Klaus Schafler, 2050 beijing eight stroke city


[1 video-dvd 2.40 min including audio + 8 flags 25cm high + 1 banner mounted on 2 wooden sticks 125 cm high]

The ongoing high-speed transformations of urban space in current China as well as the development of new models of cities and urban landscapes mostly aim at economic growth. This Chinese “jump into the future” of living conditions and architecture, especially in the years of enormous international attention towards China because of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and the World Expo Shanghai 2010, works as a world laboratory of city planning. One of the related problems of these processes is the large-scale destruction of long-established city structures, milieus and environments removing living forms that were built upon a specific Chinese history, hardly considering aspects of social sustainability and hence contributing to a collective amnesia of culture.


The installation 2050 beijing eight stroke city is reflecting those phenomena and developments by conceptualising a fictive district in the area of the Megacity Beijing, which is not aiming at economic factors but providing an environment and space focusing on an essential component of Chinese culture, the art of writing, the calligraphy. The installation consists of eight small flags presenting names of eight imagined building complexes (“houses”) dedicated to the involvement of culture and contemplation by referring – in their naming and number - to the eight basic elements (strokes) of Chinese calligraphy: the house of writing, the house of reading, the house of freedom of speech, the house of materials, the house of publishing, the house of translation, the house of poetry and the house of archive for the future.

The video in the installation takes a look into the year 2050: 
A high-tech beetle is on a “wild trip” through an imagined city district which consists of beijing eight stroke city elements and houses as well as highways and strange obstacles.

Versions of this work where shown at Chinese Biennial in Beijing, 2008, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa (New York) and Pan 
Xing Lei (Beijing), and afterwards at Minoriten Gallery Graz (A) and Moderna Museet Stockholm (S).
Info: www.schafler.net