About That Empty, Desolate Paris in the “Gosh” Music Video

Gosh Jamie XX
Gosh Jamie XX
Albino actor Hassan Kone is at the center of the otherworldly video for “Gosh”, directed by Romain Gavras

You may have seen the video for Jamie XX’s “Gosh,” a great little tale about otherness, alienation and messianism—or something like that. We won’t try to explain it—here it is, interpret as you wish:

The clip was directed by Romain Gavras, and no, it wasn’t filmed in Paris. The location is Tianducheng, one of China’s “ghost towns,” elaborate planned communities that sit mostly vacant.

It’s like China is building massive sets for dystopian dramas that haven’t been written yet. It’s not hard to imagine the video as a component of a crazy Chinese-Parisian production of Clockwork Orange. A story at NBC News, Eiffel Tower replica looms over China’s Parisian-style ‘ghost town’, gives more details, and includes bizarre images like this one (copyright Aly Song/Reuters):

Tianducheng China
Tianducheng, China. Photo by Aly Song (AP), source: nbcnews.com

19 miles outside of Shanghai sits another theme-parky, mostly uninhabited village called Thames Town. The Daily Mail gave the Britain-themed locale a butcher’s in a story that compared it to The Truman Show. Here’s a photo (copyright Jonathan Browning/Barcroft Ind) of street life in a town that is, truth be told, nowhere near the Thames:

Jonathan Browning/Barcroft Ind.
Thames Town calling to the Imitation Zone. Photo by Jonathan Browning/Barcroft Ind. Source: dailymail.co.uk

There’s also a replica of Hallstatt, an Austrian alpine town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Word is, the residents of the real Hallstatt weren’t too pleased when they fund out their home had been copied and pasted into Guangdong Province. Here’s a view of it posted to Hyperallergic:

Hallstatt China
Hallstatt, China. Source: Hyperallergic

Someday, perhaps, Tianducheng will host a recreation of our favorite song about ghost towns:

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