Take a walk
Our idea is based on the urban village phenomenon. Nowadays, more and more unique symptoms have emerged in the modern Chinese cities, for which the standard answer keys from the developed countries no longer work. As a typical spontaneous bottom-up urban development, urban villages entail some unique adaptive survival strategies. These strategies are widely applied in urban villages, self-reproducing, creating flexible, diverse and rich urban spaces as well as providing alternative thoughts for future urban development.
We are interested in this kind of spontaneous development and we want to capture those daily spatial sculptures. Although they are functional, they have the potential possibilities of being sculptures. Therefore, through photos and material practice, we’d like these casual daily experience be transformed into a series of long-term contests between imaginations and physical principles.
For this piece, we chose polystyrene as the main structure. As one of the most common and not necessarily good-looking materials, they are widely used for transportation and preservation. Compared to boxes made of cardboard or wood, foam boxes seem more easily discarded and rarely recycled. However, the situation in urban villages is different. Since most of the residents won’t judge them only by the appearance, they are highly reusable there.
Since it seems that both foam boxes and urban villages don’t have much surplus value in the marketing field. We wonder what will it be like when the value is redefined? How does the diversity of urban villages come along? Are there any rules to follow for its spontaneous growth mechanism? What are the inspirations we could learn from these bottom-up strategies for building our daily urban space? How do adaptive spaces follow a pragmatic logic and work beneath the seemingly irrational surface? And we think it might be necessary and urgent to systematically streamline the knowledge related to urban villages.
Not only in the perspective of surplus value, but also in the physical structure do both share the similarity - the concept of space. We tried to apply a series of “spatial practices” on various industrial moulding by collecting and distilling various folk wisdoms associated to urban village renovations such as materials, means, space approaches and implementations. To see if we could present a form of progress documentation or offer more possibilities to the urban narrative.