City University of Hong Kong
DESIGN: A TECHNOLOGY OF REDISTRIBUTION In Venice, before bridges, every island was a semi-autonomous ‘parish’ centred on its campo, and to which access was limited. The city-wide needs of survival and commerce required more efficient cross-city movement. This led to the first bridges, redistributing accessibility more equitably amongst all Venetians. Accessibility should be a public resource.
Manhattan’s original grid layout was intended to maximise saleable development plots. Central Park’s later insertion into this grid increased both public value for citizens, and private value for surrounding real estate. Urban parks are a multi-faceted public resource.
In central Paris redistribution of road space from vehicles to pedestrians lead to improvement in quality of pedestrian experience but perhaps, irate drivers. Redistribution in cities happens by design, but is always contested.
In Hong Kong, the air conditioner is a device that re-distributes the benefit of ‘thermal comfort’ to different urban dwellers, from the cardboard pickers sweltering under the compressors, to the lucky financiers enjoying the interior cool.
The micro-technologies of redistribution that are recalled in our project reflect nothing so concrete as a ‘spatial contract’ (as imagined by the Curators), but the (re)discovery of sensibilities of a gentler way of living together, which are surprisingly, found in every day Hong Kong. Far from being un-designed, they are, in fact, informal but often precise designs in space and time that enable living in a crowded city.
HONG KONG AND VENICE Two mythic trading capitals of their respective centuries. Mediating the Orient and Occident, they generated fabulous wealth for their masters, but also collateral inequities.
Their unlikely terrains create extreme urban experiences, similar only in that they are often spectacular.
HKviaVenice This installation interweaves three elements, which invites you to explore resonances between the two cities, while considering how thoughtful and thoughtless design redistributes - perhaps mis-distributes - urban resources, and affects how we live together:
1.‘seeing and hearing’: watch the essence of Hong Kong’s public spaces unfold in a short film, and tell the stories of un-designed, improvisational everyday redistributions that take place in the accidental spaces left over after officially-permitted design.
2.‘feeling’: sit in those tired chairs from Hong Kong’s streets. The very same chairs that embody how and why improvisation is needed.
‘exploring’: look for places or stories in Venice, that remind you of Hong Kong. Share with us images of Venice that capture the smell, look, sound, feel and taste of Hong Kong.