Utopia Now: Opening the Closed Area: Return exhibition for the Venice Biennale HK Pavilion

Peter Hasdell, Joshua Bolchover

Research output: Creative and literary works / consulting reports / case studiesPerformance and exhibitsAcademic research


In 2010 the HK government will redraw the line of its border offering up to 2000 Ha of land for development. This land currently occupies the Closed Area – a buffer zone that was established in 1951 to control migration and crime from the mainland. Since 1982 the city of Shenzhen has exploded from a City of 200,000 to 11 million inhabitants. The border couldn’t be more extreme with generic super dense village block buildings on the Shenzhen side and an agricultural patchwork on the Hong Kong side. A key site within the Closed Area is the Lok Ma Chau Loop – a 1 km² piece of land that was created as a result of the straightening of the Shenzhen River, effectively leaving an island of Shenzhen within the administration of Hong Kong. The special status of the Lok Ma Chau Loop can be seen as a special planning zone, a place where new forms of urbanism and experimental pilot projects can occur.

Our brief is to imagine a new city in the Lok Ma Chau Loop. We wish to create an idea driven provocation that questions the future of this key border site. How can this site set a precedent for development for the entire Frontier Area? As the future development of Hong Kong is interdependent with that of the Mainland how can this site act as a micro-cosm for much larger issues such as the “one country, two systems” policy or indeed the final dissolution of the border in 2047?

Utopia Now will investigate these issues to create a discursive, abstract spatial model: a 1m x1m x 1m virtual cube which directly relates to a 1: 1000 model of the 1km2 site of the Lok Ma Chau Loop. Photographs of the unique urban experiences of Hong Kong and Shenzhen will be viewed as ingredients describing the potential lived, spatial experience of our future model city of Lok Ma Chau.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputArt medium
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventReturn exhibition final forum for the Venice Biennale HK Pavilion - HK Heritage Centre, Hong Kong
Duration: 2 Feb 2009 → …


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