Zone Infrastructures

Tim Oakes

Gui’an New Area (Oakes 2018)

This project approaches the zone in China as an infrastructure space. Recognizing that infrastructures involve more than just material constructions (bridges, pipelines, highways, wires, satellites), but also standards, regulations, models, and templates, ‘zone infrastructures’ are spaces that have been separated out to function as infrastructure; that is, to facilitate movement, connection, and the mobility of other things.  In addition, and extending from a socialist legacy of zones as exceptional and experimental spaces of engineered social transformation, zones model aspirational futures, and can thus be thought of as infrastructures for worlds to come. Read more …

Invisible infrastructure

Alessandro Rippa

New high-rise apartment buildings in Tengchong (Rippa, 2017)

My research to date has primarily focused on large-scale and highly visible infrastructure projects such as roads, Special Economic Zones, and new resettlement projects in rural China. My theoretical approach to such infrastructural spaces has been influenced by works in the social sciences that see infrastructure as ‘fundamentally’ relational. Here infrastructures are understood as both things and relations among things and thus defined by a multitude of practices. Furthermore, infrastructures are highly symbolic, generating affective responses and political outcomes. In my work, I address infrastructures as compelling sites for studying particular regimes of expectations, as well as points of relation that generate deferral and abandonment. Read more …