Parallel World - Mu Tian, Nu Li

Mu Tian ( China ), Nu Li ( China )

A city is a machine with various parallel systems working together. Some of them are quite visible while the others are imperceptible. The key element in our project has to do with the hidden area below the horizon, which exists simultaneously with urban life.

Modern cities grow vertically in both directions: upward and downward. A skyscraper grows with a deep underground foundation, so do all the other architectures in the city. The substances circulate with underground water pipes, the circuit, the internet cables constitute our modern quotidian. It also plays another role in making part of the life disappear, where the underground recycling centre disposes the garbages. In a way, an urban life comes from the underground and vanishes below the horizon.

Apart from a parallel system supporting the city life, the underground world also tries to draw a parallel line with history, especially for a city like Berlin. Many of the bunkers from World War Two are purchased by private owners and aimed for different usages. Some remain as cultural heritage to reenact historical moments. The two different destinies of the structures left by war become the echo of Berlin; one may already look into the future while the other remains to repeat the memories and remind us not to forget.

The collaboration will unfold with the two perspectives of seeing the underground world as unseen urban infrastructure and cultural heritage. Artists Nu Li and Mu Tian will use strategies like mapping the underground geographically and interrogate the reenactment from the heritage of the war. The artists will spend a lot of time walking and exploring the urban area. The question they raise is how to reveal the unseen, both visually and historically. The final form of the outcome may vary. According to the previous practices of the two artists’, it is possible to create an interactive event based sculpture which involved transforming spaces.

(Images below: first five are Mu Tian's work, last five are Nu Li's work)