thermometer: opening impressions

The ThermoMatter (温度) opening was well attended, despite the distances–geographic, class, and interest–that separate the Shenzhen Art Museum from the rest of Shenzhen. There was a general conversation with participating artists after the opening ceremony and there seemed to be a consensus that this show was “local”; all artists had some connection to the city. There were 2nd generation participants, long-term immigrants, and projects that were explicitly about the city itself. In the Chinese 温度 can refer  to “temperature” as well as to actual and emotional warmth. All agreed that these meanings were fully on display.

General impressions from the opening:

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Snippet from “of a piece”, hands:

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handshake 302 at the shenzhen art museum!

3:00 this afternoon at the Shenzhen AT Museum, Handshake 302 presents “Of a Piece”, an interactive project that includes sewing, conversation, and relief from the summer heat. We’re also organizing pamphleteers (see above) to generate an audience for the project in the neighboring park. That’s right, SZAM is located in the East Lake Park/ Reservoir at the very edge of what (in 1982) was the eastern edge of the SEZ.

Please join us at S(ha)ZAM! The museum and its location (East Lake Park/ Resevoir) are “Old Shenzhen” from its 1980s’ incarnation. There’s even a nearby dim sum restaurant that as old as the SEZ just outside the park’s main gate. Below, a video snippet from the Dongmen Fabric emporium:

Asian Journal of Women’s Studies

Mary Ann O'Donnell:

Check it out.

Originally posted on Journal of Contemporary Asia:

FreeThe Asian Center for Women’s Studies at Ewha Womans University publishes the Asian Journal of Women’s Studies. The articles and reviews in Issue 1 for 2015 are available for free download.

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“scold” arrives in shenzhen

Shenzhen’s most recent Party Secretary, Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞) infamously told Shenzhen and its boosters to get over the jubilation for its recent rise in international prestige. On the one hand, there is something snarky and mean spirited about Party Secretary Ma’s scolding. After all, Shenzhen’s raison d’etre has been to make a place for itself in the emergent world order and for most of its existence, Shenzhen has been ignored by Beijing-centric views of China (both in and outside China). On the other had, many agree with his assessment that Shenzhen is not yet a first rank world city.

The new Party Secretary’s surname—Ma—is a homophone with the character for “scold / tell off” (骂)”. In that spirit, the OCT Lifestyle website put out an article in which Shenzhen clearly comes in second behind world class cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore. With Beijing the comparison is about the internet. Hong Kong stands for level of globalization, Taiwan a sense of well-being, Japan for professionalism, and Singapore for the ability to attract and keep talent. In other words, Shenzhen wants to be best at all of that, which may in fact be its charm—composite rather than first rank across categories. Continue reading

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dragon boat festival preparations

This past week I have been in Shuiwei learning to wrap zongzi (粽子) for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. What is apparent is not simply the re-invention of tradition, but also the unpaid work that women do to create that solidarity. The zongzi making takes place over 10 days—two prep days and then 8 days of wrapping and boiling. The hours are long: 6:30 a.m. to midnight or later. Of note: Continue reading

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China’s Troubling Robot Revolution

Mary Ann O'Donnell:

More about why Shenzhen–and the forms of creativity that are being developed here–has far, far reaching effects. Full article over at the NYTimes, snippet, below.

Originally posted on Ethics Asylum:

Image Credit: Kristian Hammerstad

OVER the last decade, China has become, in the eyes of much of the world, a job-eating monster, consuming entire industries with its seemingly limitless supply of low-wage workers. But the reality is that China is now shifting its appetite to robots, a transition that will have significant consequences for China’s economy — and the world’s.

In 2014, Chinese factories accounted for about a quarter of the global ranks of industrial robots — a 54 percent increase over 2013. According to the International Federation of Robotics, it will have more installed manufacturing robots than any other country by 2017.

Midea, a leading manufacturer of home appliances in the heavily industrialized province of Guangdong, plans to replace 6,000 workers in its residential air-conditioning division, about a fifth of the work force, with automation by the end of the year. Foxconn, which makes consumer electronics for Apple and other…

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寻找深圳真相/searching for the real shenzhen

Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Shenzhen Middle School Teacher Zhong about the current exhibition at Handshake 302. Here’s what she said:

Q: 让学生们参与《与未来握手》的初衷是什么?/ What did you hope to see happen when by having your students participate in “Handshake with the Future”?

A: 我认为城中村是城市发展中一个很特别的存在,希望学生能通过302项目,有一个走入城中村契机,对自己生活的城市有更进一步的了解和加深认识。/ I think that urban villages are a special aspect of urban development. I hoped that by way of this 302 project, students would have an opportunity to go into an urban village, becoming more aware of the city they live in and developing a deeper understanding about it. Continue reading