I don’t understand the selfie or the rituals people enact when they go places. Is visiting a place such as a temple like putting yourself on a stage in a new theatre to perform to your camera. Only this is a closed loop. Theatres have an audience. The selfie audience is yourself, and hence it provokes narcissism of the highest order. From photo opportunity site to photo opportunity site. Everyone does the same preening, posing and gesturing. This is me, I’m here. Actually the here doesn’t matter too much. The this is me, and oh aren’t I happy and isn’t my life full of the craziest moments is what is happening here. Jumping through some little gate at the confuscious temple, pulling the v-sign. Those stupid plastic green antenna that girls are wearing in their hair.
Maybe I should be less cynical. Is there anything actually intrinsically that interesting in this place. The codes of confuscious ism are dead. The structure is pretty, but it doesn’t have a lot of relevance beyond a pleasant place to visit and spend time away from the mundanity of everyday life. So why not perform some act to remind yourself you are still alive and that things are not so bad after all.
A man with a swept back bouffant and seemingly no legs in some unrecognisable but must be Chinese shiny black car, is driven up and down tiananamen square as soldiers snap their gaze to follow him and shout oaths of allegiance. Endless rows of tanks and missile trucks. Every thing in perfect lines, and I have to say the goose stepping ceremonial soldiers on red carpet all look identical down to the empty smooth faces. They step in slow time under the gaze of Mao in close formation then quick time on the spot for an unbearably intense few minutes before raising the flag. The audience as such is other military in their over sized caps, nameless party officials, Putin and maybe some other non western heads of state. The only western faces are selected journalists. Pioneer children in white shirts and red and blue scarves sing the national anthem along with men in suits in coloured baseball hats.. Veterans parade by in open topped buses, appreciative exclusive citizens wave little flags, military marching music abounding.
A fly over in close formation of helicopters spells out ” 70″.
What does this say? China is great, very great, very big, and if you wage war on us you will be crushed by the might and unity of this emotionless military power.
Processions and processions of stiff exaggerated marching troops in various colours and from other nations including Russia. Putin looks on. This is followed by the tanks and hardware. Surface to air rocket launchers which look like oversized Tonka toys. The director going for close ups of the rocket tips and tank cannon camera. One close up is of troops immobile and impassive inside a troop carrier, where surely nobody can see them. Pictures of massive killing machines, inter-cut with parents holding babies waving flags and smiling school- kids. Armed drones on the backs of massive flat- bed trucks. Red flags abound. Uplifting jolly we-are-going-to-war-and-we-will-win music. Finally some women in uniforms, shrill shouting medical corps, looking defian and proud, like a rodchenko poster from the cccp. It goes on with military jets and transporters flying in formation issuing coloured smoke in a perfect blue sky. Thank god they banned pollution these last two weeks, by closing the factories. The piece de resistance is the simulated mid-air refuelling of 2 jets simultaneously.
This must be like a religious moment of absolute focus for them. I can’t help thinking of the images of the student uprising in the same place where the Chinese military might was turned on its own people.
Thousands of doves are released over the square. But where can they fly to? Perhaps the millions of coloured balloons is prettier….but that’s more junk into the atmosphere!