City Metaphors

Hong Kong

Urban Studies in Zürich, Hamburg and Hong Kong

Currently, more than half of the human population lives in cities, the 21st century is often described as the “century of cities”. The attraction of cities is usually justified economically, based not only on the large number people and goods coming together, but also the resulting concentration of problems, be they ecological, economic or social. There is however another central aspect: Cities produce images and stories, symbols, myths, metaphors. Their almost magnetic attraction rests in large part on this excess of meaning that gives cities a function in social pioneering and cultural orientation.

Here, new work and life forms, new forms of mobility and housing, new cultures and artistic forms are explored, evaluated, dismissed, or built up. The city of the 21st century is also a collection of potentials and hopes, generating permanently new images and metaphors: it is itself a metaphor for the hopes and fears of society as a whole. This creative potential of the city between lebenswelt, creative practice, and theoretical research is at the centre of this project.

Unreal Estates of China (Map Office)

Unreal Estates of China (Map Office)

The main goal of the new initiative is to investigate topics and methodologies of urban studies, based on approaches from the cultural studies and the arts/design, and to apply them to individual theoretical/creative research projects. The possibility to explore the theme in three very diverse city spaces (Zürich, Hamburg, Hong Kong) opens up opportunities for differentiated observations and cross-cultural reflections on the questions and issues related to the study of contemporary urban textures worldwide. Creative or theoretic projects (or projects bringing together both these perspectives) are considered acceptable outcomes.

Cooperation Partners

Schedule – Project Weeks

  • January 5-9, 2015 (Zurich, students from Hamburg and Zurich)
  • April 1-11, 2015 (Zurich and Hamburg, students from Hong Kong, Hamburg and Zurich)
  • June 15-19, 2015 (Hong Kong, students from Zurich and Hong Kong)


will be shown in an exhibition in Connecting Space Hong Kong and in Zurich and subsequently published in Common. Journal for Art and Public Sphere (2015).