The modernity we live now is the consequence of a series of historical human conflicts, rather than developments made by taking rational and positive decisions.  
This can be illustrated if you look into the shifting period in history, the colonial era after which the majority of the world population were forced to abandon their previous way of living and embrace a rigidly different imported lifestyle that is considered “modern”. To demonstrate this, I propose a fictional scenario, what if there happens a reverse reality in China? What if, instead of reluctantly accepting a “modern” style, China takes the initiative to find its own way, and even takes in the western modernity as its own.  
How would “modernity” have been different? My methodology is inspired by Chinatown, and uses a domestic household in an imagined Chinese concession district as a metaphorical framework to visualise alternative modernity that may seem absurd. It’s a fusion of Chinese “traditional” ideologies and historical fragments.  
The project is a cultural critique of the dystopian image of China in the West by creating a cultural fantasy. I hope it can evoke people’s imagination to consider other alternates of so-called “modernity”, thereby realising how deeply our prejudices are rooted in different ideologies.

Graduation Project 2020

A household in a speculative history which holds a mirror to the Western modernity

The project consists of an 8-minute video and 5 objects. The video depicts a speculative domestic household base on a fictional history. It is a cultural fantasy, a fusion of Chinese “traditional” ideologies and historical fragments.

The objects are designed to connect the speculative scenery with our reality. Each of them is related to a room from the video. They are a lotus pedestal shower, a Chinese theatre stage shelf, a dragon head chain holder and a pair of phoenix cage lamp shade.

In the graduation thesis, I researched and analysed the formation of Chinatown and its iconic visual aesthetic. The methodology used in Chinatown I define it as "self-exoticisation" which means deliberately emphasis the otherness of itself according to the fascination of the exotic
and unfamiliar by others. I demonstrated why this method is effective and sustainable facing the contemporary privilege "modernity" in design. I later applied self-exoticisation in my design process.

© Weixiao Shen 2021 All rights reserved