The Bootleg Issue

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Volume Bootleg Edition by C-Lab for Urban China

As the second installment in an ongoing editorial project between Urban China and Volume, we have produced this limited edition publication on the occasion of the exhibition Informal Cities at the New Museum. Inspired by the unofficial compilations sold by fans at music concerts, we offer a bootleg issue of Urban China. The bootleg is a DIY format for assembling and disseminating work within a circle of hardcore fans, typically consisting of live work recorded, sequenced and edited by the concertgoer. Unlike a pirated copy or fake which tries to assume the identity of an authorized product and is motivated by a desire for profit, a bootleg announces itself as an improvised, illegitimate work and is largely motivated by a wish to share. Given the urgency of the topic, C-Lab has borrowed the bootleg format to quickly distribute observations, initiated in dialogue with Urban China, on the crisis and its management.

Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

America’s new administration has brought about a palpable sense of optimism. There are high hopes for the agency of government. There is confidence that people will mobilize for a worthy cause. There is belief that economic recovery could begin sooner rather than later. In architecture there is a newfound feeling that the profession can improve cities. But optimism is a fragile thing. Unfavorable events are likely to occur which could dash any such hopes. One way to prevent ourselves from overreacting, and subsequently falling into despair, is to appreciate the nature of crisis. Understanding crisis may help us to judge the unfolding situation and maintain a realistic measure of faith. In this issue you will find wide-ranging examples of crises: how they begin, unfold and, despite attempts at their management, spin out of control. Everything is fluid at the moment and our basic assumptions of how to fix things have proven ineffective. So prepare for things to get worse before they get better. Hopefully, even this helps to cushion the fall.

-Jeffrey Inaba

online articles: Space In Crisis – Mark Wigley | Design for the Apocalypse -John McMorrough | International Style Heritage – Lucia Allais Unfriendly Skies – C–Lab | Rogue States of Mind – C–Lab

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