The distance between Xi’An 西安 Xianyang International Airport and the city center is about 50 kilometers. Upon arriving, one negotiates with local cabdrivers a price in-between 100 and 150 rmb. MovingCities was visiting Xi’an and more particular, the projects by Plasma Studio for the International Horticultural Expo 2011. Review will be published in the July-issue of DOMUS. For now, a discovery of a city in 25 snapshots.
One needs to keep a distance when visiting cities for the first time. One needs to look at them with suspicion, avoid to fall in love with them on first sight. It is too easy to make assumptions on the quality of life, the potential of the space, the challenges facing the local construction moguls,… based on a few scattered architectural impressions. For tourists, this rule isn’t valid. Tourism feeds on first-impressions cities. A prepared tourist knows the city highlights before arriving, but seldom will be interested in understanding the interaction between them. Local guides always avoid to talk about the generic. Their job is to make the city specific. Be it that Xi’an 西安 is a famous tourist city; home to the Terracotta Army, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Drum Tower of Xi’an, the Hua Shan (Mount Hua),… Even the City Wall is preserved.
MovingCities loves first-impressions cities; the mix of assumptions, reality-checks, speed, wonder and des- and re-orientation. This is the territory of aleatory urban investigations; ruled by the random cab driver that picks you up and delivers you at the place you saved as a text message. He is speeding, we are shooting. No questions asked. Snapshots from the airport to the center and then to the site of the Horticultural Expo, a drive into the unknown.
Pictures by movingcities.org