Looking out of my window, branches swing into wavy lines with a breeze, its shadows change from one moment to the next under the sun, low frequencies continue to be heard from the sky above this city. The light contours the insignificant bodies of ants crawling on the windowsill, tree shadow captures onto the faux rocks. Rushing pedestrians seal their lips under this light.
A kind of decoration on the ground, with patterns like ocean waves, is becoming popular these days: perhaps it’s to relieve our day-to-day stress. The pedestrians rush over the waves adding a little bit of fun to the open walkways. Sometimes we encounter highly ornamental gardens in the areas connecting the metro and the street. A middle-aged ‘salary-man’, who stays to make a phone call, nestles into this garden without even realizing it. There are more and more of these relaxing and ornamental spaces in the city; just like the bonsai on the work desk, they offer us a short break. Of course, fundamentally speaking, one can also say that all they offer us is simple decoration, or the mere creation of an illusion.
But if this is about the wish to “rest”, then the impulse to “rest” should be directly related to the origins of architecture and of the city. If we say the need to “rest” urges man of natural instincts (“the barbarian”) to “make himself a dwelling that protects but does not bury him” (Marc-Antoine Laugier, ‘An Essay on Architecture’, Paris, 1775), then today this same need to “rest” is encouraging us to return to nature, although this nature is no longer a primitive one. This nature has turned into an environment filled with eccentric human beings.
(Photo by Hu Fang, translated from Chinese by Anthony Yung)