High chai (拆)


No, not “high tea” – rather, the higher than average level at which the character for “demolish” (the future imperative, in this case) has been painted on to this building. I’ve most often seen “chai” appear at or near ground level on buildings slated to be demolished, and while this could well be on account of most buildings I’ve seen slated for demolition not being as tall as these ones, I always just that it was done at eye-level to be a) simpler for the sprayer, and b) more legible for passersby. This has me wondering how these “chai” got up so high, and what a potentially awkward interaction that would be between resident and municipal employee. “Hi, we’re going to be knocking this place down. On account of your being able to erase our spraypaint somewhat more easily if this was on ground level, would you mind if we came inside to spray it on the outside of your third-story windows?” From the municipal side of things, seems like an interaction begging to be automated.

Consider how analogue/risk prone sending a person to physically mark a building as “to be demolished” is. Though most often “people” are probably sent as opposed to just a single individual, it does beg the question how far away things are from deploying a “demo-drone” of sorts, one capable of both spraying a “chai” on to the side of a building, placing a harder to remove sensor, and texting relevant information automatically to the cellphones of the building’s residents about the impending demolition date, compensation, etc.

Of course, then consider how such a thing could be manipulated and hacked. “Chai” an adversary’s house? All fun and games… unless the demolition crews are feeling particularly productive that day.

I’ve been ruminating a lot on demolition lately, as this piece would let on – been seeing a lot of it in across the small cities I’ve been visiting, with as many different reactions to it as there are individuals affected by it.


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