Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan -- November 16 to December 23 2008
Speedism is the duo Julian Friedauer and Pieterjan Ginckels. They work in the field of architecture, architectural theory, visual arts, visual theory, urban tactics, imagineering, visual arts and scriptwriting. As visual artists and architects, and starting from these backgrounds, Speedism develops visual universes, theoretical landscapes, denkraume, narratives and scenarios.
Speedism uses different forms of input, ranging from wikipedia, mythology, urban theory, geopolitical analysis, technical restrictions, music, and so on, in a random and non-hierarchical order. They are mixed into images in the chronological order they are collected, with no pre-set planning, creating a result that is never an ending point but always gives rise to a new point of departure. Speedism keeps on drawing, fine-tuning, exchanging, going from the one to the other association.
Step by step, starting from scratch and growing from pixel to pixel so to speak, they create digital images that can be read as visual scenarios, narrative story boards or imagined fictions, following no other strategy than the process itself. Or in other words: rather than a pre-conceived basis for the image, the narrative is the actual outcome of the image compilation.
Speedism presents these images in lecture-performances, as prints installed in and scaled for a specific spatial context, or they build a context around them - a three-dimensional addition to the image.
The performative potential of the compilation of the Speedism image forms another basis of exploration. In public Speed Trips, Ginckels and Friedauer invite different hosts to introduce a random place in a to them unknown city, and share the ride with whoever wants to join. In true tourist fashion, they hop from the one to the other destination without expressing the wish to understand the city in its totality. In the Speed Trips, they propose the city as a real-life Speedism imagination, and put possible interactions between both to the test.
We suspect that Speedism's working mode - fast, post-reflective and action-based - mirrors the way in which cities are in effect operating in China, or more concretely, how the people in it, relate to it. One could argue that the specific condition of the Chinese city is borne out of the instant moment that its multilayered realities, chronologies and influences clash with each other. Especially the ongoing dynamic between formal and informal architectures of respectively planners and people - where a plan is set, an informal reality is attached to it, consequently transforming that plan - calls for an understanding of the Chinese urban tissue as a chain of temporalities. This calls for strategies to live this urban reality alike, and could explain why acting upon seems better fit than theorizing the Chinese city.
Taking the leap back to Speedism, we make a final reference to role of the rendered image most notably in Chinese planning and architectural strategy. When exploring how Speedism's digital imaginations can be traced back in reality, the render - as a visual translation of the imagined into the real - seems to be an important missing link. Furthermore, the render exercises a strange kind of temporality by itself, juxtaposing future with present in the form of a constructed image. We cannot help but wonder whether Speedism's photoshops are somehow the mirror of China's rendered reality?
A selection of the digital images that Speedism creates in China will be published in the Urban China magazine this coming January, in an issue guest-edited by Neville Mars.
Speedism is hosted by TIM/LAB with the kind support of Arthub, Dynamic City Foundation, Chrystal Digital Technology, MAD architects and PLACE Design/Chen Shuyu.
Image: White House Redux - Speedism for Storefront for Art and Architecture