n=distortion focuses on the social ecology of the PRD mega-cities, conducting an experiment in regional urban planning. In its barest formulation, urban planning involves organizing land and population with respect to resources. n=distortion explores the question: how do we need to change our thinking about cities and regions given the fact that cities comprise different areas and populations and have access to different resources? We built this question into our project design, which is simultaneously quite rigid and open. In terms of construction specifications, each “city” proportionally occupies an area of the installation that corresponds to it place in the Pearl River Delta. The object’s height corresponds to its population. To call attention to economic inequality as an ecological factor, funding for the design and construction of each object is distributed based on each city’s GDP. In practical terms, this means that while the artists and constructing Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macao will have cash to purchase supplies, other participants must construct their objects by scavenging. The constructed “mega-cities” are placed together in a salvaged sampan, once the primary source shipping and livelihood in the Deltan economy. The installation simultaneously evokes the tensions between the region’s traditional sampan ecology and its contemporary “container ecology”, allowing us to re-imagine the challenges of “planning” the PRD as a region.
Participating artists and architects are: Xie Shihong, Li Jingfang, Lin Yi, Deng Xianxiong, Lv Yuanliang, Wang Yixin, He Yi, Li Qiqi, Li Yao, Guo Zhenjiang, Mee-ping Leung