This piece by Lowe China and Stink for TMall.com is so unsettling and beautiful to watch that you forget it's an ad on a mission (until the end, when the scenery flips into tile and you're rudely, if cleverly, reminded).
I love that moment where you think you see a person, hair blowing in an intimate way ... and it turns out to be illusion. It's strange to see man-made landscapes, constructed to welcome modern living foot traffic, left naked like that.
But it also echoes a stranger reality in China: the aggressive city building it's doing in isolated areas that, accounting for the vulnerability its real estate market is to crashes, are left equally desolate with new paint still drying on the walls. A lot of these places are shopping centres left abandoned in their shiny optimism.
A passage from Forensic Area Limited brings both ad and reality to sharp relief:
There’s city after city full of empty streets and vast government buildings, some in the most inhospitable locations. It is the modern equivalent of building pyramids. With 20 new cities being built every year, we hope to be able to expand our list going forward.
What are our pyramids, our lasting excesses?