Saturday, 28 March 2009

Kowloon to Guangzhou.

On the 12th of June, 2008, I took the bullet train from Kowloon to Guangzhou, passing through Hong Kong’s New Territories, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and into the satellite towns of Guangzhou. Despite this list of separate cities, I never really claimed a sense of leaving the city. Occasionally an area of green space or a mountain peak would appear surrounded by a crown of high rise apartment blocks, that could constitute a ‘countryside’ of sorts.

The brutal spectacle of Southern Guangdong Province seemed to be one vast mega city the size of Sussex, connected by highway belts, sky walkways, and wires pinned together and stringed along the buildings and the railway tracks. This cityscape appeared from the window like a cartoon that repeats its backdrop with a running character in the foreground.

A sense of leaving one city and entering the next was provided by the downscaling of buildings from office space, to apartment blocks, to a cluster of factory parks dispersed with landfill, before reaching another collection of factory parks, to apartment blocks to office space and so on.

I spoke to no one on the journey, except for the waitress who was handing out bottles of mineral water and packets of pretzels to anyone who wanted them.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

"Symbols of the West, and the Process of Modernity in the Reinvention of the Chinese City."

Writing a dissertation is a lengthy process. I must have started to think about the essay I recently finished about 7 months ago, whilst in China. First came the idea; ok so I’m fascinated by the phenomena of Western themed developments being built within Chinese cities. Second came reels and reels of film, tapes of video footage, and photographs of these places, to solidify how I would go about articulating the aesthetics of these places I had visited. Third came research and reading on everything from the theme park to postmodernism to theories about non-place, in order to give the dissertation some contextual foundation. Fourth came tutorials with my dissertation tutor, David Green, who is a renowned author and theorist. Fifth came writing writing writing, and lots of proof reading. Link to the finished dissertation coming soon....