I have had the pleasure of participating in the “…and then it became a city“ workshops (活动照片), bringing the film series curated by David van der Leer to Shenzhen’s general public. The film series provides six answers to the question, “When do planned towns stop being new and turn into actual cities?” as filmmakers explore urban tipping points in Chandigarh, Brasilia, Gabarone, Las Vegas, Almere, and Shenzhen.
The workshops have a simple format. A screen has been installed in a city bus, creating a “third window”. As the bus travels through Shenzhen, visitors simultaneously view Shenzhen (outside the bus windows) and the city onscreen(through a “third window”). The juxtaposition of two new towns creates useful dissonance. Suddenly, the shared peculiarities of new towns become salient and cities that within their home context are decidedly atypical, abruptly make sense within the context of global modernization. For example, like folks in Shenzhen, people in Chandigarh live in large-scale concrete housing complexes, people in Botswana need to call ahead to be picked up because no one is familiar with new addresses, and people in Brasilia have found new ways to inhabit massive plazas and ongoing roads. Then, having viewed the films, we bring biennale visitors to a location in Shenzhen to discuss the question with the general public.
For those in Shenzhen, workshops will run through December 28, so come and think about when planned cities become living cities (报名). Impressions of workshop events, below.