An Experimental Call To Action For Climate Change

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 19 2017 / 19:47 PM

For 100 days, the second chapter of the ongoing Shanghai Project tackles the sustainability of our future

An Experimental Call To Action For Climate Change
Photography by Matthew Niederhauser. Image courtesy the What is Missing? Foundation
Maya Lin. Installation view of What is Missing? The Empty Room. 2009.

Following the first chapter in 2016, Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Olbrist will mount part two of their Shanghai Project, called Seeds of Time, a call to action for the climate crisis. Initially established as a biennial, the ongoing event has abandoned traditional formatting and adopted an investigative, experimental laboratory complete with live events, screenings, publications, social interventions and more, to question and consider the boundaries, assumptions and sustainability of ideas, knowledge and initiatives. “Facing the spectre of extinction,” Shanghai Project representatives said in a statement, “we seek to inspire discussion and action regarding the sustainability of our futures in the 22nd century and the potential for solutions through interdisciplinary collaboration.”

As the second part tackles the urgency of environmental and social concerns, Lee and Obrist bring together artists from distinct disciplines to explore the causes and effects of ecological transformations. An artistic outlet as much as it is a social outcry, key works include Sophia Al Maria’s The Limerent Object, combining video, dance and text; the Leonardo da Vinci-inspired work Mind Palace by Li Naihan, which comes in the form of a virtual reality experience that explores methods and practices of future polymaths; Qiu Anxiong’s Route of the Future which responds to Sci-Fi writer Ken Liu’s Shanghai in 48 Hours, A Weekend Itinerary for International Visitors by Roaming Planets Guides, 2116, by imagining what the underwater city of Shanghai will be like in 100 years; several works by Yoko Ono that serve to offer hope in an otherwise bleak showcase; as well as pieces by Bruno Latour, Otobong Nkanga, Liu Chuang and Maya Lin whose work is based on research into the role of technology, human migration, the limitations of scientific exploration in creating sustainable futures and offer a tribute to vanished species while ominously addressing a sixth mass extinction.

Shanghai Project, Chapter 2 – Seeds of Time runs 22 April-30 July 2017 at Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Envision Pavilion and Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Museum, Shanghai, China. For more information visit