Pékin sans transition

Collaboration with Victoria Jonathan, Jérémie Descamps, Emiland Guillerme & France Culture
Date: 2012


“Pékin sans transition” is a web-documentary created on behalf of France Culture and directed by Victoria Jonathan. Based on seven photographs of the Beijing Silvermine archive, they created a temporal and spatial bridge between the past and the present.

In a period of only a few years, Beijing has undergone dramatic urban changes. Old areas have been knocked down, brand new skyscrapers have been erected, and other abandoned areas have been turned into new development areas. In sum, Beijing has been reshaping its own identity.

This web-documentary visualizes such transformations. It consists in juxtaposing seven photographs with their contemporary counterparts. That is to say, one image dates back to the 1980s-2000s whereas the other has been taken very recently. Rather than depicting random places, the images focus on pivotal landmarks within the city.

The overall goal is to ponder over a set of questions, such as what has been destroyed? Does destruction mean disappearance? Is it a sort of death of heritage? What has been built? Does this construction mean creation and novelty? Or rather the loss of cultural identity and forced alignment caused by globalisation? While reconstituting the city memory, this web-documentary offers an unusual portray of Beijing, the unceasingly changing city and its multiple faces.