What looks like a giant pile of rubble outside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver is actually an art installation by Chinese art collective MadeIn Company titled Calm. All is not as it seems. Pass by in a hurry and you’ll hardly notice this giant pile of broken cement blocks, grass, and construction waste, but stand next to it for just a moment and you’ll notice something almost imperceptible: the entire pile of rubble is moving, slightly undulating atop a giant hidden reservoir of water.
The large field of debris was collected from a renovated Vancouver synagogue and installed on an exhibition space, Offsite, belonging to the Vancouver Art Gallery last April. According to various news reports people seem pretty polarized by the installation, either loving or hating it. The work was inspired by the near perpetual state of urban development currently underway in China. Via the gallery:
Calm’s ambiguity and unexpected ability to move provoke us to question ways of observing, believing and understanding facts, and remind us that the truth often differs from what it seems. In this context, Calm comments on the concerns that arise alongside urban development and the gentrification of residential neighbourhoods, whether in Vancouver or Shanghai. While the volume of construction in Vancouver might pale in comparison and scale to that of Shanghai, there are currently several retail and residential expansions underway within a five-kilometre radius of Offsite.
The installation will be on view through September 29th and you can learn a bit more over on CTV News. It should be noted that if you’re in Vancouver the installation is not actually meant to be touched or climbed on. You can see a similar installation from Benjamin Boré who created the same sort of effect with a brick sidewalk. (thanks julie & rhea)
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When checking out the Blindspot Gallery site I almost skipped right over these photographs by Jiang Pengyi thinking they were nothing more than ruin porn, but a closer glance revealed something quite different. Amongst the filthy detritus in Pengyi’s photographs, entire miniature cities emerge from the shadows, as if the evolution of cockroaches had dramatically accelerated resulting in the construction of bug-sized skyscrapers and transit systems. Though the photos aren’t meant as commentary on wildlife, but rather the excessive urbanization, redevelopment and demolition in the city of Beijing. Many more images here.
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