A Link to the Past
This project asks whether video games might be seen more in this way: as archives — a medium where places and spaces might be stored for posterity or protest.
The best archives are ones which are used; this ensures artefacts are maintained and there is no other medium in the world more widely used than video games. As of 2017, the video game industry is larger than both the movie and music industry combined, and the population that plays video games is huge and keeps on growing.
This project is set in Hong Kong — a place that, since 1997 after British rule ended, has been plagued by a number of protests (notably the Umbrella Revolution). The discontent has arisen as a result of increasing Chinese rule in the area (bringing with it a set of values that are at odds with the majority of Hong Kong residents). This has meant an increase in censorship, state control and foreign ownership, and a loss of cultural identity.
One area in particular embodies these changes — The West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong city centre. This area of 40 hectares has gone through many proposals — yet all these proposals lack public consultations from the beginning to the final design stage, and up until now even the government is still manipulating the masterplan for political purposes. The government also manipulated the West Kowloon Cultural District master plan to build the Chinese Palace Museum without consulting the public.
The project therefore takes the form of a game, set in West Kowloon Cultural District, that charts/documents anticipated changes in the area (as a result of increased Chinese control). This process of documentation, it is hoped, will make manifest the various ways in which Hong Kong culture is being eroded by this new governmental control.
As an architect, my role has been to design a series of levels/parts of the city. Each level takes a portion of the West Kowloon masterplan to tell a specific story beat. These beats will describe to players how state control is compromising HK identity and agency.
School of Architecture
MA Architecture, 2019
- BArch Architectural Studies, University of New South Wales, 2016