The last Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture kicked off in late 2009 and kept Hong Kong co-curators Eric Schuldenfrei, Marisa Yiu, Alan Lo and Frank Yu busy throughout its three month-long festivities. For Yiu and Schuldenfrei however, it was only the beginning of an ongoing exchange of ideas surrounding the architecture and urban environment of Hong Kong.
Keeping the conversation alive and channelling their biennale experiences, the architects - founding partners of New York/Hong Kong-based interdisciplinary design studio ESKYIU - have edited and launched Instant Culture, a book that follows up on the main themes of the 2009 event: individual participation, social sustainability and design.
With highlights including a debate on the future of the West Kowloon Cultural District (the plans for which are currently in development) the book's main thrust is a critique of the 'instant' culture that has been a by-product of Hong Kong's rapid transformation. This, the editors argue, 'created a need for immediate gratification that dominates our cultural landscape'.
Apart from handily cataloguing the biennale's talks and exhibitions, Yiu and Schuldenfrei wanted to offer commentary and feedback on those events, with further explorations of the subjects of 'cultural advocacy, social sustainability, education, participatory protocols and future creative urban infrastructure'. With this in mind, the book contains contributions and essays from an impressive array of specialists, including local and international architects, designers and artists such as Shigeru Ban, Rem Koolhaas, Brett Steele and Xu Bing.
In addition to editing the book, Yiu and Schuldenfrei have also added their own written contributions to the mix. The result is a publication that explores Asia's culture and creativity, as well as providing valuable fuel for further dialogue on the future of the region's architecture.