The new airport doesn’t by any means say it all, but it says a lot:
If it were not that ‘modernity’ (also) connoted friction and nostalgia, would there be any hesitation in describing Shenzhen as the most modern city in the world? It is nothing beyond what the opportunities of the present era have enabled it to be — a uniquely unambiguous urban seizure of the global now. (Urban Future adores this place to the edge of neurological catastrophe.)
[Disjointed commentary to be added as the opportunity arises]
Huaqiang Bei — Chips with everything:
Shenzhen, and Huaqiang Bei in particular, places absolutely unapologetic euphoric commoditization on display. This is the world’s Gizmoverse.
No one can have even the faintest idea how massively electronic production differentiates into lineages, species, sub-species, and minutely subtle varieties, until they wander through these markets. Combining innovative variation, replication at mind-melting scales, and fierce commercial selection (expressed through adaptive minutiae of product specification and price), the ecological analogy — based on fabulously complex networks of competition and cooperation — is irresistible. The electronic jungle is open to exploration.
Each product line opens niches for others. Not only are there dazzling multitudes of mobile phone types — an entire phylum now, honing classical forms, and branching off chaotically down lines of mutation — but also symbiotc industries for phone cases (“protective shells”), stands, re-chargers, input and output accessories, cables and connectors, each assertively seizing its patches of commercial display space.
The Huaqiang Bei outlets are described as ‘factory shops’ — sheer industrial exuberance jutting into exchange space. As an indicator, bulk discounts are the norm. Buy a single gizmo of any kind and the deal is met with the friendly but puzzled question: “Only one piece?” Racks of Cyberspace candy tilt towards rapid circulatory flow.
More (always massively more) on a descent into the commoditronic core of intensive modernity:
(There are other aspects to Shenzhen than turbular emergent machine-mind markets, and they deserve a chilled Shenzhen post. Then, some deeper engagement with the seething interior of Darwinized social logistics, competitive supply, or the Commoditronic Thing.)