In collaboration with IdeasCity - the civic platform of the New Museum in New York – A/D/O brings its evolving exhibition The Future Of Work to Shanghai, for the launch of Urban Matters. In early November, at Taiping Lake in Huangpu, the showcase will present a selection of projects from around the globe that touch on new conceptions for labor and production. The four projects on display demonstrate a range of thinking from a radical reimagining of production within a single mile to continental network of information to resourceful locality.

From the zero-mile fabrication experiment of Andrea de Chirico to the user-programming workshop led by Ottonie von Roder, these design projects navigate local contingencies in a global context and bring transformative technologies to the human scale. Their stories show new dimensions to thinking about design as a part of modern life, and how it might help imagine a better future.

IdeasCity’s collaboration with A/D/O includes the deployment of a modular exhibition space developed with OpenStructures. Read about their construction for IdeasCity New York on The A/D/O Journal.

Atelier LUMA

Based in Arles, France, Atelier LUMA is a laboratory that reimagines the lifecycles of waste products through imaginative reuse of their specific biological makeup. Based around six distinct approaches to sustainability – Producing (In) The City, Healthy Mobility, Next Hospitality, Food Society, Waste Matters and Circular Education – their prototypes make use of organic matter abundant to the locality, including algae and sunflower seeds, which are used in the production of prototypes using 3D printers. In this exhibition, Shanghai's algae are used for the development of new vessel forms.

SUPERLOCAL Andrea de Chirico

The supply chains for contemporary products develop through an intricate relationship between labor, demand, development and distance. Andrea de Chirico's experiment in super-local production replaces disposable mass-production with an imaginative approach to component parts on a radically local scale. Given a one-mile radius, de Chirico produces a suite of household goods – a hair dryer, dressing table, mirror, lamp and stool – exclusively with the resources and labor available within the range of a short bike ride. The typologies that emerge from different municipalities' hair dryers demonstrate not only the abundance and versatility of components available in a given place, but also the character of its material culture.


A platform for collaboration and a visual guide to cultural production, Afripedia unites creatives across the African continent through a series of documentaries and a directory of emerging talent. Artists, designers, filmmakers, photographers and musicians are juxtaposed and their perspectives, including those of kuduro superstar Titica, wordsmith  Nástio Mosquito, producer MC Sacerdote and 3D animator Andrew Kaggia; films crisscross the continent, from Angola to Kenya, Senegal to South Africa.


This experiment begins with a question: "Why is the abolition of labor desirable and how could it allow us to overcome existing power structures and the alienation of labor in our day-to-day activity?" Theorists have long considered the rise of mechanization and increase in productivity as giving rise to an eventual post-work future, in which labor-saving devices and robots provide for a species that no longer needs to work. Post-Labouratory investigates this very literally: through the creation and education of robots to provide specific human needs. The creation of these autonomous devices highlights the possibilities for the development of skill in design, engineering and social sciences through the automation of repetitive tasks, empowering workers to become non-workers for a post-labor future in which these skills might bring them satisfaction rather than mere sustenance.


The exhibition takes place on modular structures designed by Thomas Lommeé and Christiane Högner of OpenStructures, wherein the very architecture of the space recapitulates the themes of urban dynamism, technical flexibility and reuse. Originally presented in an exhibition in Belgium in 2009, OpenStructures was released along with a website where users across the globe could download plans and contribute their additions to the system.

"It's about learning and the network effects derived through exchange, as well as making it easier for people to repair and adapt – to lower the threshold needed to design and construct," Lommeé told A/D/O. Read our full profile of OpenStructures.

Images courtesy of MINI China, Stocktown Films, Atelier LUMA, and Andrea de Chirico. 

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