This detailed diptych drawing is a fictional rendering of a so-called Taobao Village. The residents of these villages, of which there are thousands throughout rural China, run online shops on Taobao, a popular e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba Group. The two sides of this work are mirror images, with the left side showing interior scenes and the right, exterior. As the subtitle Smallacre City suggests, this work is a critical reinterpretation of Broadacre City, a speculative project developed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright during the 1920s and ’30s. While Wright’s utopian vision for agrarian decentralized living was enabled by private automobiles, the contemporary phenomenon of Taobao Villages is made possible by high-speed Internet and data-driven logistics.
Gallery label from 2023