The Power Plant

Hong Kong Is a Loaded Term: Megacities, Temporary Cities, Future Cities

Thu May 27 2021

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM



From left to right:  Howie Tsui, Dawn Chan, Aihwa Ong, painted portrait of Godfre Leung (Artist: Justin Teodoro), and Christopher K. Ho (Photo: Alfredo Esteban). Courtesy of Presenters.

As Toronto and its surrounding area continues to define its identity as Canada's megalopolis, this panel looks at Asian mobilities as an understudied area of inquiry. Against models of "organic" urbanism such as Jane Jacobs's, panelists Aihwa Ong, Howie Tsui and Dawn Chan look at urban configurations that are temporary by design and driven by mobility. Insofar as immigrants are often posed as the scapegoats of city sustainability debates, the cities imagined by our three speakers challenge the terms of this sustainability and place pressure on the object of preservation.

This program developed and moderated by Christopher K. Ho and Godfre Leung, is part of a larger project they are developing entitled Hong Kong Is a Loaded Term.

This program is presented by The Power Plant in the context of the ongoing Fall 2020 exhibition Howie Tsui: From swelling shadows, we draw our bows, and is supported by The TD Ready Commitment.


Godfre Leung is a critic and curator based in the territory currently known as Vancouver. His writing has appeared in ArtAsiaPacific, Art in America, C Magazine, and Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and has been commissioned for publications by institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and Walker Art Center. Recent exhibitions include Guesthood and Alienhood: Sun Yung Shin, Jinny Yu, Republic of the Other (Hotam Press Bookshop/Gallery, 2021), Pao Houa Her: Emplotment (Or Gallery, 2020) and Samson Young: It's a heaven over there (2019).

Christopher K. Ho 何 恩 懷 (b. 1974, Hong Kong) is a speculative artist based in New York, Hong Kong, and Telluride, Colorado. His practice encompasses making, organizing, writing, and teaching. He is known for materially exquisite objects that draw from learned material about, and lived encounters with, power and otherness in an unevenly decolonized, increasingly networked world. Recent solo shows include “Embassy S_ites” at Tomorrow Maybe, Hong Kong (2019), “Dear John” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (2019), “Aloha to the World at the Don Ho Terrace” at the Bronx Museum (2018), and “CX 888” at de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong (2018). His multi-component projects have been exhibited at Asia Society Hong Kong, UCCA Beijing, ParaSite, the Guangdong Times Museum, the Queens Museum, the Cranbrook Art Museum, MASSMoCA, Storm King, and in the Incheon Biennial and the Busan Biennale. Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the Arts, an anthology of 73 letters he co-edited, is out April 2021 from Paper Monument/n+1. The New York Times, South China Morning Post, Artforum, Art Asia Pacific, Yishu, Frieze, LEAP, RanDian, Art in America, Modern Painters, Hyperallergic, Ocula, and Art Review have featured his work. He received his BFA and BS from Cornell University and his MPhil from Columbia University.

Aihwa Ong is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ong's work investigates how assemblages of capital, technology, and science interact with flows, politics, culture, citizenship, and art in the Asia-Pacific. Her projects inspired conceptual ideas that have been formative in urban, Asian, and global studies for three decades. Her books, Flexible Citizenship and Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline are academic bestsellers. More recent works include Fungible Life and Neoliberalism as Exception. She co-edited several volumes: Global Assemblages; Worlding Cities; Asian Biotech; Privatizing China, and Ungrounded Empires. Recently, she was honored as the 2020 Social Science Research Council Fellow.

Howie Tsui (Tsui Ho Yan / 徐浩恩, b. 1978 in Hong Kong and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Thunder Bay) currently lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. Recent solo exhibitions include the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida (2020); Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver (2020); Ottawa Art Gallery (2019); OCAT Museum, Xi’an, China (2018); and Vancouver Art Gallery (2017). Select group exhibitions include the Asian Art Fair, Paris (2019); Ottawa Art Gallery (2018); Art Labor, Shanghai (2015); Dalhousie Art Gallery, Nova Scotia (2015); Para Site, Hong Kong (2014); and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2014). Tsui received Canada Council's Joseph Stauffer Prize in 2005 and was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award in 2018. He holds a BFA (2002) from the University of Waterloo.

Dawn Chan is a New York-based writer and editor whose work appears in print or online in The Atlantic, Bookforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Village Voice, among other venues. Dawn also frequently contributes to Artforum, where she worked as an editor from 2007 to 2018. Currently on the faculty at CCS Bard, Dawn has lectured at SAIC, RISD, and NYU. Her work has been anthologized in volumes from Whitechapel/MIT Press, Paper Monument, and Museum der Moderne Salzburg, and has been recognized with a Thoma Foundation art writing award in digital art and a Warhol Arts Writers Grant. In 2019–2020, she was on the curatorial team organizing “Phantom Plane: Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future” at Tai Kwun’s JC Contemporary in Hong Kong.