The Middle Empire – is a documentary project made by brazilian photographers Arthur Monteiro and Isabela Lyrio. During 6 months, in 2010 and 2012, they traveled through 30 chinese cities and villages, passing by ancient and modern comercial routes, megacities and remote lands.
China is a superlative country.
The most diverse landscapes have as a common denominator cranes and factory chimneys, crossed by youngsters with Western clothes, luxury cars and rickshaws, Chinese typically combinations of old and modern. The most recent change – opening up the economy to the outside – brought capitalism, globalization and a huge impact on their traditional values. This process of cultural re-identification is happening so fast, that makes habits cultivated for millennia being considered rude from night to day.
Using plastic cameras and films Made in China, the photographers walked through chinese streets documenting daily life in a country that changed radically in the last century. The quality of the images, with vignettes, stained frames and blurred images allude to the past dream, working as cathartic elements that distance us temporally from the current consumer society hyper-realism and the sharpeness of digital cameras. The raw aesthetic is inseparable from the moment – free of post-production of simulacra – because it is the simulacrum itself.
A culture built through the centuries with milimetric precision, plural and majestic, which is becoming standard, vulgar and disposable, like plastic that melts over time. It is inevitable to analyze the cultural changes that affect Chinese people due to industrialization / globalization and how these are reflections of a process that affects all humanity.
Arthur Monteiro (Brasilia – Brazil, 1978)
He uses photography as a way to enhance his connection with the world and share experiences. Independent photojournalist, registers the streets and life in the cities, social manifestation and cultural events.
Isabela Lyrio (Brasilia – Brazil, 1981)
Her work is motivated by the desire to share the enchantment that has on life. Is interested in documentary photography as an essential piece of our time and instrument of knowledge. Documents daily life in Brazil, Asia and Latin America.