[ISEA2016] Artists Statement: Hugh Davies & Troy Innocent — Xon Kon

Artists Statement

Street game in Public Space, 2016. Laser cut plywood codes, city model, data projection, website, social media.

“Xon Kon” Welcome. Collect, build, and trade in the new city. Hit the streets to collect currencies, invest to build your empire, trade with other players – or takeover their territory. Join this street game that explores the economic forces that shape a city. Will you build and own the dominant empire in the new economy? Or will you lose your territory to other, more powerful, players? Cities are highly coded locations. Unique to Hong Kong is that the city’s symbols and systems have been continually recoded over the past 200 hundred years. Transitioning from Chinese to British rule and back again (with a brief period of Japanese occupation in WW2) Hong Kong has been repeatedly rebooted: linguistically, politically, culturally and even geographically. The remains of bi-lingual messages, remixed symbols, and obsolete fragments of code are still found scattered at street level. Traces of the Hong Kong’s previous incarnations appear throughout the architecture, traditions, food and fashion, such that walking around the Central Districts evokes an appreciation of the city’s complex multiculturalism, as well as its mercantile past and present. Indeed, fundamental to Hong Kong’s foundation, and continued way of life, is its ongoing role as a global trade centre. Since its establishment by Britain in the 1840’s, the city has served as a key port-of-trade connecting East and West in the exchange of a broad range of merchandise. Once dealing primarily in tea, silk, opium, gold, cotton, and spices, the city’s more recent exchanges of favour are fashion accessories, consumer electronics and international finance. The multiple trans-national networks that have developed as a result of this rich history of trade have deeply formed and re-shaped the city at cultural and architectural levels.
“Xon Kon” is a street game that draws in these layered histories of Hong Kong by inviting players to collect coded currencies hidden in the city streets. These currencies can be collected and/or traded with fellow players, and form the building blocks of an intricate model of Xon Kon – a coded analogue of the city of trade. Visit the gallery to establish your territory, check your empire online, claim and trade codes and currencies via twitter, and watch instagram for new codes on the street. Over the seven days of the game up to fifteen players traverse a city both real and imagined as they join to define and decode the rules of the Xon Kon Special Administrative Region.

  • Dr. Troy Innocent (AU) explores the multiplicity of codes in the contemporary mediascape, exploring the connections between language and reality. His work invites people to play in worlds that emerge from transmedia ecologies – complex systems of virtual and actual signs and entities. In his practice he has developed a unique aesthetic vocabulary that spans interaction, design, sculpture, animation, sound and installation. Innocent is represented by Anna Pappas Gallery.  troyinnocent.frb.io
  • Dr. Hugh Davies (AU) is an artist, academic and researcher in the realm of media and creative arts. Informed by his training as a sculptor and employment in film and theatre, his creative practice invites participation in constructed transmedia worlds. In a playful spirit of critical inquiry, his research draws on his creative output and contemplates perception of reality, as well as the paradoxes of technology, de- sign and media through concepts such as materiality, desire and obsolescence. With an output spanning sculpture, games and participatory practice, his works have been presented in Australasia, Europe and the Americas. Davies is the founder of the participatory arts group: Analogue Art Map.  analogueartmap.net

Full text and photo (PDF) p. 86-88