Breking down Beijing

11:14, December 11, 2009      

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The Great Commune Building: Deconstruction and Reconstruction, part of the Beijing Parkour exhibition. (Global Times Photo)

An exciting installation exhibition is presenting a new perspective on old Beijing. Part of Beijing Parkour – Beijing Rediscover, the exhibition is the result of four student groups' rapid journey through the city, capturing the essence of the capital and providing a unique and captivating perspective of interpretation.

Drawing inspiration from parkour, the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment, participants raced through Beijing on foot, analyzing only what they could see whilst on the move.

The exhibition also draws on images from the book Beijing Parkour – 18 City Areas, an investigation and exploration of urban wanderers that is aimed at challenging and expanding peoples' aesthetic notions of city and space.

The four installations were created by students from four design and architecture academies at Tsinghua University, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and Shantou University.

"The book Beijing Parkour and its extension programs like this exhibit try to explore architecture and areas of Beijing which are neglected and also reflect the enormous changes taking place in the metropolis," explained Shi Jian, from ISreading Culture, one of the authors of Beijing Parkour.

"Beijing boasts one of the richest and most intact collections of historical relics. It is also one of the world's busiest construction sites, converging cutting-edge architectures of our time," Shi added.

Dividing Beijing into three sections, the book and excursions took students through 18 areas of the city. The works that followed are the student's perceptions of architecture that holds historic and artistic value.

"Fusuijing Building is of great historical significance although it is deserted nowadays," Shi commented. "The building itself best represents the idea of utopian socialism." The Great Commune Building: Deconstruction and Reconstruction, from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, reflects the importance and relevance of the structure in today's urban landscape.

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