Artwork on building in Honk Kong gets pulled down

Giant video installation on Hong Kong’s tallest building gets scrapped due to artist embedding political message in his artwork

The apparently apolitical 9-minute video created by two Chinese artists opens with the slogan “Our 60-second friendship begins now”. The rest of the video comprises numerical countdowns and a series of Chinese and English sentences.

After artists Sampson Wong and Jason Lam revealed that the end of the video contains a subliminal political message, the officials decided to pull down the artwork displayed on the International Commerce Centre in the city.

The final countdown was revealed to contain nine glowing digits indicating the number of seconds remaining until July 1, 2047. For people of China this date is a symbolic one, because it marks the day when the deal that warrants the former British colony’s semi-autonomous status for 50 years will expire. The importance of this message resides from some citizens fearing about the assertiveness of their country and the civil liberties limitations in Hong Kong.

The video was displayed for a short five-days period, after being installed on May 17th. To motivate the decision, officials in Hong Kong stated that the two artists were “disrespectful” for not announcing the meaning of their artwork to the exhibition organisers.

The Hong Kong Arts Development Council is expected to replace the artwork with another animation or light installation, this time an apolitical one.