Hidden Message On Hong Kong’s International Commerce Center

May 19, 2016

NewsStandOnline.Net (19-May-2016): For the past two nights, amid a dazzling, world famous skyline, the International Commerce Center, Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper has glimmered with a secret message.

Appearing on the 118-story facade just after 9:30 p.m. is a seemingly harmless nine-digit number.  A curious Hong Konger or tourist might wonder what the number signifies.

The more politically minded will already know, the digits represent a clock counting down by the second to July 1, 2047.  That’s when Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” arrangement with Beijing, which gives the semi-autonomous city freedoms unseen on the mainland is set to expire.

And how exactly has the clock managed to sneak its way onto the city’s most prominent public screen, erected by real estate giant Sun Hung Kai Properties?

It was cloaked in a larger artwork as part of a “large-scale public media art exhibition” called “Human Vibrations,” commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, a government organization.

“Hong Kong is having anxiety and a political discussion about its fate after 2047,” Sampson Wong said.

Hidden Message On Hong Kong's International Commerce Center

Along with Jason Lam, Wong is a co-creator of the animated installation. “If the Umbrella Movement in 2014 failed to bring democracy, what’s going to happen after 2047?

“Our work explores this question of self-determination.”  Sun Hung Kai Properties didn’t immediately respond for comment, while the Hong Kong Arts Development Council said it would issue a response later.

The blinking digits are embedded in a series of looping phrases and appear for a few moments at the end of a nine-minute exhibit called “Our 60-second friendship begins now.”

The phrases preceding the countdown are taken from dialogue in the classic 1990 Hong Kong film, “Days of Being Wild.”

The film’s protagonists, played by Maggie Cheung and the late Leslie Cheung, share a moment while quietly looking at a watch together.

Debuting on Tuesday, the animated installation and its subliminal message is scheduled to run every night until June 22.  The clock displayed on the skyscraper will stay the same throughout the exhibition.