A Digital Revolution In Shenzhen

Design Society’s latest exhibition explores the intersection of art, science and technology against the dazzling backdrop of this dynamic modern metropolis.

Forty years is a long time, both in terms of of artistic and technological advancements and the lifespan of a metropolis. Ars Electronica, the Austrian cultural, educational and scientific institute, was founded in 1979, the same year that Shenzhen was officially designated a city — a happy coincidence that’s not lost on the curators of “40 Years of Humanizing Technology – Art, Technology, Society”. Presented by Design Society Shenzhen, the Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts and Ars Electronica, the exhibition is taking place at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Nanshan, Shenzhen, and runs until February 16, 2020.

“In the exhibition, we look specifically at the last 40 years, approximately the period in which the so-called Digital Revolution has sparked a rapid, global dynamic and become one of the central global challenges for society,” says Martin Honzik, curator and senior director of Ars Electronica. “Today, we face another paradigm shift with regard to technology and our relationship with it. From automation to its autonomization, it’s practically the independence of the digital self.”

Visitors can explore the ways in which art and science have interacted over the past four decades, and look ahead to an imagined future through an AI experience. Installations from world-renowned science and technology artists, including Nelo Akamatsu, Kate Crawford and Refik Anadol, examine how society has been shaped by our relationships with art and technology and envision a world in which humans live symbiotically with robots.

Documentary project “Ars Electronica in Shenzhen” will run alongside the exhibition and highlight the impact Shenzhen has had on the world as a hub for science, technology and design. ars.electronica.art


The Future Is Now

As one of the most technologically advanced cities in China, Shenzhen is at the forefront of science and culture. Here’s how to experience the future, today.

  • Green energy: Shenzhen began 2019 as the first city in the world to boast an all-electric public transport network; try it out for a taste of how efficient, and quiet, getting around can be.
  • Robotic greeting: Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport employs a fleet of AnBots, also known as intelligent security robots, which are on hand to patrol the terminal and perform security checks.
  • Creative vision: The Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition draws the crowds as much for its Blade Runner-esque architecture as its exhibitions, although they are well worth checking out.
  • Scrape the sky: The best place to understand the scope of contemporary Shenzhen is from the top of one of its tallest buildings. For staggering views, ascend to the 69th floor of Diwang Mansion and bask in all that the Meridian View Center has to offer.


This story first appeared in the December 2019 issue of Smile magazineCebu Pacific flies to Shenzen from Manila. cebupacificair.com

Written by

Mercedes Hutton

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