Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

The Water Cube on Beijing’s Olympic Green is easily one of the most enthralling aquatic centers on the planet. Its bubble-like exterior is almost as recognizable in China as the Mao portrait hanging above the Forbidden City. However, ever since Michael Phelps walked away with eight gold medals in 2008, the Beijing municipal government has struggled to make the complex a commercially viable venture and just recently placed all their hope in an incredibly ornate theme park. The “Happy Magic Water Cube, Beijing Water Cube Water Park,” now dominates the southern end of the structure and caters to an emerging urban elite who can afford the hefty entry price. The water park epitomizes the fantastical escapism so sought after by a burgeoning moneyed class in Beijing. Here one can slip into a state of reverie and forget about the smog-covered skies and endless traffic jams just outside the aqua-blue cellular membrane encasing the Happy Magic Water Park. It is the ultimate leisure playground in a country still coming to grips with profound social inequalities.

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist ChinaHappy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China

    8 Responses Subscribe to comments


    1. Happy Magic Water Park and Urban Chongqing Clippings | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

      [...] to be published in Internazional, Foreign Policy Spain and Foreign Policy Arabic as pictured above. Happy Magic Water Park, one of my favorite photo essays from last year, also showed up in Geo France, Afar and D Magazine [...]

      Apr 22, 2011 @ 2:10 pm


    2. Found Objects: Fake Dinosaur Graveyard in Chinese French Theme Park | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

      [...] I visited Tianducheng outside of Hangzhou to continue work on my Counterfeit Paradises project (see Happy Magic Water Park, New South China Mall and Windows on the World). The French-themed residential development was [...]

      Apr 29, 2011 @ 4:58 pm


    3. Found Objects: Fake Dinosaur Graveyard in Chinese Theme Park | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

      [...] I visited Tianducheng outside of Hangzhou to continue work on my Counterfeit Paradises project (see Happy Magic Water Park, New South China Mall and Windows on the World). The French-themed residential development was [...]

      Apr 29, 2011 @ 5:03 pm


    4. WATER WORLD « carrier johnson + culture blog

      [...] via Matthew Niederhauser Like this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

      Aug 19, 2011 @ 11:37 am


    5. Happy Magic Water Park at ME Contemporary, Copenhagen | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

      [...] with some of my own for the exhibition. After some consideration it became apparent that my Happy Magic Water Park series would work particularly well, not just because of it’s artificial cave nature, but [...]

      Oct 26, 2011 @ 2:32 am


    6. Photography

      Photography…

      [...]Happy Magic Water Park: Reverie and Leisure in Communist China | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer[...]…

      Nov 02, 2011 @ 1:53 am


    7. Happy Magic Water Park in National Geographic | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

      [...] is with great pleasure to announce that a photograph from the Happy Magic Water Park series is in this month’s issue of National Geographic. I have been meeting with editors at [...]

      Dec 18, 2011 @ 6:15 pm


    8. Happy Magic Water Park at ME Contemporary, Copenhagen | Work by Matthew Niederhauser - Artist, Photojournalist, and Cinematographer

      [...] with some of my own for the exhibition. After some consideration it became apparent that my Happy Magic Water Park series would work particularly well, not just because of its artificial cave nature, but also [...]

      Mar 12, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

    Reply



    All content © 2014 to Matthew Niederhauser