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Donald Choi appointed as Chief Curator Leading a cross-sectoral curatorial team at The Hong Kong Collateral Event of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition

A focus on the redistribution of critical resources to enhance Hong Kong’s liveability

(May 13, 2020, Hong Kong) Given the various challenges as well as opportunities Hong Kong faces in its future development, such as lack of available land resources, an ageing population, sustainable development plus issues surrounding potential redistribution of resources within the Greater Bay Area as well as talent migration and other societal matters, there is a pressing need to generate a host of creative and viable cross-sectoral ideas to help improve overall liveability in the Territory. With this in mind, the local architectural industry in collaboration with a group of experts from the commercial, arts and design, academic, and NGO sectors, will showcase their creative exhibits at the Hong Kong Collateral Event of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in order to propose solutions to help shape a better future for Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Collateral Event of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition is co-organised by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects Biennale Foundation (HKIABF) and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) together with The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) as Partner and Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as the Lead Sponsor.

The 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition will be postponed to August 29 and last until November 29, 2020, in view of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Hong Kong Response Exhibition will also be held during the first quarter of 2021, and is open to all visitors in the Territory.

This year, Donald Choi, Executive Director and CEO of the Chinachem Group, serves as Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Collateral Event of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition, and works closely with other Co-curators, namely Paul Mui and Benny Lee, co-founders of BREADstudio; Agnes Hung, senior architect at Inhabit Group; Yu Ka Sing, assistant professor of Practice in the Architectural Conservation Programme of the University of Hong Kong; and Dr. Lee Ho Yin, co-founder of the Architectural Conservation Programme of the University of Hong Kong.

Felix Li, President of The Hong Kong Institute of Architects, says that - “How Will We Live Together?” will be the theme of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition. In the global context of today’s widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, the organiser calls on all exhibitors at the Bienniale to imagine spaces in which humans around the world can more generously live together. Li adds that - “Our Hong Kong curatorial team comprises senior corporate management personnel as well as a group of young architects and academics to help address the exhibition theme from a host of diversified perspectives.”

“The recent COVID-19 situation has made many local and international arts and cultural events postponed or cancelled. We hope by participating in the first major international biennale held this year, Hong Kong architects and artists are provided a platform to showcase their creative works, engage in cultural exchanges with overseas arts communities and encourage the visitors to rethink a new way of living together,” says Winsome Chow, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Jersey Yuen, Assistant Head of CreateHK, thanked the HKIABF, the HKADC and the HKIA for their continuous effort in promoting Hong Kong architecture in a prestigious international arena like the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in the past years.

“In order to explore greater possibilities under a new living paradigm, our curatorial team has selected ‘Redistribution: Land, People, and Environment’ as the theme for the Hong Kong Collateral Event of the 17th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition,” announces Donald Choi. “Exhibitors have been tasked with proposing innovative ideas centred on the redistribution of three critical resources to enhance Hong Kong’s overall liveability.”

Choi points out that the exhibitors are also requested to address the various challenges as well as opportunities Hong Kong now faces, sharing their thoughts on how to utilise available land resources and take advantage of the Greater Bay Area network to improve liveability as well as addressing the pressing problems surrounding Hong Kong’s ageing population. In addition, the teams will provide their creative opinions about possible global talent migration to increase our diversity and overall competitiveness. The exhibitors have 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 city’s carbon footprint and mitigate various environmental impacts to create greater sustainability and overall urban wellness.

He adds - “The curatorial process encourages exhibitors to work collaboratively as a team with members from corporations, young architects, entrepreneurial designers, artists as well as researchers, academics, and those working for NGOs, to help intensify their search for and understanding of the meaning of working and living together.”

To heighten the sense of contextual relevancy, the Hong Kong exhibition venue in Venice will be purposefully disoriented with outdoor spaces rendered as indoor spaces and vice versa by means of special lighting effects. The contradictions between the appearance of these two distorted spaces and their actual reality will raise numerous questions about how surrounding contexts and appearances can affect one’s overall perception of reality.