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Het Nieuwe Instituut presents Automated Landscapes at the 7th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen from 15 December 2017 to 15 March 2018. The presentation, which comprises an installation, a public forum and an academy programme, focuses on emerging architectures and urbanisms of automated labour in the Pearl River Delta region, showcasing present-day case studies of automated manufacturing. Arguably the human-powered ‘factory of the world’, China’s Pearl River Delta region is gradually becoming one of the main arenas for the transition towards manufacturing systems based on human and robot interaction, from automated kitchens and tailor shops to robotic arms and agricultural drones. Yet, in addition to increasing the efficiency of the factory, how do these new conditions of production impact the Pearl River Delta region, the city, and ultimately the bodies that inhabit it?



15 December 2017 – 15 March 2018

The installation presents a short film on automation in the Pearl River Delta by the Rotterdam-based artist Lichun Tseng, showcasing two factories in Shenzhen where this technological order is being implemented. A set of drawings analyzes and documents how these disruptive changes in labor conditions manifest spatially in the Ash Cloud factory in Shenzhen, where humans and robots work closely together. The opening will take place on 15 December 2017.

Public Forum

17 December 2017

In the public forum a diverse group of designers and experts in relevant fields from the Netherlands and China discuss the spatial, cultural and social implications of automation and exchange their knowledge and experiences of both territories. Speakers include Wanyu He (XKOOL), Timothy Jachna (Hong Kong PolyU), Steven Lee (Rapoo Shenzhen), Martijntje Smits (Utrecht University), De Kai(Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Edwin Gardner (Monnik) and Javier Arpa tbc (The Why Factory, TU Delft).

Academy Programme

17-24 December 2017

The academy program will focus on the research and documentation of different cases of automated manufacturing, logistics and supply chain infrastructures in Pearl River Delta. In the first part of the workshop, participants will visit and document a kitchen, a fashion brand, and a factory is planned to be visited, and documented. In the second part of the workshop, participants will will be organized around the development of develop speculative/fictive scenarios of automated futures in cities.


Shenzen, China



The research on the Pearl River Delta region is conducted by Het Nieuwe Instituut in close collaboration with Future+ Aformal Academy, an independent school of urbanism and public art based in Shenzhen. This project is supported by Design Trust Hong Kong (an initiative of the non-profit organisation Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design), and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou.

  • Curators: Merve Bedir, Marten Kuijpers, Marina Otero Verzier
  • Graphic design: Anastasia Kubrak
  • Video: Lichun Tseng
  • Drawings: Ameneh Solati
  • Translations: Wu Chenyi
  • Research:

Research Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut: Marina Otero Verzier, Director of Research; Marten Kuijpers, Senior Researcher; Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Senior Researcher; Ameneh Solati, Researcher; Grace Abou Jaoudeh, Assistant researcher; Chris Zogopoulos, Assistant researcher; and Victor Munoz Sanz (TU Delft / Het Nieuwe Instituut). In collaboration with Future+ Aformal Academy: Merve Bedir, Jason Hilgefort, Junwen Wang, Lucy Xia.

Sincere thanks to

  • Factories: Alex Chen [Ashcloud], Zheng Jianhong and Steven Lee [Rapoo]
  • Field support / consultant: David Li and Yao Lin
  • Supported by Design Trust (an initiative of the non-profit organization Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design) and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou.
Marina Otero Verzier
Katía Truijen
Amal Alhaag, Beatriz Colomina, Marten Kuijpers, Victor Muñoz Sanz, Simone C. Niquille, Mark Wigley
Jane Chew and Matthew Stewart, Northscapes Collective (Hamed Khosravi, Taneha K. Bacchin and Filippo laFleur), Noam Toran, Giuditta Vendrame, Paolo Pattelli, Liam Young.
Raphael Coutin, Marina Otero Verzier
Hans Gremmen
Christiane Bosman, Eveline Mulckhuyse
Simone C. Niquille
Nick Axel
Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science Creative Industries Fund NL Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Rome, Italy

With the title WORK, BODY, LEISURE the 2018 Dutch Pavilion addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body engendered by disruptive changes in labor ethos and conditions.