Tuesday, November 11, 2008

UNTITLED (SHANGHAI, PUDONG) 无题(上海浦东) the real story

I forgot to mention that there are two pieces to this installation. One is erected on a fence that runs around one corner of the site. It is 2.1m x 41.1m ... pretty darned long. The other is wrapped around a sign structure that stands 3.5m off the ground. It is 3m high x 40.1m long. There is subway construction happening in front of this sign so all the traffic on Fang Dian Lu sees the hi-hise sign which sits above the construction but is dwarfed by the slowly rising Himalaya Center- a mega project designed by Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki that includes a museum, shopping center, hotels, restaurants, bath houses, concert halls, etc, etc.
Another city within a city, within Shanghai.

Below is a statement on the project.
It is meant to honor the workers that are responsible for erecting China's glossy mega-metropolis' but some irreverent ahole was pissing on the sign when I went to photograph it last Sunday.
Whaatdaya gonna do?

Another thing that I might add is that this construction wrap, whereby the workers become the content of this image that occupies a typically commodified space, was a dream I had since 2003. If it wasn't for SARS I'd have this mutta up a long time ago... but all good things are worth the wait and years ago Learning from Hangzhou took
this billboard's place... which is coming to a book store near you very merry soon.

Please click on the images to enlarge*

Pudong, Shanghai is an urban wonder: In the course of only a decade what was farmland has been cultivated into an entirely modern city which now hosts some of the tallest buildings in the world. Behind this miraculous transformation are hundreds of thousands of construction workers. These migrant laborers sleep, eat and work on the construction site itself.

They move from construction site to site but seldom enter the social structure of the city itself.
Large-scale blinds are often erected around the edges of the sites that these workers call home and are wrapped in vinyl advertising billboards. This form of signage is particularly illustrative of China’s rapid pace of urbanization and its burgeoning consumer society. The construction blind is not only a precursor to the building under construction (and its future role in the market) but also denotative of the social politics of an increasingly classed society. The construction blind helps to erase the presence of the construction laborer and his peripheral, second-class status.

Untitled (Pudong, Shanghai) is one in a series of site specific billboards that responds to the proliferation of large scale advertising images upon the urban environment by indexing the social/political relevance of the billboard site itself. Here, images of workers within the barricade replace the commercial billboard. It is at once a testimony to the workers and their role in shaping China’s hyper modern environment as well as an attempt to neutralize the continual commodification of urban space.

This project is part of Zendai Museum of Modern Art’s INTRUDE: ART and LIFE series

The project was also made possible by the help of: DDM Warehouse
Special Thanks: Zhu Tao, Daniel Traub, Sofia Wang and All the Workers of the Himalaya Center’s Construction Site!

For more info on the billboard series please visit http://www.mabz.net/BB/MABZ_BB.html

上海浦东是一个城市奇观 :仅仅十年间一片农场已被灌溉成完全的现代化都市,这里矗立着世界上最高的摩天大楼。而这场魔术般的变迁背后是成千上万的建筑工人。这些外地民工吃、睡、工作在建筑工地。他们从一个工地搬到另一个工地,却很少进入城市的社会结构。

树 立在工地四周的巨大遮幅里是民工们称为家的地方,也常常被人造革的广告牌覆盖着。 这种招牌的形式确是中国城市化的高速进程及其增长迅速的消费群体的生动明证。建筑工地的遮幅不仅 是建筑在施工(市场中的失败角色)的一种预告,而且是不断阶层化社会的社会政治指标。工地遮幅抹去了建筑工人的存在 ,也掩盖了他们下等边缘阶层的地位。

《无 题(上海浦东)》是“特定场地”广告稗系列之一,通过编索广告牌本身的社会政治关联,反映城市环境中的巨型广告形象的剧增现象。 在这,围栏背后的民工形象代替了商业广告。是一次对民工及其在塑造中国亢奋的现代化环境中角色的证明,同时也试图中和城市环境的持续商业化。


更多有关广告牌系列的信息, 请登陆:http://www.mabz.net/BB/MABZ_BB.html

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