“In [Tricia] Wang’s theory, a network like Facebook, which enforces real name registration and consists of a person’s friends and family from time immemorial, encourages bounded use. It’s like the small town you never left, the grammar school class you couldn’t pass out of, the first dead-end job. It’s a network mired in past and present, and by its nature it enforces a limited sense of identity and expression. By contrast, something like Tumblr encourages unbounded use. It allows you to experiment and play. It’s the big city, and each new tumblelog you create is like a new bar or neighborhood where you can try on a new self and see how it fits. In one instant you can be a pug lover, reblogging the best animated GIFs of the flat-faced dogs. In the next, you can dive deep into the Go Pro snowboarding community and post snaps from your latest run. Hence Wang’s notion of the elastic self. Like rubber bands, when we step into Tumblr we can stretch and reshape ourselves into different configurations. Each new hat we try on stretches the rubber band just a little bit further, and over time it might evolve into a new configuration. This allows for remarkable opportunities to explore different potentials of self and self-expression.”—From An Xiao Mina’s The Social Ties That Unbind
Art Village: A Year in Caochangdi
“Caochangdi is a microcosm of 21st-century China. Rural migrants come from the provinces — historic Hubei, impoverished Anhui, subtropical Sichuan — in search of opportunity in the big cities, but a lack of marketable skills and the inability to gain an urban hukou, or residency status, limit their access to housing and prevent them from obtaining social services like education and health care. They can’t afford to live in the expensive new neighbourhoods in the center, so they live on the margins, where they remain in a legal gray zone until money and luck run out, or the demolition trucks roll in”. Continue reading.