Shanghai Traces was a response to the massive beautification campaign that the city underwent in preparation for hosting the World Expo in 2010. New buildings were constructed, new subway lines were dug, and everything got a fresh coat of paint, while elements deemed unsightly were suppressed. The falling objects in my video are the wares of street vendors who were evicted from the city center during the Expo.
Perhaps to a greater extent than most cities, many of Shanghai’s residents are just passing through. From the poorest migrant worker to the flushest CEO, people come from all over seeking opportunity, adventure, and fortune. Shanghai Traces is a meditation on the manner in which these passing inhabitants leave their mark on the city. The tumbling images are collaged together algorithmically in real-time, mirroring the interactions of city dwellers in ever-changing patterns and configurations. Some stay, many move on, but every life leaves a trace, however fleeting.
For a complete presentation of the piece, visit http://www.benhouge.com/shanghaitraces.html