About Shanghai Project

From its initiation in 2016, the Shanghai Project has been an experiment, a laboratory for testing the boundaries of existing assumptions, and for considering how ideas might expand beyond the confines of individual silos of knowledge. With each new chapter, the ever-unfolding structure develops further beyond the biennial format to which it first responded.

Through public programs, publications, screenings, exhibitions, open calls, and architectural commissions, the Shanghai Project continues to defy categorization. Each new chapter seeks to engage new methods and formats. Shanghai Project Chapter 1 focused on public programs and audience engagement through the completion of Sou Fujimoto’s Envision Pavilion, children’s programs, an open call for the post-1989 generation, and an intensive calendar of performances, talks, screenings, and events. Chapter 2 takes an exhibition as its central component, while the next chapters might venture into a book series, a program of lectures or something entirely new.

For Chapters 1 and 2, we address the state of the planet and how to achieve sustainable futures. For subsequent chapters we will continue to evolve, while remaining committed to examining those challenges that are most urgent. In both its adaptability and vision, the Shanghai Project seeks to draw together Researchers to take on the crucial issues of our time to go beyond the fear of pooling knowledge. At the present moment, certainly in the context of China, there is no greater challenge than the sustainability of our futures.

The future itself remains an abstraction until we consider that we are close enough to the 22nd century to measure and address its contours, conditioned by what we know and what exists today. In Chapter 1, entitled Envision 2116, for example, we imagined and explored the idea of sustainability 100 years from now through the framework of social, environmental, and political transformation. The numeral “2116” may serve as an arbitrary placeholder to signify a time that seems distant, but the futures explored by the Shanghai Project Researchers prove that it is not unimaginable when seen through the prism of the present in which we live – a time of both apocalyptic realities and endless innovation.

The Shanghai Project is organized by the Shanghai Himalayas Museum, co-organized by the Shanghai International Culture Association, with lead sponsors Envision Energy and Zendai Group.