The Middle Empire
The Middle Empire – is a documentary project made by brazilian photographers Arthur Monteiro and Isabela Lyrio. During 6 months they traveled through 30 chinese cities and villages, passing by ancient and modern comercial routes, megacities and remote lands.
China is a superlative country.
The most diverse landscapes have as a common denominator cranes and factory chimneys, crossed by youngsters with Western clothes, luxury cars and rickshaws, Chinese typically combinations of old and modern. The most recent change - opening up the economy to the outside - brought capitalism, globalization and a huge impact on their traditional values. This process of cultural re-identification is happening so fast, that makes habits cultivated for millennia being considered rude from night to day.
Using plastic cameras and films Made in China, the photographers walked through chineses streets documenting daily life in a country that changed radically in the last century. The quality of the images, with vignettes, stained frames and blurred images allude to the past dream, working as cathartic elements that distance us temporally from the current consumer society hyper-realism and the sharpeness of digital cameras. The raw aesthetic is inseparable from the moment - free of post-production of simulacra - because it is the simulacrum itself.
A culture built through the centuries with milimetric precision, plural and majestic, which is becoming standard, vulgar and disposable, like plastic that melts over time. It is inevitable to analyze the cultural changes that affect Chinese people due to industrialization / globalization and how these are reflections of a process that affects all humanity.