#34 SHANGHAI 404

The city was not found or never exists. System collapse by mean of control.
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Shanghai 404 is the first image that reflects the events and changes in the world.

404 was the standard error when you got the unreachable content on the internet. Sometimes because it didn’t exist, sometimes because it was deleted or censored. ‘Shanghai 2022’ will be the same topic that the Chinese government will try to prevent from being mentioned.


The government locked down the city in April. The concern of citizens gets blocked and censored. No one wants to see the dark side of the broken system. The event that supposes to be for four days transforms into a never-ending experience. Every day became the first day of the 14 days quarantine.

It started with jokes about this 14-day experience. A pessimistic view on the day of release became a very optimistic scenario. Jokes about the April that never exists and marked on the calendar as a 404 error. Response of population grows and grows, so the push from the officials too.

Outrage started from videos where pets get killed when their owners test positive. Videos where the kids were sent into the quarantine camps out from parents. Videos where they put the lock on your door. The videos where they roll citizens with the type to prevent them from moving. Fights, lost animals, and older people were left by the ambulance because they were positive, and hospitals didn’t answer the emergency number; there is fresh evidence of zero value of human rights and life every day. People are afraid to get tagged ‘POSITIVE’ rather than have health issues. ‘Stay negative’ became a new motto for the city.

The system collapses. And it doesn’t collapse because it gets hit. It collapsed because we designed it to collapse with the wrong set of priorities in mind.

This work represents all this chaos and uncertainty in the city’s life by means of control.

Where is the sense of locking people at home and crowding them at the test facilities? I would never meet so many people during the week on the street as I encounter daily during these tests.

The complex algorithm behind the image passes the point of usability. In the beginning, structuring of the system brings us patterns, but more and more structuring at the end will end up destroying any visible order. We can see many chaotic elements that try to converge, but they are lost in space. Each piece gets individual and split by pretending to be part of some more significant order. Each element loses its value as people that became a source of the system instead of being mean to it.



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