Man Seeking Centers of Gravity: Cédric Van Parys

Man Seeking Centers of Gravity
b. 1980s

Man Seeking Centers of Gravity: Cédric Van Parys

Cédric was born into a hunter’s family on the outskirts of Ghent, Belgium. An architect/researcher, he has lived and worked in London and Rotterdam, and now lives in Shanghai.

Over six months, and with no knowledge of Chinese language, he travelled to all the different corners of Shanghai, seeking out the architectural landmarks of the city’s breakneck progress since the early 1990’s. To him these urban centerpieces are the tops of skyscrapers located at the gravitational center points of each of Shanghai’s rapidly expanding and merging districts. He photographed each of them from the top of nearby and surrounding skyscrapers. He then reproduced scaled models of each of these skyscraper crowns in his studio, creating what he calls Monuments of Progress. The entire process was documented by his friend, the filmmaker Romain Vennekens, as the documentary, The Monument.

  • Number of participants: Unlimited
  • No registration required.
  • Note: After taking the lift to the 19th floor, you must walk up two flights of stairs. Proceed with caution.
  • Thanks to CCB Shanghai Minhang Branch for on-site support.

51 Personae presents 51 dramas that feature 51 real-life scenarios, and so it provides 51 stories—though not answers—expanding the possibilities of the 11th Shanghai Biennale: Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counterarguments, and Stories. While arguments and reasoning do not always come up with rhetoric sufficient to accurately reflect one’s contemplation, stories are embedded with uncertainty, diversity, and vitality, as is indicated in the proverb: “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes”. From the stories of others, one enters their lives, causing a reflection on one’s own life, and in this sense, the stories of others are linked to ours.51 Personae engages life, emotions, common sense, nature, history, economics, society, culture, and art, responding to and exceeding our speculations. It takes its chance in the way individuals present their dramas to become mobile power stations. Each of these 51 individuals and groups are small waves in the ocean of history, and a spindrift of the human race. Through life’s serene currents, and its mild gentle ripples, knowledge and energy are delivered and exchanged.51 Personae embodies Raqs’ curatorial approach, through which multiple triggering mechanisms are developed, activating different perspectives in the audience, enriching the dialogue between art and life, friction between philosophical whims and literature, and the flow between intellect and emotion.