May 24, 2019 | By Cassandra Napoli
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China’s urban population surpassed its rural inhabitants for the first time in 2012, according to the Telegraph. And, since then this urbanisation has fuelled the growth of 15 megacities.
With populations exceeding 10 million in these burgeoning metropolises, there is a new attitude emerging among concrete jungle dwellers: a serious urban ennui.
Picking up on this, Shanghai-based creative director Hadas Zucker has explored the Chinese state of “meh” with her latest photo series, Blasé.
Zucker explains the concept as “unimpressed and still existing in the city”.
She says: “I observe what is the state of the ‘new urban nomad’ social group in the emerging global city of the future, Shanghai.“
Inspired by the work of Georg Simmel’s essay The Metropolis and Mental Life and French author Michel Houellebecq’s novel Extension du Domaine de la Lutte, Zucker began shooting the series earlier this year to explore “the crisis of modern urban life”.
Zucker’s project heavily references the book cover of Houellebecq’s text – subjects are shot with the recurring motif of a jacket, cigarette and plastic bag to represent the urban struggle. The jacket personifies “clumsily dressed for life”, the shopping bag represent the ordinary life, the cigarette stands for self-destruction and romantic action.
The project also explores broader themes such as the rise of digital culture and our changing notions of identity – selfies, consumption and expression of individualism.
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