Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition has been postponed to May next year. Accordingly the Hong Kong organisers and curatorial team of the Hong Kong Collateral Event at the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition for the first time will hold an interactive Virtual Exhibition, allowing the public to engage via mobile phones or other digital devices anytime and anywhere… all free of charge, while maintaining proper social distancing.
The Hong Kong Collateral Event at the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition (Hong Kong Collateral Event) is co-organised by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in partnership with The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), and with Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as the lead sponsor. The designated curatorial team comprises chief curator Donald Choi, president-elect of the HKIA as well as executive director and CEO of the Chinachem Group, together with other co-curators, namely Paul Mui and Benny Lee, co-founders of BREADstudio; Agnes Hung, senior architect at the Inhabit Group; Yu Ka Sing, assistant professor of Practice of the Architectural Conservation Programme at the University of Hong Kong; and Dr. Lee Ho Yin, co-founder of the University of Hong Kong’s Architectural Conservation Programme.
Redistribution: Land, People, and Environment
“In order to explore greater possibilities that exist under a new lifestyle paradigm, our curatorial team has selected ‘Redistribution: Land, People, and Environment’ as the theme for the Hong Kong Collateral Event,” explained Donald Choi. “Exhibitors have been tasked with proposing innovative ideas centred on the redistribution of those three critical resources that will enhance Hong Kong’s overall liveability.”
Choi also added that the exhibitors have addressed the various challenges as well as the opportunities Hong Kong now faces, and shared their thoughts on how to best utilise available land resources and take advantage of the Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area network to improve liveability. In addition, the exhibiting teams provided their creative opinions about the pressing problems surrounding Hong Kong’s ageing population, and possible global talent migration options aimed at increasing diversity and overall competitiveness.
The exhibitors are expected to provide ideas on how to make the best use of today’s cutting-edge technologies as well as Hong Kong’s high-density, compact vertical city structure to reduce the territory’s overall carbon footprint and mitigate various environmental impacts in order to create greater sustainability and overall urban wellness.
Taking part in this collateral event is a record of 54 companies and organisations, forming 21 exhibit groups each with a different combination of young architects, entrepreneurial designers, artists, researchers, academics and those working for NGOs. Paul Mui pointed out that such combination has successfully fostered a strong collaborative spirit among exhibitors from the commercial, education and social sectors. He believed that this new approach could help redefine the meaning of working and living together.
Creating a brand-new exhibition experience
“This first ever interactive Virtual Exhibition which will go online in November will showcase 20 exhibits from the Hong Kong Collateral Event and go online in November,” said Benny Lee. “The public can use their mobile phones or any other digital devices at their own convenience to access the Virtual Exhibition. Moreover, as visitors click on the images of various exhibits on the screen, the corresponding design concepts will also appear. Visitors will further enjoy the experience of ‘being there’ as a result of the 360-degree spherical video effect, making it a highly exciting and dynamic journey.”
In addition to the Virtual Exhibition, a series of monthly webinars were also started since August, said Assistant Professor Yu Ka Sing, discuss various topics related to the pandemic, living spaces, and other social issues with other renowned architects, exhibitors of the Hong Kong Collateral Event and other guests. A large-scale exhibition will also be held at the City Gallery in January 2021. Leading up to the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in May next year, all of these initiatives warmly welcome everyone to attend free of charge.