Photoshopping the CCTV Fire

Godzilla CCTV

Some Photoshop-savvy “netizens” have been making their own interpretations of the CCTV fire imagery, layering on monster and alien attacks, cartoonish personifications of the buildings, the tracing of mysterious symbols in the smoke-clouds…

It seems only natural to want to “metabolize” such an epic-scale disaster by shrinking it to the level of the cute, or distancing it via the lenses of narrative and myth. Maybe such a catastrophe provokes the need to take more “authorship” than normal over one’s city (as demonstrated here, in a very light-hearted manner). Obviously since there was very little loss of life, it doesn’t feel like a “human tragedy” — more a tragedy of inanimate objects and systems. We know so little about the secret life and emotions of glass and steel. Does the urban fabric of Beijing itself feel the “burn”?

See more on


Blog — Tags: , , , , — Miniature Tigerpaw, February 12, 2009 @ 2:05 am

RL CCTV burns; People’s Entertainment Television is just fine

CCTV's TVCC on fire
(from RMB City)

On Monday evening, I was driving home in a taxi along Beijing’s 3rd Ring Road (in Real Life), when the traffic began to slow down… It was the final day of the Lunar New Year, also known as “Lantern Festival,” and hence the night when all of Beijing would attempt to set off as many fireworks as possible before they became prohibited again the next morning (and until the next turning of the Lunar Year, which would briefly make the city a flashing kaleidoscope once more). The evening was full of bang, sparkle, and pop in all directions, many revelers young and old standing on street corners to enjoy the show, but then as we approached the CCTV building, the crowds grew bigger and the cars ground to an almost halt. The taxi driver exclaimed that there must be a fire, and urged me to look out the left-side (Eastern) windows of the car. Sure enough, I saw small flames and huge black smoke clouds billowing out of the top of the tall building next to CCTV. He said, “I’m sure this will be in the newspaper tomorrow.” Only a little while later, the entire building was burning – as I continued to watch via my laptop at home.

Of course, RMB City has its own People’s Entertainment Television Center, gently spinning in the air above our Sims, untouched by any threat of spreading sparks. It’s amazing to remember, on such a huge scale, just how fragile a platform First Life is.

A nice essay by Bert de Muynck on Artforum China gives more reflection on the real-life icon, and its place in the ever-changing symbolic weather of Beijing.

Artforum China
(From Artforum China)

Blog — Tags: , , , — Miniature Tigerpaw, @ 1:50 am