Archive for August, 2012



“Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction” – Visions of Modernity in Foreign Policy

Visions of Modernity: China's Guilded Age - Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction Clipping

Foreign Policy’s current issue on urban development focuses almost exclusively on China. Relying on research by the McKinsey Global Institute, the magazine delves into the 75 fastest developing metropolises on the planet, 29 of which are in China (Shanghai and Beijing top the list, respectively). It is well worth perusing the actual magazine, which features photographs from my Visions of Modernity project, and delves into the serious ramifications of China’s ambitious infrastructure projects. Many of these unprecedented developmental efforts appear more and more misguided. My panorama of clustered residential developments surrounding the Huilongguan subway stop in northern Beijing, seen above, accompanies a piece entitled Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction. The article investigates many of the issues I explore in Visions of Modernity, the foremost being the unsustainable nature of urban planning in China and how it effects consumer, transportation and leisure habits.

The Foreign Policy website also features a series from Visions of Modernity where I documented Ikea customers in Beijing who partake in leisurely afternoons settling into faux showrooms scattered throughout the store. Each photograph suspends the shoppers in their appropriated Ikea environments, as if they were in their own homes. Such nascent nesting and consumer habits are catalyzed by the proliferation of individualized apartments in towering residential developments. These are known as megablocks and have become the cornerstone of Chinese urban planning. The monotonous and imposing structures dominate metropolises across China, forming urban islands that extinguish any sense of fluidity within cities. Although Foreign Policy delves into transportation and architectural projects that give some cause for optimism, such stratagems simply don’t exist on a scale to keep up with the massive urban migration China is experiencing and the concomitant demands on natural resources and energy. In many ways, I must agree with Ai Weiwei’s dark assessment of the plight of China’s cities. It can all seem very bleak. More panoramas of Beijing from Visions of Modernity are below.

Visions of Modernity: China's Guilded Age - Beijing Megablocks
Visions of Modernity: China's Guilded Age - Beijing Megablocks
Visions of Modernity: China's Guilded Age - Beijing Megablocks



    Bodies of Desire – The 2012 Beijing International Automotive Fair

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    China’s love affair with the automobile is escalating every year, and the biennial Beijing International Automotive Fair is now ground zero for this sultry romance. Nearly a million automobile enthusiasts packed into the gigantic halls of the Beijing International Convention Center over the course of a week just to get a chance to sit behind the wheel of their dream car and admire the scantily clad attendants. The overt sexuality of both the male and female floor models in the trade booths is now increasingly conflated with the status of vehicle ownership. They utilize a practiced set of gestures and poses to better integrate with the curvatures of the surrounding hunks of glass and steel. These intertwined bodies of human and vehicular desire are the height of an erotic symbiosis that incites deeper forms of commodity fetishism. Car purchases in China surged 45% in 2009, surpassing the United States for the first time with 13.6 million vehicles sold, making it the largest automobile market on the planet. China will remain on top for the foreseeable future as more and more people pack onto already crowded streets and highways, even as dealer inventories continue to snowball this year. No matter what, expect more skin and desirous looks at automotive fairs across China.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

    Human and vehicular bodies of desire are conflated and on display at the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.





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