morning walk 6 july: 鹿丹村

ludan village wall

Pleasantly chilled inside Shenzhen’s upscale malls and glass towers, one forgets that outside mold relentlessly creeps across older surfaces, unmaking walls that once upon a time boasted distinct edges and sharp, modernist lines. Mold flourishes in Shenzhen. There was a time, an earlier, less refined time, when Shenzhen pioneers built in concrete, as if they were still living in northern climes, where winter snows deter topiary from swelling to monstrous sizes and arid lands hold in check uncontrolled growth. In visible contrast, glazed tiles valiantly slow fungal expansion on the high risen walls of post-millennial Shenzhen’s inner city villages and well-serviced business apartments. Indeed, so pernicious are southern spores that less than thirty years after Deng Xiaoping initiated economic reform and social opening, Old Shenzhen walls crumble, held in tenuous place through ad hoc measures, while unhinged doors slouch carelessly, indifferent to neoliberal respectability; razing these buildings is–like building them was–merely a question of time. Pictures of Ludan Village, July 6, 2008.

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