This contribution is part of “In Context,” a series that features guest curators who browse the archives of MAS Context, uncovering new relationships between articles and establishing new topics.
For the inaugural In Context, I chose five articles that are about context, the particular conditions and representations of a place in time: Shenzhen, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and Beirut. Although my hope is to draw connections between these contexts, I also am looking to expose disconnects. For instance, there’s thematic similarities in the relationship between labor and location in both Dafen, a Chinese industrial village known for producing reproductions of famous oil paintings as documented in Jiang Jun’s essay “A Village by the SEZ: The Dafen Sample of China’s Urbanization” and evocative photographs by Haibo Yu, and informal transport hubs that cropped up under Lebanese overpasses in the wake of civil war as explained by filmmaker Nora Niasari in her piece “Under the Bridge.” And there’s formal and historical overlaps between “Selling Lifestyle,” Iker Gil’s interview with Eric Bricker, director and producer of Visual Acoustics, a film about legendary photographer Julius Shulman, and Andrew Dribin’s meditation on Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City. But perhaps it’s also productive to read between the kinds of urban renewal that led to the development of that Chicago mid-century tower complex and the kinds of policy changes affecting public housing in New Orleans as HUD razes blocks of low-income projects. What’s made clear when we recontextualize the accumulated material of ten issues of MAS Context is not only the publication’s commitment to delving into topics of politics and place, but the ongoing need for discourse around contextual crises and their consequences.
A VILLAGE BY THE SEZ: THE DAFEN SAMPLE OF CHINA’S URBANIZATION
Essay by Jiang Jun. Photography by Yu Haibo.
Issue: 9 | NETWORK SPRING 11
Essay by Andrew Dribin.
Issue: 1 | MORE SPRING 09
Interview with Eric Bricker by Iker Gil.
Issue: 4 | LIVING WINTER 09
Essay by Edward Emile Richardson.
Issue: 8 | PUBLIC WINTER 10
UNDER THE BRIDGE
Film and essay by Nora Niasari.
Issue: 10 | CONFLICT SUMMER 11
Mimi Zeiger is a Brooklyn-based freelancer, writing on architecture, art, and design for a variety of publications including The New York Times, Dwell, and Architect, where she is a contributing editor. She is the founder of the architecture zine and blog loud paper.
www.loudpaper.typepad.com | @loudpaper