寻找前途/the road not taken

Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Xin’an Polytechnic professor He 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: 如你所知,最开始的初衷就是很单纯地希望给学生提供一个走出校园,接触社会的平台。在新安执教两年,一直非常不喜欢的是过于硬式化,制度化管理,缺乏大学校园应有的青春活力。开始顾虑的是学生艺术创作能力是否能如期完成任务。(事实证明,我的顾虑多余啦…)/ As you know, at the beginning I had the simple hope of providing students with an opportunity to step outside the campus and connect with society. These past two years teaching at Xin’an, what has most frustrated me is its stilted program and bureaucracy; it lacks the youthful vitality a college should have. I was worried about whether or not the students’ art skills would be sufficient to complete their projects. (And in fact, the results proved that I worry too much…)

Q:自己和学生们对城中村的认识有什么变化?/Did you and/or your students impressions of urban villages change as a result of participating in the project?

A:新安参与的学生里面大部分是对城中村有一定了解和认识,他们在心里是对城中村有一定归属感。换句话说他们热爱城中村,但同时也希望通过自身努力搬离城中村,给予家人更好的居住环境。对于我而言,这次活动,从开始对白石洲“邻居“的好奇,到现在愿意更真实地去了解城中村文化。这两个月内,有好几次傍晚我都去白石洲瞎逛。在这昏暗,躁动,拥挤的街道到处可见步履匆匆为理想奋斗的人们和其乐融融欢声笑语。人或许有不同的阶级层次。但奋斗心,简单的快乐每个人都能拥有。/ The Xin’an students who participated in the project already had a deep understanding of urban villages, and at some level share a sense of belonging to the urban villages. In other words, they appreciate the urban villages, but ultimately through their hard work they hope to leave the villages and provide their families with a higher standard of living. For me, I was curious about what our campus “neighbor” Baishizhou was actually like, and now I’m willing to make real efforts to understand urban village culture. Many times over these past two months, I’ve wandered through Baishizhou. At dusk, these restless, crowded streets are filled with people struggling to fulfill their dreams and their laughter and chatter. There are different classes in Shenzhen. But this willingness to strive and simple happiness seems to me to be shared across our differences.

Q:说说你认识的对方的学生。/ Tell us what you know about Shenzhen Middle School students.

A:整个项目下来,就只能见过一次深中的学生。甚至我在想他们的日程表应该只有“学习”一栏吧。刚刚结束的高考也让我想起了那“黑色六月”。中国的教育体制,选拔机制不改,快乐童年真的无从谈起。我的学生这几天都在感慨自己曾经是高考独木桥被挤下来的一份子,但,这又何妨?只要永葆积极向上的心,“明天”真的会更好!“ 我的教学同样得到启发,我们要教会学生的不应该是理论或某个软件,大学老师应该更多起的“指明灯“引路人作用。还是两年前我在课题的那句话“几年之后,你们一定不会记得何老师讲过的课,但是你会记得何老师的为人,何老师与学生的共处,指导和鼓励。”/ Over the course of the project, I only saw the Shenzhen Middle School students once. I actually think the only entry in their calendar is “study”. The fact that we just finished the college entrance exam has me thinking about “black June”. Until we change the Chinese education system, it will be impossible to talk about happy childhoods. These few days, my students have been sighing about the fact that they didn’t make the cut when they sat for the exams, but that said, what’s the harm? If they have cultivate a heart that strives, then “tomorrow will be brighter”! My students can also become enlightened. College teachers need to be teaching students more than theory or software, but rather be a “guiding light” on their path. Two years ago I said to my students, “In several years, you won’t remember anything I’ve taught you in class, but you will remember the kind of person I was, you will remember how I treated you, how I guided you, and how I encouraged you.”

Q:学校在这次握手展览活动中的角色和对艺术活动的态度。/ What was the school’s role in this project and what has been the school’s position on art?

A:302可谓是新安的一个突破,新安95年在深圳创校,但社会知名度一直不高!原因之一就是闭门造车,不愿意走出社会。我希望以后学校能理解,并支持老师带领学生参与社会实践活动。/ You could say that 302 was a breakthrough for Xin’an Polytechnic. Xin’an Polytechnic was establishedin 1995, but it has not yet become famous! The reason is simple: we’ve closed are doors and don’t get out in society. I hope that the school understands and supports teachers who bring students to participate in community events.

Q:302的吸引力和可以做得更好的地方在哪?/ What does 302 do well and what could we improve?

A:302最大的吸引力是你和马老师团队给予最大自由度的创作空间和满满的信任。这点非常感谢!!没有教条,制度和约束,让学生得到了自由发挥的空间。希望有所改善一点是,展览场所的开放性。既然是对城中村,白石洲的调研,为什么不对当地居民开放,让他们也来感受一下,独乐乐不如众乐乐😄……答题完毕!/ What 302 does well is that you and Mary Ann gave a large amount of freedom and trust. We are grateful for this! No dogma, no system, no constraints. You just let students do what they wanted to in the space. It’s my hope that the exhibition space could be more open to the public. After all you’re researching urban villages generally and Baishizhou specifically, so why not be more open to residents? Let them come and experience the environment, after all it’s more fun in a group than alone!… And I’ve answered all your questions!

现在对《与未来握手》好奇吧!本周日(6月14日)14:30在握手302再一次有机会与广东新安职业技术学院交流他们对自己的作品、梦想,还有我们共同的未来的看法。Curious about “Handshake with the Future”? Join us this Sunday, June 14 at 2:30 and talk with students from Xin’an Polytechnic about their work, their dreams, and our common future.

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