3 boards, 300 x 170 cm, white corian, 2007
The Hutong Districts in Beijing form a large uninterrupted urban carpet made by one floor courtyard houses (Siheyuan) that fill the spaces in-between the lanes (Hutong in the local language). The built space of the houses was originally sophisticatedly and gracefully interlaced with the open space of lanes and courtyards. In the past 60 years the courtyard houses were partially destroyed, reorganized and redistributed to more families. The aesthetic quality and beauty of those singular labyrinth alike spaces and the fascination of the local street level related way of life is nowadays still very high, although they ask to be patiently discovered and watched with eyes able to see over the first glimpse. After recent extensive demolitions, the Hutong culture is nowadays undergoing the risk of being totally destroyed: one of the goals of our work is to increase the consciousness of this culture, tempting the Hutong districts and offering new ways to look at them. The feeling to tilt at windmills is counterbalanced by the sensation that unexpected and surprising changes are happening thanks to the very rich variety of people’s daily life adaptation capability. The detailed maps we used as basis for this three-dimensional collage are generally forbidden by Chinese government and at first it was necessary a preliminary research work to get them and then redraw completely line by line.