Monday, July 17, 2006

biscuit city waiting to be consumed

Beijing from my apartment window

the Biscuit city at Selfridges

The view from my apartment window really reminds me of Song Dong's 'Edible City', the model city made from biscuits hosted by Selfridges back in February. To quote Song Dong:

"The purpose of my work is for the city I build to be destroyed. ... As cities in Asia grow, old buildings are knocked down and new ones built, almost every day. Some cities have even been built from scratch in 20 years. ... My city will be built of sweets and biscuits, making it tempting and delicious. When we are eating the city we are using our desire to taste it, but at the same time, we're demolishing the city and turning it into a ruin."

It's an interesting point as high rises are generally seen as a symbol for China’s progress. There’s some dissenting voices about the loss of heritage as old neighbourhoods are cleared to make way for the new but generally China’s shiny new constructions are seen positively as The March of Progress. Mr Song’s quietly moral view reframes this progress to something a little more problematical. In a recent article, a young Chinese student architect noted that the architecture in Beijing was “being driven by money, not designers", producing flashy and garish buildings for the few rather than pleasing buildings for all, so it would seem that Mr Song isn’t on his own about this.


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