Using the mythical forest as the central subject, the project explores some of the complexities around China’s explosive urbanisation process. Initially developed in the metropolis Chongqing, which constructed hundreds and thousands of ‘forests’ to make itself into ‘a city suitable for living’, the series is now chasing China’s national phenomenon of rapid forestation. Although young trees from nurseries are still a default supply, mature trees are highly desired. Trees as old as 300 years are sourced from domestic areas such as the demolished villages, flooded countrysides, and natural forests. Some are sourced from the international market as far as Vietnam. Their prices depend on their rarity and age, and their suitability for the local climate or culture is often ignored. Tree dealing and transplanting have become profitable industries.
Over the last two years I have also begun to photograph the same ‘forest’ sites repeatedly. Urban forests at nights also became a subject. With the narrative given by time, a fuller life begins to unfold around these dislocated creatures. The project is an attempt to tell such stories. The series is expected to complete within 2014 to 2015.