Pollinated City at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Shenzhen China
Pollinated City is an artificial city made up of VR, photographic, and video components from real cities of the US, Europe, and Asia. The city in this installation is a littered datascape made of composite sculptural forms dislocated from their source. These architectural and monumental fragments are collected, ordered, altered, and stored in the virtual space to reflect the temporal, spatial, psychological, and historical layers of the city. This debris is given form in an urban milieu marked by frenzied development and vast demolition—all showing influxes of global capital.
The hybrid VR city lurks on the threshold between sleeping and waking, it functions as a nostalgic memory, a ghostly afterimage of other places, and a generic capitalist Eden. The virtual city encapsulates the viewer with a discriminating sense of time and place by presenting complex visual, aural, and haptic relations even as one encounters pixilated interfaces, itinerant and floating unintended virtual artifacts, compressed, remixed, stitched, copied and pasted 3D objects, and sounds. Around the periphery, however, the embodied experience also produces strange fissures, realizations, and questions—why am I here? Is this place “authentic”? Have I been here before? While I navigate the virtual city, how do I simultaneously feel the solid ground of Shenzhen under my feet?
The multitudinous sculptural forms are juxtaposed with video images of novel ecosystems, of wild mosses, parasitic and symbiotic plants, and lichen from various urban locales. These mischievous and subliminal plants perform self-willed ecological poetry by emerging from the cracks of the sidewalk, or in tangled masses along transportation corridors, or peeking defiantly through the ruins, or blanketing brick walls—all methods of challenging the organized systems of urban planning and reclaiming and renewing the architectural forms slowly. The plants embody a unique temporality, freedom, and material knowledge, unbridled by notions of instrumentality and focused on being in the world with other human and nonhuman beings.
Pollinated City is an installation that situates the viewer in the in-between, in the places that are non-places. It establishes a link between concrete reality and fictional places, and it images life processes of plants proliferating sites of excesses in infrastructure planning and construction practices, challenging our ingrown notion of nature and the city. These imaginations are symbolic of the different realities that exist simultaneously within our city.