505a Graduate Design Studio: Liam Young
BRAVE NEW NOW 2013
by Zigeng Wang
This fictional work attempts to explore and exhibit the potential of a new online financial service to revolutionize and change the existing social and geopolitical structure.
Alipay is now the world’s largest e-commerce payment platform, with more than 500 dollar’s transactions per day. Unlike PayPal, Alipay actually owns buyer’s money during delivery time. Therefore, the principles of online transactions that seem to protect the interests of consumers are in reality making Alibaba – the owner of Alipay – become a new typology of bank, a “cloud bank” without any physical or spatial requirements.
Using the serious air pollution in Beijing as the background, Beijing Blue narrates an alternative future concerted by three companies: the air company E-MPTY that relies on online transactions, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing which provides transportation of commercialized air via airflow, and Alibaba, the owner of the online payment platform. These three companies work together to sell fresh air to the residents of Beijing and beyond. They create needs and impose fear of scarcity by deliberately manipulating climate events to prolong transportation times and convincing consumers that fresh air needs to be transported from remote areas to make the wait worthy.
This film tries to rationally explore the maximization of Alipay’s online capital through these transactions. Ironically, this logical deduction also pushes reality into the realms of absurdity. This relationship between the rational process and the incongruous conclusion is this work’s subject of criticism.