The Organizing Committee of the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture recently announced that the 2013 Biennale, which will open December 6, will be delivered by two curatorial teams, consisting of Team Ole Bouman and Team Li Xiangning + Jefferey Johnson. Old Bouman wil act as curator, creative director. Li Xiangning + Jefferey Johnson will be the curators, academic directors. The main venues for the event are the former YAOPI float glass factory (venue A) and the old warehouse at Shekou ferry terminal (venue B). More information after the break.
Here is part of the first curatorial statement by Ole Bouman:
Once upon a time in a large part of the world, china was thought of as a remote place. People there described it as an exotic country, in 'the far east'. For them, it was situated at the border of the modern world. For centuries, Shenzhen was a small village at the border of china. that is until a man called Deng Xiaoping decided to develop it as a special economic zone, making it a hub to serve the world with products made in china.
For a long time Shekou was a remote neighborhood at the border of Shenzhen. Shekou was even so much off centre, that a man called Yuan Geng, got a chance to set up a social-economic experiment, establishing in Shekou the first industry park in china and pursuing social and political reforms. Shekous, exactly for its remoteness, could become a laboratory for future change in Pearl River delta and China
All this time, the factory was just that: a factory. A production facility. Nothing special. The factory's design got a prize for being sound and solid, not for being different. All its parts and all its details supported its serving character. It was a factory without glamour, without drama, and did not ask for any attention while it contributed to the glass factory’s purpose: output. it contributed to Shekou’s purpose, to provide the world with Chinese products. It contributed to Shenzhen as a special economic zone.
Today, the situation has changed. Functionality and anonymity are no longer useful. The factory has moved on to new territories, while Shekou revamps itself, one more time as a place to be. Even Shenzhen is no longer an economic special zone, as we know it. It is sparked to become a cultural special zone. From a border city benefiting from production and distribution, it now is ready to transition into a place for ideas and knowledge, for creativity and wit. From its position in a delta it is perfectly located to connect china to the world, and it is now mature enough to become a world in itself:
A Biennale conceived in this way, can not rely on the techniques upon which most Biennales rely: to present stand alone showcases to as many people as possible, at attractive venues that people love to visit. But this Biennale is not one to only please an audience. This Biennale dares to take a risk.
For more information on the event, please visit their official website here.