This collaborative project consists of two scenarios – the soaring skylines and the narrow alleys, which are believed as two classic symbols to represent the dramatic contrast of Shanghai. It aims to explore the mentality of Shanghai by revealing the solitude in this city and reflect the general meaning of urbanisation.
Taken in Shanghai, collaborative project, photographs by Shixiong Qian and me, 2012-2015.
Here is Shanghai – a bustling metropolis of 24 million. However, most areas of Shanghai used to be wasteland one century ago. Now with the frenetic pace of urbanisation here, every square metre of the downtown area is crowded with concrete and steel. These senses of detachment, isolation and oppression evoked by these endless skyscrapers become readable with these frozen photographs.
What is behind the modern skyline of this city? It seems that there is no somewhere else anymore here, individual uniquenesses of most places are gone, districts from this city tend to be increasingly consistent and similar.
Fortunately, there is still a unique area found in Huangpu district – one of the last historical reservation in Shanghai, one piece of oasis in the urban desert. This old town appears to be low-rise and very dense housing, most of the citizens living here are kids and seniors. Yet here has all the daily drama worth to record, children playing hide and seek, running along with joy while the elderly are always glad to tell you the local history. Only in this area might we find the past time, the hidden face of this city.