'Beyond: 2nd Guangzhou Triennial', curated by Hou Hanru, Hans Ulrich-Obrist and Guo Xiaoyan, was opened at the Guangdong Museum of Art. In conjunction with this exhibition, a one-day symposium entitled 'Trading Places: Cultural Imaginaries of the Pearl River Delta' was held in Hong Kong on 21 November at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, organized by the Art School of the Hong Kong Arts Centre and co-presented by the AAA and Guangdong Museum of Art. 

Orchestrated by Dr Matthew Turner, 'Trading Places' was an event that asked questions about the shifting cultural images of contemporary Hong Kong and Macau, as their unique cultures increasingly blend into the flux of the dynamic and occasionally troubling new entity of the Pearl River Delta. The following themes were set to prompt dialogues at various sessions of the symposium:

  • 200-Mile-long City: By 2013, continuous development may join the cities of the Pearl River Delta together into one metropolis; what are the cultural imaginaries of this urban hyper-growth?
  • Asserting Culture: How do artists imagine, and creative industries 'brand', culture in the Pearl River Delta, which, like Hong Kong, was once viewed as containing little of cultural value?
  • Troubled Icons: Do the contested 'iconic' cultural developments in Hong Kong and Macau reflect a renewed sense of identity or anxiety at possible absorption within the greater Pearl River Delta?
  • Competing Imaginaries: Apart from the hyperbole of official promotion, how do we visualize the alternative reality of many unequal, conflicted cultural identities within the Pearl River Delta?

A post-event publication was published in 2007. 


Introduction to Trading Places: Cultural Imaginaries of the Pearl River Delta 

 In 2004 an artist designed a flag for an imaginary country: the Pearl River Delta. 

Smart and cool, the flag represents the region's new economic identity. For the hodgepodge of industrial and commercial zones that cluster around the Pearl River Delta, together with the financial centres of Hong Kong and Macau , are now recognised to be a single economic entity –one that CEPA and Legco visits are transforming into a new kind of administrative region.

Of course, if the PRD were a country then its GDP would compare to that of Australia and outstrip many developed European countries. But economic statistics rarely include Hong Kong and Macau within the PRD. Culturally, even the Delta's experimental art and urbanism projects (D-Lab), projects that will culminate in the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial this November, make only passing reference to these cities.

‘Trading Places' is an event that asks questions about the shifting cultural images of contemporary Hong Kong and Macau as their unique cultures increasingly blend into the flux of the dynamic and occasionally troubling new entity of the Pearl River Delta.

Come and 'trade places' with us to explore these new cultural imaginaries. Our themes might include:

200 Mile Long City: by 2013, continuous development may join the cities of the Pearl River Delta together into one metropolis; what are the cultural imaginaries of this urban hypergrowth?

Asserting Culture: how do artists imagine, and creative industries 'brand' culture in the Pearl River Delta –which like Hong Kong was once viewed as containing little of cultural value?

Troubled Icons: do the contested 'iconic' cultural developments in Hong Kong and Macau reflect a renewed sense of identity -or anxiety at possible absorption within the greater Pearl River Delta?

Competing Imaginaries: apart from the hyperbole of official promotion, how do we visualise the alternative reality of many unequal, conflicted cultural identities within the Pearl River Delta?

Exchanges   
Fifteen selected artists, designers and cultural commentators from Hong Kong and Macau will exchange impressions with their counterparts in the Pearl River Delta, visiting the Shenzhen Creative Industries Fair and the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial. Then fifteen artists, designers and cultural commentators from China will join us for the Symposium in Hong Kong .    

Participants include:

Chan Koon-chung, Cultural Critic (Hong Kong / Beijing)

Chen Tong, Writer, Cultural Critic and Independent Artist (Guangzhou, China)

May Fung, Independent Artist, Member of People's Panel on West Kowloon (Hong Kong)

Guo Xiaoyan, Curator of Guangdong Museum of Art, Curator of the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou, China)

Laurent Gutierrez, Artchitect, Map Office (Hong Kong)

Hou Hanru, Independent curator and Curator of the Second Guangzhou Triennial (France)

Claire Hsu, Executive Director, Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong)

Hu Fang, Artistic Director, Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou, China)

Dr. Desmond Hui, Director, Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

Frank Lei, Artistic Director, Old Ladies House Art Space (Macau)

Prof. Matthew Turner, Director of The Art School, Hong Kong Arts Centre (Hong Kong)

Phoebe Wong, Head Researcher, Project Manager, Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong)


Supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Relevant content

Trading Places: Contemporary Art and Cultural Imaginaries of the Pearl River Delta
Trading Places: Contemporary Art and Cultural Imaginaries of the Pearl River Delta
Reference

Trading Places: Contemporary Art and Cultural Imaginaries of the Pearl River Delta

交易場域: 珠江三角洲的當代藝術與文化想像
2007

The Second Guangzhou Triennial: BEYOND, An Extraordinary Space of Experimentation for Modernization
The Second Guangzhou Triennial: BEYOND, An Extraordinary Space of Experimentation for Modernization
Exhibition Catalogue

The Second Guangzhou Triennial: BEYOND, An Extraordinary Space of Experimentation for Modernization

第二屆廣州三年展: 別樣, 一個特殊的現代化實驗空間
2005

AAA’s newly renovated library and The Collective School exhibition are open by appointment only starting Monday, 3 October. Register here to arrange a visit.