small acts, big questions

While at Handshake 302, performance artist Dong Jie’s two interventions were simple and old fashioned efforts to reach out across space and time and connect with another human being. First, she wrote postcards and sent them to friends living outside Shenzhen, asking them to respond in five years time to see where the answers might end up. Second, before she left, she hid money in the apartment for the next resident to find or not, depending on their whim and luck.

Each of these small acts was performed against the backdrop of impending demolition and renewal, foregrounding how the material world mediates human relationships. The objects, of course, are not the relationship itself, but they do stand for intangible emotions—a cup of hot tea can represent hospitality, just as its absence might mean “I have no time for you.” A postcard can represent a yearning for connection, just as its absence might mean “we have lost each other.’ A fifty yuan note represents an older economic order; how are virtual transactions changing human relations? Is a We Chat red envelop really as satisfying as a paper envelop stuffed with actual bills? And as the city continues to upgrade, what does a handshake building represent? What will their absence from downtown mean for Shenzhen and our future?
Come and join us in Handshake 302 to discuss the shape of the future as all that is solid melts into air.
Time: 19:00, Weds, Dec 6, 2017
Place: Banxian Cafe (see map)

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