HAIKYO

Here are some photos of what is known as Haikyo in Japanese. Haiyko translates as ‘ruins’ and is a popular genre of photography in Japan. I thought it might be interesting as since Brentwood Road Gallery staged the first international mobile phone photography exhibition last year, “Nomads & Orphans”, we have been trying to settle on a concept for a follow up show – perhaps given the dissolution of borders and the geo-psychological transference that we may undergo with such an influx of images from disparate countries and cultures (thanks to instagram), photography should be discussed in terms a series of documents of places, non-places and time/space. Rather than simply being apocalyptic there is another more interesting effect in that these Haikyos are untimely. This untimeliness is not simply a nostalgia, but an unfolding operation by which they cast themselves back into the past and simultaneously orient themselves towards the future. So not only do these unoccupied spaces operate counter to the present, they represent an opening up of other possibilities and although deserted, they seem pregnant with a potential:

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These are photos of an abandoned city of pod-houses in Taiwan:
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The area is called San Zhi. There are no named architects since the whole site was commissioned by the government and several local firms. They were trying to create a posh luxurious vacation spot for the affluent and rich streaming out of Taipei. Now this is where things get weird. The local papers say there were numerous accidents during its construction, and as news spread to the urbanites of the island state, nobody wanted to vacation there, much less visit. Locals say the area is now haunted by those who died in vain and because they are not remembered, they linger there unable to pass on.

This explains why the area was abandoned. If the site is haunted, no amount of redevelopment is going to bring the masses to that spot. Even demolishing it is out of the question because destroying the homes of spirits and lost souls is a HUGE no-no in Asian culture.

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Also,  here’s a photo of the now non-existant Walled City of Kowloon which could also be considered a curious non-place. The Walled City was a Chinese enclave in Hong Kong Territory created out of a legal indistinction between Britain and China and was eventually demolished under a joint declaration, which was completed in 1992. At that time, it had 50,000 inhabitants on 0.026 km², and therefore a very high population density of 1,923,077/km², making it one of the most densely populated urban areas on Earth.

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