帝国时代 The Age of Empire（2000-2012）
In 2000, Zheng Guogu encountered a 5,000m² plot of land in the suburb of his hometown Yangjiang. When he commenced the construction of The Age of Empire in 2005, the land had expanded to more than twenty thousand square meters, during a time that Zheng Guogu called the “land expansion” period, laying the main territory of The Age of Empire.
Zheng Guogu used to be obsessed with the video game series Age of Empires, from which the name of his project derived. Years later, he renamed The Age of Empire to Liao Garden.
The Age of Empire was founded upon certain fascinations rather than rational planning. Instead of building it according to a master plan, it has been a process of spontaneous readjustments following the artist’s feelings and thinking since its very beginning: at home, on the road, in hotel rooms, Zheng Guogu would sketch out his imaginations of The Age of Empire. These scattered pieces of drawings would slowly form the spatial relations of the whole in a later process.
Zheng Guogu’s initial aspiration was to merge his interests in the computer game with the architectural questions that he wanted to explore. Through the transformation of landscapes, he created a strange spectacle of The Age of Empire from an ordinary rural farmland. Unlike virtual reality in computer games, the real The Age of Empire is bound to face more complex spatial forms and social relations. He already had the feeling at the time that it was only through a construction process that was integrated in real life, that a personal secret passage of perception would unfold.