I have this longing to believe that somehow what came before was less fragile and much less fleeting, more easily touched and grasped than is the present. The irony of this longing caught up with me in Nan’ao, where three generations of fishermen live side by side on a beach front urban village (that, yes, is scheduled for partial demolition and redevelopment). Continue reading
Handshake 302’s last exploration of Baishizhou was a collaboration between Handshake 302 and Shenzhen Center for Design. I comprised two parts: a silent walk through the urban village to collect sounds and a workshop discussion. Zhang Kaiqin and I led the walk (see map), while resident artist Zhang Mengtai led the workshop.
Guanhu (官湖) and Shayuchong (沙渔涌) Villages are within walking distance to each other along the Dapeng coastline. Guanhu is the village that has developed Jiaochangwei. A small settlement at the mouth of a river, Shayuchong is undergoing a complete renovation that is reminiscent of the horrific universidade paint-overs. Both villages are in various stages of redevelopment. And in the details I trace Shenzhen’s complicated preservation ecologies, where beauty, kitsch desires, and too much money take strange and curious form. Impressions from today’s walk, below.
Tomorrow afternoon, Handshake 302 collaborates with Future+ to explore the Baishizhou soundscapes. The workshop program begins with an hour-long tour to collect sounds and a 1.5 hour sound workshop with resident artist Zhang Mengtai. Meet-up at Baishizhou Metro Exit A.
Stumbled across a bit of Luohu trivia that suggests that cross border licentiousness has been promoted on both sides of the border as a means of generating profit. According to the Industrial History of Hong Kong Group,
The opening of the “Shum Chun Casino” in 1931, provided one of the only new areas of passenger growth [for the Kowloon-Canton Railway]. By 1934 passengers visiting the casino were a major portion of the cross border revenue until its closure on 1st September 1936. The impact of the casino’s closure was such that there was a shortfall in the last four months of the year at round 30% of the net operating revenue.
It is one of the ironies of publicity that site and time-specific artworks are regularly transformed into texts. On Sunday, September 31, for example, resident artist Zhang Mengtai held an open house in Handshake 302. He built an amplifier that transmitted sounds he had collected in Baishizhou and then compiled into a soundscape. Abstracted from the noisy jumble of handshake allies and crowded streets, the honking cars and migrating dialects that Mengtai recorded seemed delicate, almost lyrical in their evocation of Baishizhou. We were entranced. But this text is not that experience. Continue reading
Off the beaten track (or at least a 15 minute bus ride from the Longhua subway station), Dalang remains one of the manufacturing centers of Shenzhen as well as one of the few spaces where it is still possible to see container trucks of various sizes trundling about. The landscape itself is a dense mix of industrial parks, proper urban villages, collectively held property, and limited public and commercial property. In other words, the area retains much of its morphology from when Longhua was officially a market town (镇, 1986-2004) and the entire area was developed through rural institutions.