Artist Jan Rothuizen traveled to the Chinese cities of the Pearl River Delta. An urban conglomeration only slightly larger than the Dutch randstad which -if its growth rate continues- becomes a mega polis of 36 million in only 15 years. Part of Submarine Channel’s Roadtrips series, The Last Tourist project documents his journeys.
‘The Last Tourist‘ is an online passage along hand drawn maps, texts and photographs. This website provides a personal reading of the cities that write themselves. To walk in a city without a set destination is relatively new. It was only in the 1920s of the last century that the flaneur emerged, a modern day man who went drifting trough the cities that appeared.
Talking about this project Jan Rothuizen explains: “Two hundred years ago it would still have been possible to see the whole of any city in the world with your own eyes. From a high point in the center you’d see the roofs of houses, towers and churches. You’d be able to see the edges of the city behind the buildings: the trees, fields, streams and lakes of the farmland that surrounded the city and marked its borders.
It was only later, during the 19th century, that cities grew dramatically. London reached a population of one million in 1811 and Paris the same number 30 years later. By the end of the 19th century it had become impossible to see the edges of the city with your own eyes anymore.
It must have been at around this point in history that imaginary and invisible cities were born. Urban sprawls became places of extremes. People started to think and write about big cities as if they were autonomous machines with souls. They would talk about their city as if it were a person it took skill to know.”
Roadtrips is a series of online documentaries made by filmmakers during their journeys around the globe, with interactive timelines, maps, images, text, and video segments.