Image: 石濤《黃山八勝圖》之一

Sometimes we see blank spaces in traditional paintings of landscapes. Those spaces, although seeming to be inactive and unrealistic, look rather natural and harmonic in the whole; they were left to encourage the audience’s imagination.

Are we still so free?

While our living environment has been highly urbanized, where geometric buildings and traffic replace the unshaped mountains and rivers, it seems, in our artificial kingdoms, we no longer need imagination. Rather, we prefer a prosperity of order and completion, and to utilize every resource for more commercial niches is a challenge urban designers take with bravado and self-confidence; having blank space is thus nearly taboo.

Isn’t it a pity? Look around: all those concrete views, all those LED signs and security cameras. What we have lost are not only blank spaces but our free minds. How can we be complete without them? And what are people going to have besides a canvas which has already been filled?