The “local” is not an exact concept in geography. It is a circle that extends outwards with the “I” as the center, thus a locale with boundaries that are paradoxically both clear and blurred. This locale, inclusive of the mountains, plains, rivers, cities, villages, people, events, material conditions and everything else within it, constitutes a sense of the local. The current pace at which urbanization in China is moving forward is so astonishing that it is beyond the wildest imagination and beyond the gravest concerns. Before anyone could turn around to see what is happening, sceneries disappear and evidence of history vanishes. The Local, therefore, is an attempt to capture the present before it is gone and to record that past that has just passed on. The Local, a system of matrix with the “I” at the center, is private and societal, varying with the individual and with time. Yet, with refreshing individualistic manifestations, this locale is observed and studied, and its changing trajectory is traced out. Even though there is the occasional awkwardness akin to the blind men touching the elephant, the individualistic expressions have the advantage of not repeating the experience of others and of refusing narrative duplications. They accomplish their sense of cognition and narration by solely relying on their own sensory experiences.
文 / 宋群 英文译者 / 童明