urban landscapes

Pablo Fernando:

Shanghai’s Visual Interruptions


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Jane Jacobs wrote that "__city streets need visual interruptions, cutting off the indefinite distant views and at the same time visually heightening and celebrating intense street use by giving it a hint of enclosure and entity."

The constant visual interruptions of scenes of construction, destruction, and buildings resembling geometric cocoons wrapped with green nets banded with steel scaffolds and spidery cranes spinning their cables going up and down delivering bricks, stones, steel and things in between, the droning sounds of trucks, the rhythm of drills and pile drivers, the calls of workers amid the slosh of concrete boom pumps the blaring of horns amid stalled traffic. This is Shanghai at present.

Early morning the cranes are still and streets deserted. The stillness of the early morning belies the nature of the city. That is usually the time I venture out to the city’s streets and take photographs. The buildings and structures at this time are silhouetted their forms outlined like sculpture, the sidewalks, streets and pedestrian lines form patterns while gantry cranes resemble four legged steel monsters walking the city.

I take these scenes for they will only be here for the moment, in the end they will all progress to a common close, with nets unwrapped, cranes dismantled and scaffolds taken down and hopefully something comes out of it like butterflies out of their cocoons, fresh, new and gleaming but that is another project.

Pablo Fernando
December 30, 2009