A HAPPY ARRANGEMENT

 

‘A Happy Arrangement’ was inspired by the fictional writings of JG Ballard. In particular his novel High Rise. The project was shot during a 6 month artist residency in Shanghai. The process involved wandering the rubble left by torn down buildings, as a futuristic archaeologist looking for ancient artifacts. The fragmented objects found in the construction sites have subsequently been shot in a studio, in the same way that a commercial product would be. The artifacts are abandoned survivors, undesirable hints of human presence, left behind because of their lack of commercial value, mirroring the fate of their former owners, whose houses were destroyed to leave space for high profit residential developments, these scraps are conferred a new dignity associated with the aesthetics provided by mainstream consumerist society.

 

The fragmented artifacts are contrasted by large scale, abstract images from the Shanghai Urban Planning Center. The future of the city is mapped out in the form of a a 3D model and we take the top down vantage point of the planner. Generic tower blocks repeat themselves endlessly amid large scale infrastructure projects and a scattering of more distinctive structures. The city is cleansed of anything old, unplanned or organic. By explicitly presenting the remains of a wild gentrification process, the artists raise questions about the role of art as a means to archive the present, within the perspective of an uncertain future.