Next to Nothing
Xueyin Yan and Dongyao Zhang

A Rural Block  —  The rural implies remoteness and distance. Yet this is not nothing nor empty, but natural. Here ecological attributes endow the rural condition with scale and proportion, vastness and sparseness, characteristics only made present through textural planes, undulating topography and the disparate objects that litter its ground plane.

Yet the block demands demarcations and distinction. Inside and outside, within and beyond, perimeter and area, the rural block makes a territorial claim, and in doing so the centre of the site suggests potential and opportunity surrounded by emptiness and nothingness. The centre of site wants to imply that is in fact, the middle of nowhere. Yet this demand is as vast as its physical properties, one which is not content by residing at the distant centre but encroaches on its surroundings to establish contested edges. While the centre may not be able to physically see its edges, it demands to be seen from the edges in a particular way. Looking across the rural block, from outside of itself, the rural block appears as the centre wants it to be perceived, vast, sparse, empty; desirable characteristics latent with potential.

The block enters the rural condition forcefully, in an attempt to subvert its perception, and seemingly offer it use, occupation and inhabitation. Much more than nothing, but certainly not natural.
Domesticity —  What does the rural site then do with so much nothing? It tries to maintain its presumptive appearance, claiming territory over its desirable attributes. To domesticate, it stakes its claims through the perception of division and distinction, marking and viewing, occupying and owning.

Domesticity circumscribes the rural site and in doing so isolates the rural site from the rural environment. It views the horizon it seeks to own, and inhabits the expansive fields it promises to occupy. Rural domesticity then dwells in the distance between the natural and the idealisation of such.

Domesticity thematises the rural, and then centers its logic around such. Yet these themes are unstable. Between the picturesque and "the natural," rural properties oscillate between scene and situation.