HOROSCOPE Tell me which animal you are and I will tell you what kind of person you might be. Being a pig has been proven to open Chinese doors. [ + ]
Tell me which animal you are and I will tell you what kind of person you might be. Being a pig has been proven to open Chinese doors. Whenever I mention my horoscope sign, it always elicits one of two reactions: – Ohhh, good! – Mmm, you are lucky!
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COLD MEAT 2 It was a sunny morning, but I seemed to be suffering from stomach problems. I still don’t know if it was because of the excitement, or because of the extravaganza of a dinner I had last night with my Chinese friends. [ + ]
COLD MEAT 2
It was a sunny morning, but I seemed to be suffering from stomach problems. I still don’t know if it was because of the excitement, or because of the extravaganza of a dinner I had last night with my Chinese friends. I arrived at the piazza in front of Shanghai Railway Station: a huge, bare piazza. I turned my head to the left, and there was a clock; I looked further to the left still, and there was a huge electronic billboard, displaying everything from advertisements for watches to the weather, as well as the departures and arrivals of trains. The rest… was just people – people everywhere – and a selection of their belongings. I thought I might need water and something to eat for the road. I decided, for the first time in my life, to buy a Coke. My dad always said that in case of stomach troubles, the best solution was to drink some Coke and relax; cola is even good for repairing cars. In the store, I found the Coca-Cola; however, finding something to eat was proving more difficult than I thought. I just couldn’t find something I was able to, or wanted to, eat. In most cases, this was because I simply couldn’t understand what was inside the plastic wrappers containing edible material.
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GREY Grey is an omnipresent colour in the city. It is the colour of the sky as seen by the citizens of Shanghai. [ + ]
Grey is an omnipresent colour in the city. It is the colour of the sky as seen by the citizens of Shanghai. It is the background of most pictures, regardless of the weather, the season or the time of day.
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UNDERWEAR Buying a bra was a conscious decision. Getting new clothes, shoes, going to the tailor, could all have happened to me at any moment, as spontaneous decisions. [ + ]
Buying a bra was a conscious decision. Getting new clothes, shoes, going to the tailor, could all have happened to me at any moment, as spontaneous decisions. Going to buy a bra, somehow, was different. I went with a friend of mine. We saw some amazing bra systems. Truly ingenious systems. Some seemed to attach to your back with just a single strap, while others featured elaborate patterns of straps that would transform into another, different pattern in order to support the breasts, almost like a piece of origami. Others didn’t seem to need any breasts inside them, as they were already satisfied with the cotton, gel or water pads contained within them. I decided to try one of the origami bras, which would subtly tattoo my back with a kind of butterfly motif. Inside the changing-room cubicle, however, I realized that trying on this bra would be more than a simple choice; it would be a major challenge. I stood there, thinking I had understood the system, only for everything to fall apart when I opened it. I tried to put it back together in every way imaginable, recomposing its intricate form and attempting to fit myself into it, but things didn’t quite work out as I had hoped… and by this time, quite some time had passed. The woman in the shop decided to ask how I was doing. Hearing my answer in bad, breathless Chinese, she decided that she had to come into the cubicle to help me. She looked at me, and then, with a series of almost computational movements, she solved the problem, and I had the bra in place, with everything exactly where it should be. She looked at me and asked if I would like the bra; I simply couldn’t believe what had happened, that someone could just walk in and do that. Once my friend and I had bought these masterpieces, we both came to the conclusion that this had been a perfect Shanghainese experience. Back in the West, no one would have ever dared to do this – to barge into your cubicle and dress you, essentially – and I wouldn’t ever have allowed it, not by a long chalk. But here, in a city where the borders between public and private aren’t really fixed, in a city whose inhabitants feel at ease everywhere they go, where pyjamas can be deemed the perfect outdoor attire for the day’s activities, where my kitchen is everyone’s kitchen, it seemed normal. The boundaries are drawn differently here.
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PERSONAL SQUARE METRE When you come from the West, many Chinese customs can seem shocking when you first encounter them in Shanghai – actual culture shocks. Food, religion, ways of crossing the street, ways of addressing men, women and foreigners, clothing rules and decorum at the table – everything is different. [ + ]
PERSONAL SQUARE METRE
When you come from the West, many Chinese customs can seem shocking when you first encounter them in Shanghai – actual culture shocks. Food, religion, ways of crossing the street, ways of addressing men, women and foreigners, clothing rules and decorum at the table – everything is different. Many questions suddenly present themselves: what things can and can’t I talk about? Then there’s the tactile aspect, too: am I allowed to touch someone? Are they allowed to touch me? One element that quickly emerges in guise of an answer to some of these questions is space. When queuing, waiting, taking public transport, buying tickets for the train (or indeed tickets for anything at all), dancing, whatever, remember this: your space is everyone’s space; your square meter of “personal space” doesn’t belong to you alone.
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WALLS AND PATHS Many books have been written about the typologies of the built space in Shanghai, in terms of form, in terms of function and even in terms of the absence of both. Many have dissected its built forms and subdivided them into many categories. [ + ]
WALLS AND PATHS
Many books have been written about the typologies of the built space in Shanghai, in terms of form, in terms of function and even in terms of the absence of both. Many have dissected its built forms and subdivided them into many categories. But we can all agree that Shanghainese walls are both impermeable and porous, solid and fragmented, opening and closing gaps in the city. In the Chinese tradition, it is written that ghosts cannot walk along paths that turn around corners. Furthermore, they have to take on the form of the bridges in Chinese gardens in order to cross the ponds they straddle. In Chinese philosophy, a walk through a garden should command all of a person’s attention, as there is only one time and one space: the here and now. The lack or presence in a given dimension of railings, which are more decorative than functional, is to exalt this dimension of being. Being lost in one’s thoughts can result in one falling into a pond… in the here and now.
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Le Sensual City Studio est conçu comme un lieu de réflexion où se fabrique la pensée, long cheminement nécessaire au travail de conception et de réalisation des projets. Approcher l’espace dans sa complexité physique, fonctionnelle, sociologique, nécessite un décloisonnement des disciplines et un travail collectif : c’est ce que reflète la composition de l’équipe, étoffée par un riche faisceau de contributeurs. Cette démarche, à la croisée des savoirs et de la création, permet la rencontre des regards : une démarche de co-construction ouverte qui enrichit la compréhension des enjeux et donne un sens à la conduite des projets menés au sein du Studio. Cette posture de recherche et d’approfondissement s’inscrit dans la tradition humaniste du studio, cabinet d’étude de la Renaissance où sciences et arts convergent et se nourrissent de leurs apports mutuels.
Cette interface est la matérialisation métaphorique de notre démarche : elle propose de partager une série de projets conçus dans des cadres variés et des logiques de recherche ponctuelles ou récurrentes. Que cela soit en déplaçant les cadres d’une commande ou en se créant des opportunités de réflexion, le projet reste le même : celui de la ville sensuelle.
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