Are you optimistic?
I asked that question of the great architect Wang Shu today.
He said no.
I couldn't think of a better question to ask someone from the center of a world. I would not have been surprised by either answer. His presentation was amazing. He was happy to share his vision, sincerity, background, and work with everyone. Together they told a clear story that confirmed what I previously could only gather from various anecdotes about the recent history of China. He is a man with such foresight that he left architecture in 1989, after finishing an 80 story building, after seeing what kind of future that meant. Only returning to architecture after many years of philosophy to question what it truly means to be an architect. He made the presentation with such warm and avuncular humor that to hear him say he is optimistic would have been just as believable. If there was a benefit to his answer, it saved me the time of asking my follow up questions.