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About 2019 UABB

The theme of 2019 UABB (Shenzhen) is "Urban Interactions". The team of Chief Curators includes Architect and Director of MIT Senseable City Lab Carlo Ratti, CAE Academician Meng Jianmin and famous curator and art critic Fabio Cavallucci. The exhibition consists of two sections, namely "Eyes of the City" and "Ascending City", which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The exhibition is scheduled to open at the Futian Railway Station and the surrounding areas, the Main Venue, in Shenzhen in December 2019. At the same time,  nine sub-venues will be set up in other districts of the city to interconnect with the Main Venue, completing an organically interactive network throughout the city.
In the deepening process of global spatial connectivity and regional integration, Urban Interactions have become a universal topic featuring both philosophical significance and valuable innovative application. Urban interactions involve interactions between cities, between city and people, and between people in cities. In a sense, the city itself is a giant and complicated outcome of “system interactions”. With the emergence of more and more new interaction technologies (such as high-speed inter-city railway, big data and cloud computing, IoT, and AI recognition technology), from virtual space to daily life, physical urban interface to human society organization, and global production-consumption system to large urban clusters across regions, more and more unprecedented phenomena like “super city”, “super species” and “super society” will emerge. New relations including urban interactions, human-computer interactions, social interactions are gradually shaping and forming a new domain that humanity is about to face in the near future.
Shenzhen and Hong Kong are a typical pair of the most interesting interactive cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. What new relations will the two develop and iterate? This may be a question this UABB will probe into. The selection of Futian underground high-speed railway station, the most important transport hub connecting Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as Main Venue of this UABB may suggest an intriguing clue: what would happen when the distance between the two giant super urban centers is reduced to less than 15 minutes. Moreover, from the context of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to the networked global space, it can be foreseen that S&T innovation will be intricately integrated with urban spaces, and new urban interactions will also bring about many unexpected and amazing scenes of future life.

About Ascending City

Architecture exhibitions and large scale architecture biennials are undergoing a moment of semantic and operational renewal.
Therefore, “Ascending City" departs from the necessity to mix genres and to reflect on architecture also through the eyes of other disciplines that contribute to shaping architecture itself and at the same time are shaped by it.
“Ascending City” is structured as a path made of diverse yet cohesive contributions, a journey that develops from the perspective of the citizen and stretches to the bird's eye view of architects and urban planners, up to the most immaterial, philosophical, imaginative, speculative even spiritual realms.
The exhibition theme is divided into three areas of exploration: “Empowering Citizens in Progressive Cities”, “Urban Alchemists" and “Daily Sci-Fi.”
The first section employs the point of view of the user, of the citizen at the center of the great technological changes of our times.
The second section employs the point of view of the creators, the ones who have the duty to develop technologies in the urban realm: architects, urbanists, technologists, politicians.
The third section employs the point of view of those visionary thinkers like philosophers, sci-fi writers, artists whose contribution consists of imagining a future that can become an ideal city, the realm of utopia, but also and sadly the realm of dystopia.

Three areas of exploration:

Empowering Citizens in Progressive Cities
This section reflects on relations with new technologies and the huge changes they produce on issues related to individual citizenship and individual identity. It investigates how technology and its usage in architecture has impacted the lives of citizens by exploring the tensions between inclusion and emancipation (how technology and architecture can enhance the feeling of belonging to one’s community, to one’s urban environment, to one’s time), while also giving rise to exclusion and control (how technology and architecture can heighten feelings of alienation toward one’s community, to one’s urban environment, to one’s time). It examines the emancipatory potential of technology at the level of citizenship practices but also as a tool that enslaves the individual and makes him a servomechanism of a complex system.
Urban Alchemists
This section will document and reflect on changes in cities from the point of view of those who work with the tools that produce them: architects, artists and urbanists. Their works—those mainly of actual research in the real laboratories of urban life, create new environments and new ways of experiencing the city through the use of innovative materials, technologies and ways of working. This section deals with transformations and the great mutations of the city from the microscopic world (creation of new materials and nanotechnologies) to the macroscopic sphere (planning and implementation of large urban infrastructures).
Daily Sci-fi
This section will be the meeting point between the desire to shape futuristic aesthetics embodied by cities projected and created in outer space and higher dimensions, and the images of cities as portrayed in science fiction. In this section, “Ascending” is seen as the place for utopia, far from daily problems, shaping an ideal city that will never be realized. Yet, the realm of utopia can also shed some light on the real world, helping us to understand the problems we meet in our daily life and to solve them through adoption of different points of view.

Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB) is currently the only biennial exhibition in the world that is based exclusively on the set themes of URBANISM AND URBANIZATION. Co-organized by the two neighboring and closely interacting cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta, concerns itself with globally common urban issues, extensively communicates and interacts with the wider public, is presented using expressions of contemporary visual culture, and engages in international and avant-garde dimensions as well as discourses of public interest.