Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Your achievement or their statement?

Conversations between two Humans.

Feb 5
H-1: It was nice, right? I really enjoyed it.
H-2: It’s really a silent movie. Some Liverpool dudes actually asked for refunds because it has no dialogue!
H-1: I give big credits to the creative team for having the guts to produce something like that in this time of Avatar and Transformers.
H-2: I feel a bit hollow though. What does it have to do with this messed-up world outside of that theater? It’s just kind of a Hollywood kiss-ass.

Feb 13
H-1: Why did the Pritzker Prize start a .cn website in Chinese? Will there be a Chinese recipient this time?
H-2: Well, the only one who deserves it is Yung Ho Chang. But it’s impossible since he’s on the jury now.
H-1: Maybe Yung Ho pushed for Wang Shu? It can’t be Ma Qingyun or Ma Yansong...
H-2: Nah, too early for any of them. I think it’s just for the ceremony in China later this year. Maybe it will be in the courtyard of Linked Hybrid for good old Steven! He’s buddies with both Yung Ho and Zaha.

Feb 26

H-2: OK, The Artist got the Best Picture. So predictable, so boring.
H-1: Yeah, but it seems that it is the right movie to love right now. It’s so counter-cultural.
H-2: That’s exactly the problem! If you say you don’t like it, it’s so uncool. It’s like you don’t have any taste and you don’t understand art.
H-1: I think the director deserves his award.
H-2: His wife is so much better than that lead guy.
H-1: Dujardin? He’s is pretty romantically French though. I loved it when he said “I love your country!”
H-2: But why is an overly French portrayal of an American movie star considered good acting? I don’t even know if he’s genuine or just exploiting the stereotype. I think this whole thing is like the “Hollywood Ending effect” working the other way around. The Academy had to pick something French to show that they appreciate the arts.

Feb 27
H-2: Really? Wang Shu?
H-1: Shouldn’t you be proud? Finally someone really from China.
H-2: For some reason I am not... He’s done some good work, and he’s quite famous in China. But I don’t think he’s there yet for the Pritzker.
H-1: At least he’s not going totally commercial even though he works in China.
H-2: Yeah, he totally knows that too. Didn’t you watch his lecture at the GSD? He said, “Everybody has become a businessman. Very few architects still want to do serious thinking and serious experiments, like me.”
H-1: Well, it’s good that he’s critical about the situation in China, no?
H-2: Yes, but he also participates in the urbanization process he criticizes himself. The History Museum in Ningbo is one of the new landmarks in the New Town district, where there used to be villages and farms.

H-1: He recycled the bricks and tiles for the new building.
H-2: It just sounds to me like wearing a fur coat and saying “Well, the animal was killed already.”
H-1: But I think this award will be good for China.
H-2: In what way? Very encouraging by saying “You can build quick and crappy, and you are doing just fine”? Is it OK to have the imbalance between speed and quality?
H-1: No, it’s a statement about the important role of China in the future.
H-2: Now I understand! That’s what bugs me big time! It’s time for China, even though it’s not time for its architects yet! This is so political... It’s like the Oscars. Wang Shu is like The Artist. It’s more about the organization making a statement than the winner’s actual achievement. Read this from the Pritzker announcement: “The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals. In addition, over the coming decades China’s success at urbanization will be important to China and to the world. This urbanization, like urbanization around the world, needs to be in harmony with local needs and culture. China’s unprecedented opportunities for urban planning and design will want to be in harmony with both its long and unique traditions of the past and with its future needs for sustainable development.” Hallelujah!


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