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January 11, 2022, 8:30 am

January 11, 2022, 8.30am EST
Virtual Event
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In this online event artist Kwan Q Li (SMACT ’22) and architect Joel Cunningham (SMArchS AD’22) will share their project No humans in the City, but Weeds – a piece of artistic research that examines an emerging trend of data-centre urbanism. This collaborative project commenced in 2019 and intends to stimulate collective imagination around the agency and performativity of human communities within increasingly post-human urban environments.

Following the duo presentation, Director of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, Sunnie Lau, curator and writer Vere van Gool, and multidisciplinary designer Sam Ghantous will respond to the presentation. The conversation will focus on different means of performing in the margins, with perspectives from urban design, writing, curating, and web design. 

This event will be co-hosted by the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, as part of the 2022 IAP workshop “Beyond Smart Cities: A Self-Sustaining and Liveable 10-min Neighborhood”  which is supported by Invigorating Island South Office (IISO) and MIT Media Lab City Science Group. 

An online archive of the project can be found at https://nohumans.city – a website created in collaboration with ACT alumnus Gary Zhexi Zhang (SMACT ’19) and MArch alumnus Sam Ghantous (MArch ’ 17)  from the design studio Foreign Objects. The project’s short film was exhibited at the 2021 Venice Biennale International Architecture (Hong Kong Pavilion), while a related academic paper is scheduled to be published by AI & Society Journal (Q1 2022). This project was funded by the Hong Kong Design Trust and the Council for the Arts at MIT.


Sunnie S.Y. Lau

Sunnie is the Director, Head of Smart City Research and Industry Collaboration at MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the HKU. Taking up the roles of both practitioner and educator, she has been promoting architecture by designing, exhibiting, writing as outreach, and engaging communities. The endeavors included publicizing ongoing research topics on Kowloon East Inclusive Innovation & Growth, urban research-oriented design seminar, and facilitating dialogue between professionals, academia and young members at various cross disciplinary platforms and institutions.

Her international experiences began with renowned architectural practices prior to postgraduate study at the M.I.T.. As an active council member of both HKIA and HKIUD; she has also taken the post of Chairing the Board of Education Affairs at the HKIA in 2021; Co-Chair of HKIA, HKIUD Young Members Committee since 2019 as well as HKIA representative in UIA Commission and Work Programmes. In 2017, She was invited to be the Co-Curator & Exhibitor of the Hong Kong Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale Of Urbanism\Architecture (Hong Kong).

Vere van Gool

Vere van Gool is a curator and writer based in New York and Paris. From 2015-2020 Vere was Associate Director and Curator at New Museum’s IdeasCity program in New York. Previously she worked as Course Lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, researcher at Forensic Architecture, and independent curator. She graduated with Honours from the Architectural Association in London in 2014. Currently she works as Art Editor at Large for Curated By, a new cultural journal for art, fashion and philosophy. 

Vere has organized and curated programs at Anthology Film Archives, Architectural Association, BMW Shanghai, NTU CCA Singapore, Emily Harvey Foundation, Het Nieuwe Instituut, New Museum, NEON Athens, LUMA Foundation, and The Bentway. Her writing has been featured in BOMB Magazine, e-flux, REAL Review, Terremoto Magazine, Pin-Up Magazine, Vogue Netherlands, and Volume Magazine among others. She has lectured at the Architectural Association, Cooper Union, Columbia University, Design Academy Eindhoven, Goldsmiths, Gwangju Biennale, Harvard University, Matadero Madrid, NTU Center for Contemporary Art Singapore, NEON Athens, Pioneer Works, SOMA Mexico, and Storefront for Art and Architecture.

Sam Ghantous 

SAM GHANTOUS operates with the entanglements between architecture and contemporary media through installations that situate interactive software simultaneously with constructed spaces and objects. He has exhibited with YveYANG Gallery, Postmasters Gallery, and ZKM at the Ludwig Museum, and has taught at Cornell, MIT, and currently the University of Toronto.

He is a co-founder of FOREIGN OBJECTS, a multidisciplinary and itinerant design and research studio. They have won the Mozilla Creative Media Award and the Bard Digital AiR, as well as having completed work at the Internet Archive, New Museum, and for Shannon Mattern.