Forgotten Light

Forgotten Light

Daylight investigations - Region 4: Asia and Oceania

Yixuan Zhan
Boyan Pan

Zhu Yuan

Southeast University


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LaoChengNan (South Nanjing old city) is an ancient town area in Nanjing, China, and it is also the last place where a non-modern, traditional way of life remains in the city. At the beginning of the 21st century, most of China’s cities have undergone rapid modernization construction, and Nanjing City has lost many traditional communities that retain this kind of living memory in this way of construction.

When our team went to investigate a street that was under threat of demolition and dereliction, we found many old residents gathered under a century-old walnut tree on the corner of the street, where they were talking about something. “If the community is demolished, it’s sorrowful for anyone.” “This tree keeps us warm in winter and cool in summer.” “It is inevitable that this place will be demolished … we just don’t want to leave here.”

The Chinese always attached to the land and unwilling to move. Maybe we can plant a giant tree that grows out of dismantled wooden frames and glass fragments. It will be an irony that makes us think about the gains and losses of urbanization. It will be a medium that represents the old way of life from the residents allows future people to feel that something is inheriting when they sit under the tree to enjoy and soak up the sun.Most importantly, it will be a monument, announcing the unstoppable urbanization and warning that urbanization cannot be rushed!

We plan to install more monuments in this place which will soon become part of the modern city, bringing the forgotten light that represents the traditional way of life into the future.

However, everything will eventually pass, urbanization is in a cycle, and cities will one day be replaced by a new social organization. By then, will anyone still remember the stories that happened under the old tree?