It is an incontestable fact that, in contemporary China, the original social and critical nature of cartooning has diminished. An exhibition of work by Huang Yao (1917-1987) at the Shanghai Art Museum earlier this year showed a cartoonist working in Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s who possessed a spirit of independence, at once coolly exposing society’s ills and earnestly advocating societal revival.
Looking back, it is hard not to the prescience of Shanghai’s early amusement parks. In the decades that followed, this festive mode of consumption rapidly spread throughout the world, becoming the anthem of entertainment for the urban middle classes.
Under the current set of social circumstances, the need for monuments is as pressing as ever. In Wuhan, birthplace the Xinhai Revolution— the uprising, named for its year in the Chinese calendrical system, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911— architects and planners think about how to commemorate and look forward.