How our urban environment shapes nature and our individual activities within these spaces
Photo essay | | 20 March 2020
During his residency at Alserkal Arts Foundation, Liao Fei explored how our urban environment shapes nature and our individual activities within these spaces. Exploring these ideas, he presents a culmination of his research and observations from his frequent walks through Dubai.
Urban environments in cities are constantly changing, influenced by urban design, our individual activities and natural forces. As an artist working in Shanghai, Liao Fei’s studio is located at the boundaries of the city center and the rural suburbs. Placed at the intersection of formal and informal urban spaces, urban planning regulations are less enforced allowing for informal intervention into the city. Everyday Fei walks to his studio observing the urban landscapes and the elements that shape his surroundings.
Different cities have various cultures, natural conditions, and urban design policies that affect the way it is shaped. In Dubai, Liao observed that it is difficult for vegetation to survive in the city without artificial irrigation. He was particularly drawn to the automated water pipes systematically laid out across the city. He noticed that along these irrigation systems water leaks and overflows into the streets and corners. Interested in these small corners and crevices, he explores where nature overpowers and takes over urban environments. These spaces allow plants to push against the boundaries of urban design, although to a certain extent they are still shaped by the city’s structural elements.
In this photo essay, Liao records these spaces where ‘wild’ meets ‘order’, pushing the limits and boundaries of urban gardens.
Artist Liao Fei photographed outside Alserkal Avenue.