Do I even wanna know where the skyline is?  Or where you’ve been for the past couple’a days? O’Connor, Brian. 2 fast 2 furious. Screenplay. Directed by Singleton, John. 2003.

Everyone talks about Asia. Master planning, construction, architecture in Asia is done faster than ever, on a predatorily mode, particularly in Southern Asia. Of the 10th most populated world cities, 7 are located in the Asian region: Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Jakarta, Delhi, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto and Shanghai. With metropolitan regions’ population anywhere between 25 to 17 Million inhabitants, those organisms are growing at a frantic pace. The rural world is also in turmoil, and will have to readjust, e.g. China alone is undergoing the biggest rural-urban migration ever witnessed. While the unswerving path of built production in that part of the globe is a striking counter example of the crisis in which the capitalized northern hemisphere finds itself, there is a dark downside little attended to, especially by the governments in charge. Corruption, greed, pseudo-development goals are driving the reckless growth of urbanization. Those who stand and critically question the ongoing processes of erasure of cities and countryside alike are mocked as conservatives or silenced by oppressive regimes. Self-censorship also runs high in the neo-liberal and communist dictatorships of the East alike.

Are those massive cities black holes for democracy, urban quality, and spatial justice? How does humankind cope with those new circumstances and extreme situations? What about architecture and urban form? Illegal, inventive, corporate, predatory, which form does growth actually take? What does it mean in term of identity, urban life and housing quality? How big can a city get? Is there a limit to growth? Can one stop the city? And what could kill it? At the other side of the spectrum, what about the hinterlands? Are those ‘the ones left behind’? Is countryside left on the side of the road to a slow and painful death until the whole planet is urbanized?

 

“TOO FAST, TOO FURIOUS: An urban research project in Asia” is launched with the hyper-ambition to explore and grasp the complexity within and without the cities of Asia. It is an attempt to understand and track down the parallel between growth and erasure, identify the resistance tactics that have emerged against it and the resilience of the informal as tool of opposition.

Current ongoing projects:

  • Shooting Singapore (Sept. 2012 >)
  • Tokyo drift (Dec. 2012>)
  • Mekong Madness (Jan. 2013>)

© OMNIBUS 2013