Chaotic Disorder is an anthology of creative pieces written by Ariane Jaccarini and inspired by her time in China. Segments of descriptive narrative, poetic prose, poetry and accompanying illustrations and photographs serve as different windows through which the reader can glean insights into the enigmatic life of the fictional character Wen Luan. Her name is a devised variation of the Mandarin word “Wenluan 紊乱”, meaning “disorder” or “chaos”. This name and its meaning is both fitting and representative of the character, as well as of
Jaccarini’s initial terrifying impression of Beijing as a chaotic, bustling city.
‘I was inspired to create the dystopian futuristic Neo-jing and its underworld through my own experiences exploring Beijing: such is evident through my delineation of hutongs and the general hustle-and-bustle that is so quintessentially China.’
Set some time in the not-so-distant future, Chaotic Disorder alternates tense and person through detailed depictions of character, setting and dialogical interaction. Featured here is a glimpse into Jaccarini ‘s work and imagination that builds an eerie representation of both city and character.
If one were to look down upon Neo-jing — not from the sky, of course, but from much, much higher up — they would be faced with an extraordinary sight indeed. Glowing ribbons of freeway arteries flit in between the mountainous high-rises of this neoteric China. Cars do not have wheels here. Nano-built structures and organic skins with solar cells augment the stone and the metal and the glass of antecedent construction. Immeasurable digital billboards shout garish neon advertisements — the tragic quintessence of this consumer-based dystopia.
The archipelago of Old Beijing is visible only by the immense light cast by this glimmering new metropolis. The sun no longer rises in the East. Tops of flooded towers emerge from the vast black ocean like the tips of giant begrimed fingers. Crumbling floodgates put in place years before the erection of Neo-jing — in a futile attempt, perhaps, to thwart the rising sea levels — surround the sunken ruins of the once-thriving city, now a drowning slum. Shack dwellings crawl up the walls of the dam like a depraved, morbid parody of a coral reef. Flotillas of ships are city block understudies, linked by low-tech bridges. Retrofitted for shelter are overturned oil rigs while decrepit old fishing boats with buffering holographic adverts of Neo-jing float despondently through the muddy waters. No one lives here anymore.
Nonetheless, remnants of old Beijing are slowly creeping their way up the mighty trunks of Neojing. The highest planes of old Beijing are, after all, the foundations upon which the tremendous Neo-jing was built. At ground-level, far below the eyes of the Neo-jingers, dwells its underworld.
She is Wen Luan and you know her. You know her like certain dark things are to be known: in secret, on the sly, in obscure corners, spoken of in muffled murmurs like the brush of cold fingertips against warm skin. She is a cancer, a malignancy, a face burned into the back of your mind. Wen Luan cannot escape who she is any more than you can trade in your own shadow.