Chongming Island- Looking at an eco-friendly environment Work undertaken during a six week residency, April & May 2016 for Design Harvests, Xianqiao Village, Chongming Island
Strength through Fragility
The installation responds to the precarious nature of the existing eco-environment evident on Chongming island. Whilst its physical proximity to Shanghai exists, choices concerning environmental and industrial development are ensuring that Chongming continues to maintain a successful eco-system.
Chongming has undergone various changes in its growth and its natural conditions. Imported invasive species, such as Spartina Alterniflora, have had the positive effect of developing land, however, have also had the negative effect of changing the salinity of the soil, thus creating hostile conditions for natural habitation. In order to re-gain a more indigenous environment cotton plants were introduced with the effect of reducing the salt and to enable farming. The cumulative effect assisted in re-establishing more traditional conditions that promoted the re-introduction and growth of traditional and native fauna. As a result, Chongming’s habitat remains hospitable to its own species and to the migratory birds that use Chongming as a feeding ground.
The installation evokes a ritual feeling and as such is structured within a shrine- like atmosphere. Central to the theme - the formal, rigid geometric structure of architectural development is being overgrown by more natural and organic forms. Mandalas, reminiscent of cell structures, represent the phases of changes in the fauna of Chongming and form the basis of growth leading to the development and central focus of the ‘sculptural offering’.