Hong Kong Department Store in Removes Digital Video from LA Artist –

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A department store in Hong Kong took down a digital artwork containing hidden references to defenders of free speech during the city’s Art Week activities. The artist behind the work said the incident is evidence of the erosion of free speech by the Chinese government.

No Rioters by Los Angeles-based artist Patrick Amadon was displayed on a large digital billboard, measuring 230 by 65 feet, on the side of the Sogo department store in the busy Causeway Bay shopping district. The red and black glitchy video included names, ages, and jail terms of convicted protestors displayed in flashes of Matrix-style text. Amadon told the Guardian these details were shown too quickly to be notices by the naked eye, and could be seen by viewers through photographs.

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No Rioters had been on display on the department store’s exterior for several days before it was removed, featured a panning surveillance camera. Amadon believed the momentary flashes of pro-protest graffiti and the details about the democracy protesters in No Rioters would go unnoticed after he was invited to submit the work, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

Amadon said his video was an expression of solidarity with Hong Kongers after he had followed news of the 2019 demonstrations and the effect of China’s “national security law” which resulted in the trial, jailing and silencing of activists.

No Rioters was part of an installation of several video works presented by the Art Innovation Gallery titled “The Sound of Pixels”. The video display took place during a major tourism push in the city timed to the return of Art Basel Hong Kong after three years of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Guardian reported that “it was unclear whether the government played a role in the decision to remove the artwork” but the department store’s legal team asked the Art Innovation Gallery whether it was aware of the content and message of Amadon’s video.

“Our intermediary told us that the owners of Sogo were concerned about the sensitive political content hidden behind Patrick’s work, so they decided to remove the work from the exhibition immediately,” Art Innovation Gallery CEO Francesca Boffetti told the British news outle , noting there was no mention of any law or threat of fines.

The Hong Kong Police Department, Sogo, and the Art Innovation Gallery did not immediately respond to emails from ARTnews.

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