The Persistence of Physicality

2015

Something lost...

And something found...

Of the drifting clouds
The soothing breeze...

I had always been facisnated by urban ruins.

The repository of memories slowly crumbling,
Slowly nothing would be left but a memory, a fleeting scarce imprint of what it once was

 
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George Town, Penang in Malaysia has been facing increased urban gentrification. The declaration of George Town with Melaka as a UNESCO World Heritage Site had caused the exodus of old trades due to increasing rents. The old trades had been replaced with
new hotels and cafes. There are some places in George Town which had undergone urban decay due to the initial exodus
of trades since 1997 due to the repealing of the Rent Control Act.
 
The repealing of the Act enabled landlords to raise rents, causing an exodus of tenants. The buildings, already in a state of disrepair, deteriorated further. The location presented in the series were a row of shophouses acquired in the decades before, envisioned as a new redevelopment site for a new city centre of George Town. But unfortunately the plans did not materialise, and the row of houses had deteriorated. The houses had been broken into and salvaged for materials by salvagers.
 
These 3 types of urban changes in George Town:
1) Gentrification of old areas, exodus of old trades post 2008
2) Continued decay of urban ruins caused by the 1997 repealing of the Rent Control Act.
3) Mismanagement of urban redevelopment and mismanagement of buildings.


There is now a curious mix of buildings in Penang in different stages of dilapidation or gentrification. In this frantic
pace of redevelopment, there are still places of dilapidation. The work bridges the fine line between redevelopment and degradation. gentrification and abandonment, human actions and forces of nature.