010- A Traveler
Born and raised in Beijing, I have witnessed the city’s spatial transformation—from the first wave of demolitions of traditional residential buildings (Hutong) in the mid-90s to the expansion of ring roads that kept redefining the city’s boundary. I became interested in the ways in which governmental protocols of urban planning displace people who live in the city. In early 2017, Beijing launched a new urban reform by sealing off or dismantling the entries of many ground-level businesses, for they destroyed the building’s original wall. Many of the shut-down shops were in fact adapted from residential buildings, a use conversion encouraged by a policy promulgated a decade earlier. Policy incessantly permeates people’s lives like water, haphazardly changing its shape. A nostalgic sentiment and a developmentalist ideology, fused together, makes up our paradoxical status quo. In 010: A Traveler, I try to dwell on this contradiction. I created a virtual tour of a house based on my childhood memory, while also weaving fabricated elements of my overseas life and real encounters when I travelled back home. The house thus exists like a Rashomon. In this video, I revisited the archetype of the virtually built house, an old house located in some hutong in Beijing, and searched for scenes in the virtual game with a camera. The trip is accompanied by a chat about Beijing that took place years ago in the Central Park of New York.