out with the old…

I walked along the old Shenzhen Bay Coast today. Reclaimed land to the south, old Shekou to the north.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


what is luxury living?

I’ve been thinking about luxury because it permeates Shenzhen advertising, especially that for new housing estates. The definition of luxury that appears in these advertisements invariably links high-end consumption, images of happy elites, and the idea of homecoming. The strip of reclaimed land that stretches from Shekou Gongye 8 Road to Dongjiaotou, for example, is thick with malls and advertising, as well as littered with evidence that such lives don’t come cheap.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The characters for luxury 奢侈 reveal the extent to which inequality threads through and often sustains our desire for these objects. 奢 deconstructs to the characters 大者, or “big one”. Likewise, 侈 becomes 人多, or many people. Thus, the literal definition of shechi is big one many people, leaving the question of the verb that links big ones and the many open to interpretation. Is a luxury item something that all want but belongs to the big one? Or perhaps, it takes many to produce a big one?  Continue reading