The Map of Original and Final Collectivism

The Map of Original and Final Collectivism offers a unique opportunity to view virtually the entire geographical territory of Asia within one physical space. Unlike the computer monitor display of geographic territories, this physical display offers the rare sense of seeing the whole continent in one view, as well as each city in recognisable resolution. It gives us the notion that the greater amount of visual information requires a larger screen size, which still cannot match what actual space can offer. Perhaps future digital display systems will so enlarge the virtual display surface that it will be able to rival physical space. The Map of Original and Final Collectivism, therefore, brings together the technological “edge” of our digital display systems with the spatial limitations of the natural display system. From a different point of view, The Map of Original and Final Collectivism suggests the need for digital display systems that can present images as large as this map, capable of displaying interactively all the data, research, analysis, and visualisations presented in the other spaces of this exhibition. This may be the ultimate potential of this project, but at some distant future, and with much more human and financial resources.


Information Is The Key to Global and Human Transformations

Lab Asia is a simulation of the laboratory of New Silk Roads, the studio of Kyong Park at University of California San Diego. However, it is not physical replica of his studio, instead a transporting of New Silk Roads laboratory to MUSAC, to suggest that it will remain as a nomadic practice. On "working tables' designed by the Peruvian architect Giacomo Castagnola, lay various materials—books, photo copies, reading materials, sketches, notes, maps and others—that were used during his expeditions and research. These materials are open to view and interpretations by visitors, in which they could also be involved in their own construction of New Silk Roads.

Located at different points, are five video works by Alexandra Lerman, who traveled together with Kyong Park through Central Asia, documenting his travels as well as his meeting with different experts at five cities in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Also located is a video interview of Kyong Park by Laura Henna, which was first presented at the U.S pavillion of the Venice Architectural Biennale 2008.

With these materials combined, Lab Asia suggest that New Silk Roads is a production of a process not a production of objects. When produced, the objects are only documentation of a particular moment or idea of this process. Furthermore, New Silk Roads as a project is a process to visualize something that does not exist yet. It is rather a process that attempts to incubate, or perhaps even to create, the idea or presence of New Silk Roads in the future. Therefore, it is an emergent structure that attempts to connect the existing, yet unintelligent, cells of New Silk Roads that hibernate beneath the surface of current structure of globalization. When connected—through various researches and visualizations of this project—the relations between these segregated and unconscious cells would develop, to bring forth a coherent, mature and high intelligent organism of New Silk Roads.


The Profiles of Moving Exploitations

The Profiles of Moving Exploitations (LINEasia), 2009, Designer: Andrea Dietz

Using primarily line graphs, and constructed on three layers, The Profiles of Moving Exploitations represents research about the geographical and topographical condition of the continent, presenting various data that are related to land use.

(1) Geographical Base
The geographical base layer is composed of manipulated maps of Asia from the Geographical Information System (GIS). Geography determines the representation of travel on the larger bottom section of the drawing; on the top quarter, a contemporary, fragmented, and round-about travel pattern fragments and re-orders geography according to human behavior. The drawing, therefore, visualises the contrast in space and time between the Old and New Silk Roads, and the disjointed relationship between our movements and our landscapes. Layered within this information is the world map drawn in red at the top, a jagged grey line shows the topographical elevation profile of Asia connecting the 18 cities Park travelled; the dotted red line reveals the population of all major cities that lie along the straight path connecting the 18 that Park visited.

(2) Statistical Data
Various data about ten locations along the New Silk Roads (eight cities and two countries) are shown together in a collection of line graphics. These accumulations of facts and figures for each city are divided into four categories: Land, People, Culture, and Economics. Each group is identified by a different type of line or colour, and, within each group, several different line graphics visualise specific data, identified by text running along each line.

(3) Critique Network
Various short phrases were collected from different books and articles and were positioned at different geographical and statistical locations. They are used to critique the inherent shortcomings of the data or geographic mappings, to suggest that they are not facts so much as approximations. Phrases provide economic, cultural, and political, and philosophical contexts, as well as definitions of data and geographical features. Thin blue lines tie these phrases together into a network to suggest possible relationships.


The Theoretical Indices of Human Happiness & Obedience to the Standards

The Theoretical Indices of Human Happiness and Obedience to the Standards (BARasia)
Designer: Andrea Dietz

10 different geographic locations—some as cities and some as nations—are organized horizontally in rows. Informations about these cities are organized vertically into 4 major categories: Land, Population, Culture, and Economy. Each major category is divided into several minor categories. For example, Economy is divided into agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, information, financial, etc. And in some of these minor categories, there is a set of bar graphs on specific data sets about these cities and regions. Where there are no bar graphs, we were not able to find the necessary data. Overlaid are some data that we constructed common value systems between 10 different geographic locations. A collection of phrases were also added throughout the drawing to contextualize their values.
Bar Asia is a visualization on how a collection of individualized and specifically isolated datum can create a galaxy of fragmentations and a universe of incoherence. Our tradition of creating and working with disassociated data may have historically contributed to the illusionary understanding and use of our environment, and this paradigmatic problem becomes visible when data are visually brought together into one drawing like this. Yet, Bar Asia does illuminate the given complexity of New Silk Roads, and how relative understanding between different geographical location is vital and necessary step toward creating more realistic and organized understandings of our use of time and space. Using bar graphics, this drawing emulates building shape and clusters in cities, which are the combined product of the data that are visualized here.


There Are No Individual Cities, There Is Only One City

There Are No Individual Cities. There Is Only One City is a collection of different parts of the 18 New Silk Roads cities to construct one single city. This visualisation reflects the increasing physical similarities nascent in all cities; more specifically, how each city contains certain parts that are more connected to other, similar parts of some other city than to the rest of its own geography. Rather than showing the “global city,” the type of privileged city that is more vital and connected than others within the networked globe, this visualisation shows how all cities in the globe contribute a certain part of themselves to the generic requirements of a fragmented global city, a single city that is disseminated like a virus all around the globe. The spaces between the different fragments of each city in this installation are the parts in each city that are left out of this one, fragmented but networked, global city, the parts in each city that are increasingly becoming invisible and globally left out. This installation also presents some indigenous and distinctive elements that are being threatened or “devoured” by this single global city.

Capitalism is A Movement Over Geography

Capitalism is A Movement Over Geography is a digital scroll made of a collection of panoramic photos taken by Kyong Park from the cities of the New Silk Roads. Presented on eight continuous plasma screens, installed in a circular pattern, Capitalism is A Movement Over Geography reflects both the linearity of the Old Silk Roads and the circumventing forces of international flights and airports that define the New Silk Roads. As the digital scroll moves horizontally from one monitor screen to another one, the static image of the photographs begins to take on the dynamic quality of moving images, embodying the conflict between the immovability of a physical place and nomadic condition of its identity. The static images in movement also suggest the fleeting quality of a particular time


Thousand Pictures for One Asia

Thousand Pictures for One Asia is a collection of 1000 photographs taken by Kyong Park from the cities of the New Silk Roads, each tagged with certain words. Software organises these photos according to their tags, to suggest certain organising tendencies present among these cities. Yet within these shared tendencies, there are also certain differences, determined by the particular conditions of each city, which alter such intruding global formulas as "Globalisation with Chinese Characteristics." Here, one can imagine that globalisation is not a one-way street. Beyond the intrusion and domination of a globalising system upon local distinctions, the particularity of certain indigenous urban structures might contribute to globalisation in a different way.

At times, these collections of photographs will also run in random sequences, beyond the control of our subjective or categorical tendencies. The idea is that we can sometimes learn more from our research when we have less control: the random sequences can give rise to understandings that elude us when we organise our materials to support our preconceived theories.

The most important aspect of 1000 Asia is the notion that cities cannot be explained by few selected photographs. Instead, the indefinable reality of its overwhelming complexity can only be captured by a virtually unlimited number of images. This less editorial approach to the depiction of cities is consistent with the immense multiplicity of images collected and consumed by the public in the age of digital photography, which goes far beyond the older urban photography once dominated by professionals. Urban images are increasingly matters of public consumption and contribution, and 1000 Asia reflects the public, globalising representations of cities today.


Cities Sprawl Endlessly while Geography Changes Constantly

Screen capture of Exploding Cities: Shanghai

Cities Sprawl Endlessly while Geography Changes Constantly shows two kinds of metamporphosis. One is a collection of exploding cities—Dehli, Istanbul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Seoul and Tokyo—how they have grown from early 1900s until few years ago. Rendered in dynamic animations, this collection illustrates that cities behaves more like an organic form, unlike as it was described as machines during the Industrial Age. One other animation, "Expandition," present how the standard geography of Asia contracts and expands, depending on the movement of migration, capital, resources and travels takes place between different regions and locations of the continent. For example, labor movements from different countries into United Arab Emirates causes these nations to physical get closer to Dubai, thereby changing the shape of the whole continent. Since no geographical mapping in 2-dimensional depiction is completely accurate, our animation that contorts the continent according to various kinds of movement presents the "real maps of Asia," maps that shows how Asia actually functions and perceived by its occupants and users. In addition, we suggest that Asia cannot be depicted by one standard map. Instead, Asia can truly be 'mapped' by many maps that changes according to time and subject, as geography is no longer a static substance or terrain.