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Posted 03.26.10 | PERMALINK | ESSAY

Gavin Browning, Greta Hansen & Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong: Trans Siberia



Beijing (8961 km from Moscow)
Beijing has undergone massive transformations in the last decade. The city is increasingly digitized: LCD screens with Chinese pop videos and advertisements for beauty products have multiplied at the same rate that the presence of bicycles has dwindled. The 1980s ushered in a different era in the country, and since then the speed of transformation has only accelerated. How the country compromises its communist identity with these new economic and cultural changes is fascinating. But as the flashing lights grow brighter, the avenues around Tiananmen Square wider, and the traffic faster, Beijingers still revere Chairman Mao. His embalmed body, like that of Lenin, is encased in a monumental Chinese-Soviet structure accessible to visitors for public viewing. It lies on the axis of the Forbidden City, directly between the former imperial seat of power and the (newer) municipal administration complex. Aspiring witnesses to the body wrap the complex, and many of them accept the invitation to purchase and throw artificial roses, which are promptly re-sold.

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ABOUT THE ESSAY

Trans Siberia
On Places, selected images from Trans Siberia, the new exhibition at Columbia's Studio-X New York, focusing on the administrative buildings of the Communist party in the former Soviet Union and China.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong is a partner in the creative duo Warm Engine.
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Gavin Browning holds an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA in English from The New School University. He was the director of Studio-X, a downtown Manhattan extension of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he curated events and exhibitions, and edited The Studio-X NY Guide to Liberating New Forms of Conversation (GSAPP Books, 2010).

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Greta Hansen is a partner in the creative duo Warm Engine.
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