John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
“Gosh” spotlights the strangely empty streets of Tianducheng, a town that mimics France’s capital.
You don’t have to dig dreamy, synth-laden pop music to enjoy this new music video from the U.K.’s Jamie xx. The sprawling choreography inside a Chinese knockoff of Paris makes it surreal enough to consume on a purely visual level.
This latest glimpse into China’s obsession with “duplitecture” takes place in Tianducheng, which has transported the celebrated architecture of France into a barely inhabited town in the middle of nowhere. According to Billboard:
Directed by Romain Gavras (Kanye West, Jay-Z, M.I,A., Justice) and featuring a cast of more than 400 actors, “Gosh” is a visual feast which tackles themes of atrophy, screen addiction and conformity in a grey, dystopian world.
Gavras stages his story with great effect in the Chinese town of Tianducheng, a Paris replica (complete with a faux-Eiffel Tower) which has resembled a ghost town since its construction began in 2007. According to Jamie's peeps, there's no digital tricky in the final cut.