City Besieged: The Burial of Waste by Meng Yue

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Meng Yue speaks on “The Burial of Waste: Bearing Witness to Our Ways of Being Human” with responses by Kelly Wood and Adrian Blackwell. In June 2010, Song Zhang, the artist village near China’s capital, saw the launch of an unprecedented photographic exhibition entitled “City Besieged.” It featured the striking scenes of hundreds of huge garbage burial sites that have formed the so-to-speak seventh ring around the already very extended city of Beijing. Having had spent nearly two years investigating these monstrous garbage sites, photographer Wang Jiuliang, together with critic Bao Kun, called for active engagement by the public with the serious environmental crisis that had for so long escaped the attention of the urban society. Artists and critics were invited and had heated discussions. Journalists showed up and conducted lengthy interviews. Beside gaining visibility in the media, the exhibition inadvertently attracted a delegation of representatives from the municipal government. Struck by what was made obvious by the camera, the city managers took immediate action. In a few months, almost all big garbage sites captured in the photography were buried under dirt and disappeared from above ground.

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