In 2020, I had the imense pleasure to work with João Ó and the Taipa Village Cultural Association to create a concept art exhibition based on Macau. For more information visit: https://taipavillagemacau.org.mo/en/2020/09/23/mo2049-sci-fi-works-by-ricardo-lima/
By way of introduction, it is rather unusual to exhibit concept artwork in a gallery. Concept art tends to be confined to the film industry and more recently it has grown exponentially in shaping the video game industry. This exhibition is inspired by worlds created in sci-fi films, namely Blade Runner (1982), Akira (1988), Total Recall (1990), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Fifth Element (1997) and Dredd (2012).
Ricardo Lima has taken this invitation as an opportunity to develop a personal project using Macau, a place he has never visited before, as the backdrop for a film viewed through a dystopian lens. Lima’s science fiction narrative depicts the relationship between megacities and mother nature as the cycle of change accelerates towards an anthropogenic future. In doing so, the body of work presented explores realistic visions of potential environments that captured his imagination, such as the port area and sea wall, remnants of the past, immersive public space and the market of delicacies.
In this glimpse of the near future, Macau is turned into a generic megacity similar to New York, Shanghai or Hong Kong, i.e. globalized, hyper-dense, multilayered, dominated by urban infrastructure and flooded with water. The Ruins of St. Paul’s is reduced to a huge frivolous hologram and backdrop for an open-air night market. The only scent of colonial memory that remains is in the sale of egg tarts from a floating tavern. The Grand Lisboa Casino is the setting for a downtown docking area where yachts and sampans meet to load and unload merchandise and commuters.
Each artwork overlays two different images and is printed with a diffraction grating, a high-tech optical device that separates light into its constituent colors producing polychromatic spectra. As a result, this medium enhances the futuristic vision and animates the captured environment with a sense of change and dynamism.