Author Archives: tonglam

Homecoming

Where I feel home…

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The Gods of Biotech

In Taiwan, the flourishing of community temples and gods since the 1980s has been inseparable from the island’s rapid economic growth and political transformation. Today, such diverse religious cultures continue to play a crucial role for Taiwanese to negotiate their ever-evolving landscapes of cultural anxieties, geopolitical tension, and economic precarity. Seen here is a temporary altar with mechanicalized gods in an annual temple fair next to a new biotech park in Taipei’s Nangang District.

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Some random street shots

It is often said that the keys to understanding the future (and the past) are all around us. Here are some random shots that I made when I was doing photographic work in Zhangjiakou recently. These street scenes remind me of China a few decades ago. Yet, even in these small places, there are telling signs about China’s past, present, and future.

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The Peasant Artist (農民藝術家)

Mr. 孙柏山 was once a migrant worker because he hoped to earn enough money to fulfill his dream of going to art school. Years later, he came back to this poor village in Hebei province after earning only two yuan (25 cents). Nevertheless, along the way, he managed to acquire a few auction catalogues featuring Song Dynasty (960-1279) paintings. And that was how his painting career began. Drawing inspirations from those images, he became a prolific painter in the Song dynasty style, no less. This is Mr. Sun’s bedroom, kitchen, and studio.

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世界の終り…

When you are lost in the desert, it is like entering Haruki Murakami’s hard-boiled wonderland. Or maybe this is the end of the world?

Photo Credit: AC

 

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A glimpse of the future?

These surreal scenes of the flooded Toronto Islands are providing a glimpse of what the future may look like.

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Ready to be great again!

In the realm of alternative facts, things are ready to be great again.

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Speculative Histories

In a photo-essay that seeks to bring “future-oriented fictions and urban-centred theories of China and India” together, historian Kavita Philip writes about my photos, along with those by Dipti Desai. “How might we think dialogically about the material geographies of China and India, while not overplaying the familiar comparative analytics of borders and populations, communism and democracy, economic and cultural difference? How might we think in the longue durée about Asian urban and rural change without being overly formalist about theories of development?” >>> READ MORE >>>

China India cover

Science of Giants: China and India in the Twentieth Century (Volume 1, 2016)

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Cities in Ruins

UofT Magazine features my research and artistic practices. >>> READ MORE >>>

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When lightning strikes twice

This past January, the 80-year old Jinno-san was evicted by the government for the second time in his life. He moved into this apartment in central Tokyo five decades ago in order to make way for the construction of the main Olympic Stadium for the 1964 Games. Yet, in order to build the new stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games, the entire 1964 resettlement neighborhood, along with Jinno-san’s old home and shop, will have to be demolished soon.

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