Quotable (#192)

The cyberpunk-urbanism circuit deftly described:

… the ideas of science fiction resonate very powerfully with how contemporary cities are shaped. Another example might be the designs of Shanghai’s Pudong district, where there’s a very palpable sense of Blade Runner-esque atmospheres. Blade Runner itself was partly shaped by Ridley Scott’s ideas about oriental urbanism and slightly orientalist treatments of street life in the supposedly futuristic Los Angeles. And ideas about Blade Runner are clearly influencing Chinese elites’ ideas about urban futurism. […] … there are even more relationships that are at play here, because once these cityscapes are built — once this extraordinary Blade Runner-esque cityscape in Shanghai is constructed or reconstructed, once Dubai is ratcheted into the skies — then the next generation of sci-fi movies are then filmed in these places to represent the future. You’re already getting a lot of sci-fi movies — like Code 46 by Michael Winterbottom, for example — filmed in these cities. They then become the exemplars of the future, which works very powerfully to help brand these cities as futuristic places, which is half of the battle for these elites: Once they become images for the future, then that’s it.

It does seem like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first, in that sometimes it’s sci-fi inspiring our cityscapes, and other times it’s our cityscapes inspiring sci-fi.

It’s reciprocal. There isn’t an obvious start point for this.

Haptic Field

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Chris Salter’s immersive art-work, open to visitors at the Chronus Art Center, M50, Shanghai, is definitely worth exploring.* It’s hard to review, because even among our small party, it took people to very different places (including the Curtains of Yog Sothoth) — none of them more than very remotely terrestrially recognizable. Almost insanely intense is a distinct possibility, so come prepared for metamorphic passages into the outer cosmos.

As usual in the contemporary arts, the overlay of verbal commentary is worthless junk, so don’t be distracted by that.

* This post is probably too late to be useful (it’s about to close) — so count the recommendation as saying: Look out for it wherever it travels next.

Dunhuang at the Himalayas

Absurd name aside, the Dunhuang — Song of Living Beings exhibition at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum is superb. Even those who’ve been to Dunhuang will appreciate it.

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Just as an art of the replica show, it’s jaw-dropping (and it isn’t just that, remotely).

The modern artworks included in the show mostly make little difference, with a few exceptions. They’re simply, and inevitably, overwhelmed by the Mogao Caves material.