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Arguably the human-powered ‘factory of the world’, China’s Pearl River Delta region is gradually becoming one of the main areas for the transition towards manufacturing systems based on human and robot interaction. 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?

From automated kitchens and tailor shops to robotic arms and agricultural drones, the spatial arrangements and protocols that are the result of the automation of labour challenge conventional spatial requirements and normative rules for health, safety and welfare. They bring new forms of territorial occupation and contestation, and lie beyond classic notions of authorship and signature.

This research is part of Automated Landscapes, and documents and reflects upon the emerging architectures and urbanisms of automated labour in the Pearl River Delta region, focusing on present-day case studies of automated manufacturing, logistics and supply chain infrastructures. The selected case studies shed light on potential new/future architectural typologies, such as new definitions of work and labour, and interactions between humans and machines.

The research accumulated in a five-channel video installation presented at the 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen (21 December 2019–March 2020), and an installation, public forum, and academy program at the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen (15 December 2017–15 March 2018).

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.

Research Team

Research Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut: Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Ameneh Solati, Anastasia Kubrak, Ludo Groen. In collaboration with Merve Bedir, Jason Hilgefort, Junwen Wang, Lucy Xia (Future+ Aformal Academy).

 

Projects

Marina Otero Verzier & Marten Kuijpers
Víctor Muñoz Sanz (TU Delft); Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Grace Abou Jaoudeh (Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Ludo Groen, Ameneh Solati, Anastasia Kubrak & Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Het Nieuwe Instituut); Merve Bedir, Jason Hilgefort, Junwen Wang & Lucy Xia (Future+ Aformal Academy), Víctor Muñoz Sanz
Víctor Muñoz Sanz & Grace Abou Jaoudeh (TU Delft); Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Ludo Groen, Emma Paola Flores Herrera & Chris Zogopoulos (Het Nieuwe Instituut)
Marina Otero Verzier, Marten Kuijpers, Anastasia Kubrak & Ludo Groen (Het Nieuwe Instituut); Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Laurence Bolhaar, Aleksandar Joksimovic & Anton Anikeev (OMA); Kamil Dalkir & students (RCA)
Lichun Tseng
Design Trust Hong Kong, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou and Hong Kong

Automated Landscapes is a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched in 2017 by Het Nieuwe Instituut, and directed by its Research department.