Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mise en abyme

When I was a kid I remember reading a Gold Key Star Trek comic, the story entitled "The Voodoo Planet." Kirk and his crew appeared on a depopulated planet marked by exact replicas of Earth landmarks. The title indicates that these landmarks were meant to link up to their Terran originals in some baleful way, but that part I don't really remember. As cheesy as the story might have been, the eerie desolation - and yet balance - of the pictures appealed to me.

And that story came back to me as I looked over this photoessay on the replica of Paris in Tianducheng, Paris. It's fascinating, and while town probably wasn't planned as some conceptual art commentary on the importance of context, it could have been. Because China isn't France, so a semi-abandoned Paris in the middle of it is almost bound to become its own thing. And if this Tiandu-Paris ever does pick up its own population, that will be another difference.


susan said...

Oh sure.. like anybody's going to believe anything anyone who was a chairman at a massive bank says. I've never been able to figure out quite why the Chinese have been building sometimes enormous cities in places where nobody lives - simple property speculation, I guess. There's a ginormous one in Mongolia (Ordos) that's been empty ever since it was built. I remember watching a video that showed regular Chinese peasants still living in their old village down the road.

As far as the Paris replica (and the one of Rome, Venice or English country town?) are concerned, Jer suggested the US could ship ancient retirees there and they'd never know the difference.

Ben said...

I was a little bit gobsmacked by the story on Ordos. It's probably not a good sign that they can't get anyone to live there, or perhaps that no one can afford to. Things are indeed tough all over.

Anyway, this is America. What are retirees?