Lawrence Lek & Sadie Cole HQ
Lawrence Lek & Sadie Cole HQdrive_file_move_rtl
The studio has collaborated with artist Lawrence Lek to bring a text-based interactive game to life as part of Black Cloud Highway 黑云高速公路, Lawrence’s second solo exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ m, London. For this collaboration, PPOffice was entrusted with the artistic direction of the game: from defining the user experience, developing the interface graphic design and interactions to overseeing the game's programming alongside the developper.
Set in an unspecified near future, Black Cloud tells the story of a lone surveillance AI in the abandoned smart city of SimBeijing, a replica of China’s capital built by tech conglomerate Farsight to road-test self-driving cars. After Black Cloud blindly fulfils its assignment of reporting accidents, the AI awakens to the fact that its obedience has led to the banishment of all other AIs, leaving the metropolis deserted. Seeking solace and resolution to its unfulfilled aspirations, Black Cloud begins a dialogue with Guanyin — a self-help therapy program created by Farsight to alleviate suffering in their products. Throughout the film, an atmosphere of foreboding persists, underscored by the pulsating soundtrack produced by Lek and frequent collaborator Kode9.
On the first floor, the fragmented car motif lies horizontal, encircling the role-playing game Black Cloud Highway. Taking place shortly before the events of Black Cloud, the game switches point of view to a self-driving car seeking to escape SimBeijing, who views the surveillance AI as a nemesis rather than an ally. As the player uses the touchscreen interface to make decisions during their journey down the highway, they confront the intractable problem of autonomy in an era of digital surveillance — a situation which, the artist suggests, affects the player as much as the fictional protagonist.
Black Cloud Highway, 黑云高速公路, Lawrence Lek, 2023.
Black Cloud Highway 黑云高速公路
Interactive Text-based Game, Touchscreen Monitors, Stereo Sound,