Gaile Pranckunaite
and Mislav Žugaj
The Thirsty City

The Thirsty City investigates Hong Kong’s water and sanitation system through a sound piece consisting of readings, found material and recordings, and a mise en scène researching the ubiquitous cryptic advertisements on the city’s street.

It tells the story of a character that enters Spring’s toilet and encounters there a smelly situation, as the prior patron hasn’t flushed.

This event, a forgetful occasion of unsanitary behavior, triggers a personal epiphany informed by the character’s intimate knowledge of the fragility and political undertones of Hong Kong’s water and sanitation system.

The story then relates the tale of the character’s act of hygienic rebellion: his decision to defecate on top of the previous patron, only flushing afterwards, thereby saving some water. The piece informs his act with factual information – the history and intricacies of Hong Kong’s relationship with water.

Hong Kong’s lack of water resources has led to the creation of a network of reservoirs and the most widely used system of seawater flushing in the world. However, since the 1960’s, the city has gradually become more dependent on water imported from the mainland. A of lack political action and increasing need has resulted in the SAR relying on the mainland for about 80% of its fresh water supply. This can be, and has been, used as a political bargaining chip, cementing the view that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of greater China.


About Gaile Pranckunaite
and Mislav Žugaj

Gaile Pranckunaite and Mislav Zugaj sometimes work together as sprawl. In their work they explore various repercussions of climate change through research, design and science fiction, often resulting in collaborations and unstable media. Looking for untold stories, they engage field work in geographical and social regions with contradicting pasts and threatened futures, like fishermen villages in the Bay of Ranobe in Madagascar, nostalgic teenagers in post colonial Hong Kong and what happens when you put 55 design students in an aquarium.

Gaile works as a designer in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Mislav works in healthcare in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Related Artists and Events


Spring Workshop

3/F Remex Centre
42 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Click here for map of Wong Chuk Hang neighbourhood