26th September 2019

Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life

Lisa Habernik discusses Future Cities, an exhibition considering the role of technology in modern cities.
Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life
Future Cities Photo: Lisa Habernik

Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life is an exhibition displaying the contentious issue of how technology does, and will, effect the shape of our future in cities. The small gallery space in the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is divided into two parts: The Cinematic Home of Everyday, and the use of smart devices.

The Cinematic Home of Everyday focuses on how films present and shape the everyday actions and behaviours that technology has on different cultures. The space is creatively divided by stencilled lines on the floor to represent different rooms of a traditional house. Alongside this, the use of furniture emphasises the idea of entering a home, with different film installations in each room.

The second part of the exhibition features one sculpture and three video installations. Slowly, the exhibition claims, every device will become “smart” and claim to make our life easier. The technological change and development is unstoppable. Our awareness of technology will reduce as it sinks into the very fabric of our everyday life.

The highlight of the exhibit is Lawrence Lek’s video essay, Pyramid Schemes (2018). In this 18 minute-long-film he criticises the use of architecture as a tool for political orders. In the past, cathedrals, churches, and sculptures were used for religious propaganda. Now, skyscrapers take a political role.

Society is addicted to novelty. With the help of 3D modelling, images of buildings appear online long before they are realised. Once they are finally built, they are often already out of trend. The architecture of the new millennium has yet to be build. Criticism also focuses on the apparent prioritisation of the aesthetic qualities of buildings.

Nowadays some architecture is accused of being too superficial and too technical to progress. While many buildings that are actually built lose their Utopian drive, instead simply acting as a server for public needs. There is a need to address this divide.

This exhibition claims that architecture should return to its original purpose: to locate ourselves in space and time.

Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life will be displayed in the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art until 19th October.

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