classical Art


  • MEd in Art Education, OUHK
  • MA in Theatre Design and Scenography, Wimbledon College of Arts, (UAL)
  • Associate Member (ARPS), The Royal Photographic Society, UK

Funding or awards received

  • Hong Kong Baptist University- Beijing Normal University, United International College (UIC) Continuing Education Fund
  • The Liquidity of Data as the Production of Art: a practice-based research on contemporary art in the era of digitalization, UIC Research Fund
  • How to enhance the measurement of creativity in high education institutions, China Guangdong Provincial Research Fund
  • CROSSING BORDER/ BORDER CROSSING- International Festival of Intermedia, Hong Kong Arts Development Council Project Grant


-Tam, T K. (2016) "Southeast Asian Contemporary Art", The 3rd Kunming Art Biennale, 94-107, China: Yunnan Art Museum.

-Tam, T. K. (2016). The 1st Shenzhen Biennale of Contemporary Art, Art Planning Committee of Shenzhen Artists Associations, China.

Conference papers

-Tam, T K. (2019) "Applying PDCA model and Four-building Blocks as Measurement Framework in Assessing the Creativity of Liberal Arts Students in China", The 2nd IT and e-Learning expo cum the 23rd International Conference on ISO and TQM.

-Tam, T K. (2015) "In Between Institution and Market- the role of media art and infrastructure in the era of post-regional integration", An International Conference Exploring Creative Research and Practice in Museum Making, K11 Art Foundation, UKT1 and the University of Leicester.