Archive for August 3, 2005

Shanghai in review

The city is a technology we drive with our feet, and while it’s paths might be laid by calculations through commerce and design, it’s unlike computers or microchips becuase it’s driven by a kinda pheremone. Chips force information and assimilation through design, cities must attract assimilation by aesthetics and guide it’s component parts through the right districts for processing. The city attracts us to use it’s features, wether libraries or diversity not just through design but it has to dress like a whore and get people to come there. Make your city to atrractive and all people will want to do is fuck, example Orlando, Fukouka, etc. Make your city useful and attractive and people will flourish. Such design concepts seem to inform Shanghai which is a colony of Chinese living quite well with a bunch of “foriengers” While my home of South Korea continues to break new genetic barriers while still proving it’s immigration policies are practically neo-lethic (“foriegn” doctors are now allowed to practice medicine on foriegn patients) Shanghai’s citizens are becoming international at an alarming rate. It once was remarked Hong Kong seems to be swallowing China, and it definitely seems to be, Hong Kong real estate developers have placed down some of the oddest and most innovative buildings in recent memory ranging from space towers that remind of Russian cosmonauts to the standard Californian designs of yesteryear. Seeing as how we currently lack a definitive standard or building for office work as comfortable as the aeron, China seems to be marching towards archecture’s play ground full force, if any place will discover the most suitable building for neuavo-economic work, it will be China. Rem Koolhaas’ building for the tv networks is aesthetically fairly conservative compared to China’s exuberance, but of course such buildings attract theit detractors and while their an American archetict and 10 year member of the communist party criticized China’s building boom as to ornate and not terribly practical, his solution, ironically, is consulate with the future residents of the building in a democratic process before even designing the thing, which might not be a bad idea were it not for the remarkably shitty quality of music and enterntainment that comes out of census surveys. While democracry is good at impowering people, it’s consumerism’s respite from choice that seems to drive it on, do we want to live in a product we designed or do we want to experience a dialog with a product we didn’t design? isn’t the ipod all the more sweet becuase we don’t have to make a choice regarding it or Proust worth reading becuase we didn’t do the work? The critic’s ideas though could be valid if we can figure out a way to not just poll people, but to engage them in the poll. Maybe an essay contest, best person get the top floor

The Chinese have also decided that whatever Americans imperil in theological debate their going to emrbace or perhaps having consulted and discussed in an actual ethical debate about the fate of societies and stem-cells they came to the conclusion that ethically to create supply and demand chains for basic genetic materials off the dicates of the vatican’s whims is far less ethical than to just create cheap efficient technologies that can easily heal bodies. I spent most of my early life running from dinosaur exhbits and science fairs in Houston’s areas and had grown jaded on the entire concept of diaramas, but it turns out all museums have to do get me interested is make everything bigger… a lot bigger… I mean like Chinese size big. The Shanghai science and technology museum is approximiately twice the size of an American science museum and houses collections of animatronics 2x the size of America’s interactive-i-zation of the museum in the 80s. Insects pop and bounce in the rain forest exhibit, robots dance, and they have these kick ass robot dogs that strangely your not allowed to plant. While the effects of childhood implants on the memory can be debated, at the very least your average Shanghaist at least has a more fully formed (and moveable) knowledge of contemporary scientific thought and conservationism the museum doubling as a critique of China’s environmental policy and providing maps of Shanghai’s waste paper and burn-able garbage plant along with yes the honda robots that play guitar and the drums. Upper floors focus on stuff like relativity and quantum mechanics with out going into terrible amounts of detial and one exhibit lets kids model fiber optic cable communications using balls. It’s kinda cool. Pattern recognition and even Intel are historicized by the Chinese. It’s a big museum and worth going too.

Culturally I never managed to go out drinking in Shanghai, after all the subway closes at like 12 and buses don’t have English language stops while cabbies are just plane rude, but really I’m just lazy and usually found myself exhausted after walking around for a full day. Spent about 45 minutes at Shang Art at the most, browsed through the 50 Moganshen road area which houses artist lofts and galleries in ample supply. Got exposure from the sun, bought a bunch of junk the last day, now I got a mad headcold and I’m 2 hours away from work ending.


August 3, 2005 at 8:01 pm Leave a comment


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