Construction Assault


Laura Engelhardt | Germany | 2015 | 7 m

‘Construction assault’ is an essay documentary that examines the building and demolition cycles in Beijing’s periphery. It refers to the phenomena of ‘tuji jianfang’ (construction assault), a local building practice in which houses get built just to be demolished. The narrator travels with Beijing’s subway between the modern city centre and the wastelands and demolition sites of the outskirts. She is confronted with the clash of China’s high-tech world on the one hand and the repetitive, manual labour of rural migrants on the other hand. They work in the demolition and construction businesses, as backbone of China’s huge building boom and urban expansion. The journey shifts between these vast and continuously changing peripheral landscapes and the massive advertising screens that occupy the city and promote progress and a better life. Images of recycled building materials are juxtaposed with advertisement loops of Beijing’s subway, trying to grasp the speed and absurdity of China’s changing urban environment.