A Beautiful Country
Air Pollution

Beijing Blue

“Beijing Blue” is an episode of “A Beautiful Country” trilogy. The film takes air pollution in Beijing as the backdrop and constructs a future in which people buy fresh air through online payment platforms. By documenting the daily life of an ordinary Beijing family, the film depicts an ecology that cannot supply itself in the context of globalization and examines emerging capitalist activities in a new form of transaction. The film attempts to represent the geographical reset by digital infrastructure and the human predicament in constructing a capitalist geographical landscape. The commodified air in the film represents the increasing privatization of public utilities in the context of bureaucratic capitalism and radical globalization in reality. In the film, such transnational commodity exchange is in the form of online transactions, represented by Alipay. It is by no means an electronic continuation of traditional transactions but has its capital logic and a new demand for spatial relations. The online trading platform can take advantage of the time lags in transactions to pool a large amount of cash flow deposits, and a stable pool of funds entices sub-investment projects. In the internet era, such a form of payment makes virtual platforms like Alipay a “cloud bank” that does not require any physical spatial need. The time lag between the fiber optic communication networks transferring money in milliseconds across the ocean floor, and the transportation of goods limited by distance and logistical technology, create new capital opportunities. Such a logic of capital relying on invisible infrastructure significantly challenges the existing physical spatial pattern and generates new rules that govern the spatial pattern. The absurdity in the film is true to the tragedies caused by many utopian practices of social improvement in the 20th century.

Project Information Project Type: Film Length: 8 Minutes Design Period: 2013

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