Curapolis casts curatorial practice into the public realm by combining an advocacy role and the examination of contemporary urban culture and spaces. By looking at the city as collections to be examined, curated, disclosed and directed towards future actions, Curapolis differs from current curatorial projects in three ways:
1. Curating as Agency
As an act of advocacy, curating is an important stage in the process of activating participation, gathering and advancing ideas, as well as crafting strategies that can bring about meaningful change in how we conceive, design and live in contemporary cities.
2. Curating in an Accelerated Time and a Networked Culture
Curapolis recognizes the phenomenon of an accelerated time in the 21st century while living in a networked culture means ideas multiply, connect, splinter and reform in myriad ways. How we respond meaningfully to the pace of transformation, plurality of voices and democratization of curating brought on by the Internet is critical in uncovering new curatorial and spatial possibilities.
3. Curating and the City
Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project could well possibly be 20th century's first example of how the experience the city is a curated collection of categories. Curapolis draws inspiration from Benjamin’s novel approach in understanding the city of his time but aims for a broader and cross-disciplinary focus.
I was invited by the Make a Difference School in Hong Kong to be a guest facilitator for their 1- month in-Situ studio in To Kwa Wan. Over 3 days in August, I gave a public lecture on the concept of Social Archiving and conducted discussions with the participants and local residents on the future of the neighborhood that has been slated for re-development.
Looking at To Kwa Wan superficially, one sees only the large number of car repair workshops, and would not have imagined the neighborhood contains a rich and diverse collection of social relations and history. When I dived deeper through my street conversations with the local residents, I discovered a resident who plays the flute to entertain passerby and made a very good impression of local singing birds. There was a shop that makes local pastry from a recipe that goes back 40 years, and even a car repair workshop that doubles up as a place to look after the child of a resident who has to work part-time.