The latest article on Chinese warplanes from China’s Newest Stealth Fighter Takes Flight became a perfect leading point to this third post on the legacy of these ambitious facilities and spaces. Not that I’m trying to belittle powers of mass destruction in the name of safety but my efforts would be worthwhile if these anticlimax of real life puts into perspective the hopes and fears of those national idealist technologists, whichever side they may be on.

Back in the ex-military camp turned eco-park, I was resisting the persuasions of the park ranger to put my feet into a 10cm deep puddle of brown water. This was apart of the ‘sensations walk’ that’s spreading across China as the latest trend in leisure activities for the elderly. Yes, you heard it right, ex-military technology sites are going bare-foot.

Constructed paths are designed to guide people across ground surfaces ranging from soft barks to but shells, reproducing the ‘natural’ surfaces our feet would have encountered in some theoretical Neolithic period.

I’m sure the lockers were not apart of the landscape architect’s models when he thought about the public interactions and the flow of the spaces, but this either pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on how you look at it) addition to security is expected to have very little demand. I opted for the rucksack experience.

While doing workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, I found myself in a meeting with the eco-park’s owner about their next developments, ranging anything from Jurassic Park to Nuclear Powered parks. They were in the pre-installation of the International Auto Camping Rally.

Their site led me to something called the “China Campsite Experience Program” and the subject of Jurassic and Nuclear Powered amusements led me to mention two fellow RCA Design Interactions alumni Elliot Montgomery’s The Energy Pilots and Marguerite Humeau’s Proposal for Resuscitating Prehistoric Creatures.

This rather stereotypical race for more and bigger Supersize dreams might actually provide critique for our uncomfortable relationship between politics and economy.  Perhaps Speculative Design could be implemented in real life to digest these complex issue for popular culture?

In this week’s BBC’s report titled “China fund buys 10% stake in London’s Heathrow airport”, we’re hearing a similar story of the common contradiction between economic ties and political competition. To be honest, this debate is getting a bit stale without producing new  results. The real questions is, how would it effect us? Do these big boardroom decisions only touch us when we find ourselves stranded in passive spaces invading into sleepy villages in airport expansion programs or invited to surreal luxury camping experiences in ex-military bases?


See Previous Posts: Obsolete Airbases & Airbase Escapism Parks

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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