Design Trust Feature Grant

Future of the Past: Hong Kong 2047+

Hong Kong Design History Network

The Hong Kong Design History Network is a platform that seeks to elicit interest and debate on Hong Kong’s design history and legacy. In this effort, we respond to the London Design Biennale 2020 theme “Resonance” with a curatorial proposal for a Hong Kong Pavilion entitled “Future of the Past: Hong Kong 2047+”. Re-engaging with the archives of and in Hong Kong, the pavilion will speculate how the histories and ideas of Hong Kong resonate in different parts of the world. It will question how history will be accessed, documented, and shared in the future, and complicate the networks of information exchange from the past.

Combined with the materiality and notion of fortune-telling rituals, the audience will play a game of Chinese Whispers, each day regenerating the past and producing a ‘fortune’ for the future. Captured in sand, visitors’ written strokes will be projected and recorded over the duration of the exhibition to collate an archive of resonance on-site and online. 

The pavilion, therefore, presents an alternative archive, documenting the multiple, interwoven, non-linear histories of Hong Kong and encouraging collective speculation beyond the rhetorical narratives of the city’s future.

Bringing together three of the most exciting contemporary design studios in Hong Kong – Aona, K2 and Trilingua, the pavilion will be designed through a collaborative process, engaging directly with archives, spaces, systems, and historical research material.

About Hong Kong Design History Network

The Hong Kong Design History Network (HKDHNet) is a research collective focused on the diverse design histories of Hong Kong. Founded by a group of alumni of the V&A/RCA History of Design programme and the RCA/Design Trust Fellowship, HKDHNet work across academic and public institutions to re-contextualise histories of Hong Kong through collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects centred on design and material culture. Connected by personal and scholarly ties to Hong Kong, members of the collective come from various fields within art, design, academia, and museums with a wide range of expertise in architecture, urban studies, fashion and dress, and exhibitions, amongst others. HKDHNet are currently based in the UK and Hong Kong. 

About Janice Li

Janice Li is a London-based curator and researcher of design, fashion and material culture, with a focus in the crossing over of art, design, science and humanities, as well as their relations with inclusivity and sustainability. She also engages in projects concerning intersectionality and decolonisation. Janice’s passion lies within the interactions between the space, the people, and the ‘things’ they wear and use,  particularly in a crossmodal and transcultural context.

An alumna of the Royal College of Art, she has independently curated design exhibitions at Venice Design, Salone del Mobile, MoMA Biodesign, Vienna Design Week and the 24th edition of the RCA Secret, while being a consultant for the Science Museum (London). Previously worked on ‘Fashioned from Nature’, she is now an Assistant Curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum for its V&A East development. Her curatorial practice explores how sensory experiences in designed environments and immersive art forms contribute to the understanding of intangible data and knowledge.