BODIES OF DESIRE
China’s love affair with the automobile is escalating every year, and the biennial Beijing International Automotive Fair is now ground zero for this sultry romance. Nearly a million automobile enthusiasts packed into the gigantic halls of the Beijing International Convention Center over the course of a week just to get a chance to sit behind the wheel of their dream car and admire the scantily clad attendants. The overt sexuality of both the male and female floor models in the trade booths is now increasingly conflated with the status of vehicle ownership. They utilize a practiced set of gestures and poses to better integrate with the curvatures of the surrounding hunks of glass and steel. These intertwined bodies of human and vehicular desire are the height of an erotic symbiosis that incites deeper forms of commodity fetishism. Car purchases in China surged 45% in 2009, surpassing the United States for the first time with 13.6 million vehicles sold, making it the largest automobile market on the planet. China will remain on top for the foreseeable future as more and more people pack onto already crowded streets and highways, even as dealer inventories continue to snowball this year. No matter what, expect more skin and desirous looks at automotive fairs across China.