Alternative Futures: Curating Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Inspired to present cases that illustrate major challenges that could be faced by Hong Kong on evolving into a cultural hub from a financial centre, this project looks to pick up the interconnected areas between ‘economy’ and ‘culture’. The project group believed that the creative industries are greatly affected by such leniency towards being a cultural hub. By exploring the interconnections rahter than considering ‘economy’ and ‘culture’ as separate fields, the tema opens up a range of ‘in-betweens’, looked into the established ideas of the economy and the culture, and further on attempt to redefine them on a global scale.

A central focus for curation today and the advancement of curatorial strategies in the context of the creative economies is ‘curating alternative futures’. While people observe the obsession of the future, neglecting that any considerations of alternative futures may imply for the present (i.e. ‘curating alternative presents’), as well as for our perspectives on the past (i.e. ‘curating alternative pasts’).

The group posited the following four central dimensions of curation under this context:

  • Staging stories: with in the actual present as centre, alternative futures, presents and pasts are narrated and curated to envision possible futures and re-tell history. ‘Staging stories’ is to translate and make sense of such narratives through establishing tangible prototypes, artifacts, media and spaces.
  • Valuation devices: curating implies the systematic evaluation of alternate possibilities to select attractive, desirable, relevant, or valid initiatives. As such, curatorial practice creates, actualizes and references various judgment devices as valuation tools, including lists, rankings, paradigmatic examples, performance dimensions, algorithms, community judgments, standards and so on
  • Mobilizing resources: materialising initiatives requires the mobilization of financial and non-financial resources, orientation towards heterogeneous audiences, involvement of multiple actors, artifacts, experiences and competences, connections with organizations, institutions and collectives, among other things. The curation and harmonic allocation of resources are factors affecting the attractiveness of exhibitions, installations, initiatives and projects.
  • Alternative institutionalizations: curatorial practice not only focuses on the realization of specific exhibitions, installations, initiatives and projects, but at the same time always also on the creation, establishment and advancement of institutional contexts, which provide the basis for the recurrent realization of novel initiatives and projects, for example in the form of museums, laboratories, agencies, communities, forums, associations, and more

Project Leaders:

  • Christoph Weckerle, Zurich University of the Arts
  • Simon Grand, University of St. Gallen, Zurich University of the Arts
  • Desmond Hui, Director, Culture and Development Consultancy/ Adjunct Professor, HKIEd

In collaboration with: Nuria Krämer (Connecting Spaces Hong Kong – Zurich).