floating desires

Desire ravages Baishizhou.

Last night at Handshake 302, Fu Honghong discussed her wall, “Floating Desires (漂浮的欲)”, the fifth installation of the series, My White Wall Compulsions (墙迫症). Fu Honghong is one of the few CZC Special Forces who lives in Baishizhou. She came to Shenzhen via a rural childhood and urban university, and now works as a graphic designer in neighboring Overseas Chinese Town. On her wall, Fu Honghong wanted to map Baishizhou in terms of the desires–to find a job, to meet a life partner, to buy a house and leave–that although immaterial, nevertheless are the reason that Baishizhou exists as it does. Continue reading


“this time, this place”: these concerns

The balmy days of installation gave way to cold winter rain for the opening of “This Time, This Place” in Shenzhen’s Central Park. Our brief as participants was to respond to the site, and in this sense the weather reminded us just how different indoor and outdoor exhibitions can be. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Today, I’m wondering: is there art that ameliorates rather than is predicated on class privilege? Continue reading


“evolution” in progress

Lei Sheng and I have worked together with a team of craftsmen from a Shenzhen factory to create “Evolution”, a site specific installation for the Shenzhen Public Sculpture Exhibition. The show opens tomorrow in Shenzhen central park, along side the Futian River. Comments and thoughts tomorrow, along with images of finished sculpture and other installations. To contextualize project, please click houhai, land reclamation and/ or oysters in the tag cloud. Below, pictures of evolutionary progress.

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cultural economics 101: how do you find reliable workers in shenzhen?

The expression “a friend is a means of getting something done (一个朋友一条路)” is a concise description of the Shenzhen labor market. It is, of course, also a description of “relationship-ology (关系学), the social art of making full use of one’s relatives, friends and acquaintances. Given the importance of relationships to getting things done in China generally and Shenzhen specifically, relationship-ology manifests in some ugly ways. Nepotism is classic relationship-ology as is the art of making friends through wining, dining and bribing. Nevertheless, having friends help get things done isn’t as coldly instrumental as it sounds. Continue reading


the view from almere

Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of participating Shenzhen: From Factory of the World to World City, a conference hosted by the International New Town Institute. What did I learn? Continue reading

观察| 城中村,拆迁还是握手?

A visitor’s thoughts on the Handshake 302 project.

观察| 城中村,拆迁还是握手?.

the view from amsterdam

This week I am in the Netherlands to participate in a conference on Shenzhen. The conference is being held in Almere, another of the so-called new cities that has appeared in  the postwar era of American style globalization. Of course, talking about Shenzhen in Almere reminds that we’ve passed through so many variations since the American century began circa 1945: the Cold War, post socialist, and now Chimerican, to deploy a lovely neologism beating at the heart of commodity chains.

Today an easy entry into Dutch cultural geography via the national museum and streets apes. First impressions: Continue reading