about | the hong kong agent

a b o u t · t h e · h o n g · k o n g · a g e n t

the hong kong agent is a cross-media multi-platform art project about china's special administrative region (SAR) hong kong. it can be experienced as a video art series, gallery installation, radio program, online interactive & locative media. at the heart of the project are eighteen audio-visual episodes that follow the adventures of an enigmatic protagonist, simply referred to as the agent. his poetic renderings of what he experiences, and the stories and dialogues of numerous characters he encounters reveal the richly layered complex world of hong kong.

the hong kong agent is an experiment in transmedia art practice. the narrative is vertical rather than horizontal - like the structure of the city which the denizens of hong kong inhabit - the journey is into, rather than along, the narrative - vertical narratives. the work aims to enhance and expand a persons experience by presenting its content in a variety of forms and contexts. for example, the locative media version allows people to actually experience the work from the inside, so to speak. using their mobile phone or hand-held device they assume the role of the agent, physically visiting the location of a specific scene presented in the narrative. the interactive version allows people via a website to download raw content from the work in order to create their own narratives. for the less adventurous there are short and long form video formats, gallery installations, and audio (radio) versions.

creating a time based art work that can retain its integrity across a number of platforms is an ambitious brief to fulfill and presents an interesting challenge when dealing with rules of engagement and storytelling. the modular nature of the narrative renders ordering of episodes arbitrary, as each episode is a self-contained, finely wrought audio visual set-piece. The Hong Kong Agent does not follow a linear narrative, the story is directed by the protagonist’s experiences and descriptions of events. it is the information embedded in these events that is compelling, not how they came to be.

i am greatly indebted to the work of jean-luc godard and chris marker, without whose existence this project would not exist.

roberto iolini 2008