Opening Ceremony

SHENZHEN, CHINA – The Shenzhen Government proudly presents the 2007 Shenzhen-Hong Kong
Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism: The City of Expiration and Regeneration, on view from
December 8, 2007 through February 29, 2008. Curated by Charlie Koolhaas, Yuyang Liu, and Peter
Zellner with chief curator, Qingyun Ma, the biennale features over 130 exhibits, including architecture,
art, research, interactive media, and citizen participation projects. This is also the inaugural bi-city
Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale, marking a blossoming relationship between these two neighboring

The theme of this year’s biennale is the City of Expiration and Regeneration (CoER). Contemporary
cities have emerged, experiencing youth and maturity. But how does the city preserve its urban vitality
and prevent its impending expiration? Should an organic city design itself with extinction in mind?
After exploring existing notions of urban physical expiration, the Biennale will take preemptive measures,
focusing on energy transformation, urban mutation, and methods of breathing life back into a
city when it inevitably expunges its own resources.

About the Chief Curator
Qingyun Ma is currently the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California,
as well as the principal of MADA s.p.a.m, an architecture and design firm with offices in Beijing,
Shanghai, Xi’an, and Los Angeles.

This exhibition was organized by the Shenzhen Government and was coordinated by the Shenzhen
Planning Bureau in association with SPAMAPS.

About Shenzhen
Despite its modest origins as a tiny fishing village, Shenzhen has become an economic powerhouse in
the Pearl River Delta as a result of its status as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and the rapid construction
and development of thousands of factories. As the bridge linking mainland China to Hong Kong,
Shenzhen has been consecutively ranked first among Chinese mainland cities over the past 14 years in
term of total export volume. The city’s integral role in the global market is clear: Wal-Mart’s global
purchasing headquarters is in Shenzhen. In more recent years, the city has attempted to balance its
factories with tourist, recreational centers including over five theme parks, and Mission Hills, the selfproclaimed
“largest golf course in the world.”

General Information
For general information or press information (including images or scheduling an interview), please
contact Christine Noblejas at +86.1.379.840.0014 or through email biennale2007@spamaps.com.

The following letter was sent from Qingyun Ma, chief curator of the 2007 Shenzhen Biennale. It was
circulated between international entities invested in architecture and urbanism. The solicitation letter
for answers to 10 curatorial questions was attached in pages that followed.

Dear Madam / Sir:
Biennales are boring! A biennale on Urbanism & Architecture is more than boring, it’s almost impossible.
How new can a city be in two years? It was under these circumstances that I was appointed to
curate this year’s Shenzhen Biennale. But the exciting possibility of bringing this two-year old, infant
biennale out of its already grown boredom outweighs the general nothingness of stale biennales. So, I
decided to give it a shot. The biennale must be redefined as more than a simple exhibit. In order for it
to be a multi-directional, multi-layered flow of energy, I will be implementing three new strategies:

1. We will have more curators than exhibitors. We must escape the traveling biennale circus: the same
familiar faces, names and works migrating from biennale to biennale. Instead, we will showcase what
really interests us- their ideas and thoughts. While it takes years to build a city or a building, it only
takes an instant to spark new thoughts and ideas. Therefore, I am requesting your response to a set of
ten curatorial questions. By offering original ideas, you too will effectively become a curator.

2. This biennale will uproot itself and relocate around the world. An “anti-catalogue” series of notebooks
and pamphlets will be published to register, organize (or disorganize) ideas created during the
preparation of this biennale. “To-go” formal publications of the exhibition will also be available to
circulate internationally. In order to push boundaries outside of Shenzhen, this will also be the first
bi-city Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale.

3. As a counterpart to the international scale of the Biennale, we are integrating the participation of
everyday Shenzhen citizens and their routine urban life. A majority of exhibits will be entries from or
about Shenzhen citizens. We have also assembled research teams to investigate Shenzhen. The
“dissolving biennale” act will employ Shenzhen’s public transportation systems (subway) and private
transportation (bicycles) to be part of the biennale venues.

Qingyun Ma
Chief Curator, 2007 Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale
Director, MADA s.p.a.m.
Dean, USC School of Architecture