21x21 21x21 21x21

Living in Beijing
in the 21st floor in the 21st century


September 16 - 22 11am - 7 pm
Cicero Galerie für politische Fotografie
Rosenthaler Str. 58, 1. HH
10178 Berlin

Lecture with Eduard Kögel, Mareille Flitsch and Tanja Reith :
September 20, 7.30 - 9.00 pm

Finissage: September 22, 8.30 - 10 pm

Organiser: stadtkultur international ev in cooperation with Tanja Reith and Asia Pacifik Weeks

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Looking towards the city from the pagoda in the Summer Palace on the western outskirts of Beijing, you will see a wall of concrete, glass and steal. High-rise buildings wherever you look. For most Chinese people, high-rises are the manifestation of development, progress and the rising living standard in China. In spite of often miserable construction quality, these buildings provide a much better living standard in terms of space than older quarters. They provide individual space for the realisation of a person's own ideas for the decoration of all living areas, because most of the new appartments have a floor space of more than 100 square meters. Not only the height of buildings has risen dramatically, but also the scale of a single flat. A flat is the smallest social space. It can be viewed as part of the whole, as a microcosm in which human and social relationships are being formed and expressed. Flats provide space for individualisation, they represent status. Furthermore, they reflect the traditional and at the same time evolving relationships within the family.

With my project I want to investigate how people arrange their flat in a consistently and rapidly changing environment. What is it like to live in the 21st century on the 21st floor? How is space used, arranged and personalised in times of economic and social change? Interior design and decoration tell stories about life, memories of old spaces are transferred, traces of living habits can be discovered.

I follow these stories in my project and visualise them with the means of my camera and interviews with the inhabitants. The living room (keting) is photographed as a representative of the whole flat, as a space for meeting up and representation, as the center of the flat. A similar camera position should enable the beholder to compare the rooms. A series of large-scale photographs gives an insight into Beijing high-rises. By limiting it to the 21st floor the beholder can draw his own conclusions about living habits and everyday culture in Beijing in the 21st century on the 21st floor