Ant Farm

Construction Site 2 - Jiashan

As a child, did you ever have an art farm?  The little plastic box that you put sand and some ants in and then watched them make their borrow home. We bought our first one and then decided we had enough ants around the area, we could make our own. They were very fascinating to watch.  Each ant seemed to know and understand its task and they just seemed to go about doing what they needed to do without any apparent communication. At least none that we could figure out. But just fun to watch.

Construction sites can be equally amazing for me to watch from a distance. Every one seems to have a specific task to do, and they go about doing it without much being said as to what they ought to do. And slowly big things rise up from the ground, almost like an inverted ant farm. Spurts of activity, big equipment moving about, almost like a play or an on-going drama.

A lot of the construction activities in China are usually conducted behind a green veil, that creates the illustion of a large green monolith structures. Then there are those the cranes hovering above, another dance occurring higher in the sky, as they sway and move from here to there, occasionally dropping their loads. They look like long legged spiders.  Underneath all of those cranses and on the ground, a constant humm of trucks and people moving from place to place.

On my walks during the weekends in China, the pace was not as frenzied and at most sites, the trucks, cranes and equipment were frozen in place. Strangely vacant with suspended motion. Someone had hit the pause button. But it allowed me to concentrate more on the utility of design and study the connected infrastructure. And see the interrelationships, while allowing me the leisure to move slowly by and construct my own compositions, such as this one. To try to find a way to simplify the usual chaos.

That is part of what my series Open During Construction is about.

Best regards, Doug

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