In Urban Amber, Han Bing’s visual interventions also raise questions about the paradoxes of desire. Desire for Han Bing is an irreducibly bifurcated modality, that is, it has powerful manifestations and effects that can be both beautiful and poisonous. In his conceptual photography series of single-exposure images, Urban Amber, this paradox takes on a different form. The spectre of glamorous high-rises, those icons of middle-class China’s dreams of home and a better life, are juxtaposed to the rundown, temporary dwellings of the urban poor living in their shadows. These fantasy high-rises appear resplendent and dream-like until you realize that their inverted images are reflected in Beijing’s ubiquitous, industrial-waste and garbage-infested “stinky rivers.” Like amber, these rivers capture the sediment of the times, showing us through a mirror darkly, the underbelly of China’s fantasy of modernity.