Redefining Modernity: An Opera for Animals

Why We Recommend it

Para Site’s new exhibition challenges definitions of European high art and explores the way in which the future is projected – not advanced technology, intelligent designs or social forms in the post-war period but the amorphous fear as the animalistic nature of modern men take over.


Taking the mythical, spiritual and symbolic representation and role of animals as allegorical devices in cultural history, the exhibition considers how these animalistic influences can be found in certain operatic devices as an artistic strategy.

“Opera” is used as a term to describe the various traditions of performance, social arrangement, entertainment and spiritual work, especially in the Western part of the world. Nonetheless, the creative team behind the project delves into how classical opera employs a number of devices that in some way mirror our contemporary reality, anywhere from constructed and unofficial narratives to an alternative world that you find in virtual reality. The artworks, created by both local and international artists, demonstrate how the traditional opera concepts are still alive, even after the demise of the colonial era and of Western opera as a fully living art form. As a parallel discussion, it includes less discussed connections between European classical music and other music systems.

More extensively, the exhibition looks at different acts of staging that have been crucial to our imagination of modernity. The conflicts of staging, controlling, hiding, and repressing that occur within the operatic space are at the very core of our contemporary reality, defined by constructed and “alternative” truths, digital parallel worlds, self-staging of personal identities, and the increasingly palpable promise of a new technological turn in the field of intelligence.


When: 23 Mar 2019 - 9 Jun 2019 Where: Para Site, 6 and 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building – 677 King’s Road – Quarry Bay