Keywords of the Greater Bay Area



Chen Qiufan

Civilization Code

An alien probe scans the surfaces of planets as it travels through the solar system. It discovers a third planet, which has begun applying a technology called “civilization code,” marked as “highly dangerous” in the interstellar archives. The risk lies not only in the fact that the degree of “civilization” (as defined in GGI’s Galaxy General Idea Database; Articles 3, 14, 39, and 126) should depend on the dynamic space-time and cultural context but also in the fact that externalizing the criteria for judging it by technical means would lead to confusion in the feedback loop of individual and collective behavior. Institutions that have the power of judgement can change the scoring standards at any time and infinitely upgrade the scope, granularity, and frequency of data sampling. The result would be that individuals would have to devote their entire physical and mental lives to endlessly adapting and disciplining themselves to external standards to obtain the various social rights that only a “civilized” person of a different rank can legitimately enjoy. This will lead to a holistic implosion of civilization (defined here in the GGI database in articles 1, 2, 38-56, 89 et seq.). The next scan will take place in 23 Earth years, at which time the interstellar civilization will be rated depending on the condition of the planet. External intervention may be mandatory if it does not meet the criteria, up to Level III population extinction.

(Translated by Fiona He)

About Keywords of the Greater Bay Area

The "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" is a new construction envisioned from a top-down perspective and territorial integration. It is a blueprint for a future urban development based on efficiency, speed, and mobility. What if we conceive the Greater Bay Area as an experiment, an imaginary experiment? On the one hand, there is the question of 'diversity'. When we talk about smart cities, artificial intelligence, automation, ecological crisis, information security, the future of virtual reality, global trade, etc., where does this view of the future come from, and what determines it? On the other hand, a profound political, spatial, historical, and geographical significance is present in the Greater Bay Area. Is it possible to develop a different imagination based on the history and culture of the "Pearl River Delta-Greater Bay Area;" meaning, to consider a development departing from local knowledge production, negotiating with accelerating technologies, facilitating collaborations between art and other disciplines, and reshaping the vision of institutions of art and technology? By exploring the diversity of technologies, human and non-human ecologies, and reproduction of social relations, might it be possible to reposition the "Greater Bay Area" as a pioneering experiment of southern China's technological and cultural imagination beyond a mere economic zone?

Editors: Jianru Wu, Guo Yun
English editor: Christy Lange