Urban China Bootlegged by C-Lab


“The bootleg is a DIY format for assembling and disseminating work within a circle of hardcore fans…unlike a pirated copy or fake which tries to assume the identity of an authorized product and is motivated by a desire for profit, a bootleg announces itself as an improvised, illegitimate work and is largely motivated by a desire to share.”

–Jeffrey Inaba, Editor

Released to coincide with the “Urban China: Informal Cities” exhibit [currently at the New Museum, then moving to the Hammer Museum, LA, April-July, 2009; then on to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, September-December, 2009], Urban China Bootlegged by C-Lab for Volume is essentially exactly what the title suggests – a ‘bootleg’ version of the Beijing-based magazine Urban China. ‘Bootlegged’ for Volume and entitled Crisis, the magazine includes essays, photos, collages, interviews, and more to investigate this theme of ‘crisis’ – particularly in our infrastructure, housing, consumption, politricks and ecology [so really in our global society as a whole]. By discussing ‘crisis’ through these topics / issues, the publication paints an interesting picture of the present state of global affairs – and possible futures that may unfold after the ‘crisis’ has passed.

For instance, one featured article is an email conversation between Joseph Grima, Christopher Hawthorne, Jeffrey Inaba, Sam Jacob, and Geoff Manaugh discussing Obama’s plans for urbanism in the U.S. – and the idea that a ‘financial crisis’ could allow for the U.S. to drastically modify [and improve?] it’s cities. Read on and you come across Gavin Browning’s The Tour, which essentially assesses the potential impact that simple Presidential presence / attention in /on a particular location can have. But, things aren’t so simple – as a haunting piece by Geoff Manaugh on the increasing number of foreclosures, with photos by Todd Hido, illustrates [note: I just took an incredibly US-centric view of this publication, which isn’t really doing it justice].

Urban China Bootlegged by C-Lab for Volume is really a fascinating investigation of the numerous ways in which ‘crisis’ can affect [and has affected] all of our lives – and will leave you considering how these issues will shape our urban environment in the weeks, months, and years to come [the idea of ‘years’ of recovery is frightening]. I would highly recommend that everyone reading [architect or not] try to find themselves a copy – or at the very least, check out the content available online:

Space in Crisis, by Mark Wigley

Design for the Apocalypse, by John McMorrough

International Style Heritage, by Lucia Allais

Rogue States of Mind, By C-Lab

Unfriendly Skies, by C-Lab

Systems Gone Wild: Infrastructure After Modernity, by Kazys Varnelis

::Special thanks to Gavin Browning for contacting AMNP::

Posted: March 16th, 2009
at 8:03pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,housing,urban/master planning

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