hubei: bearing witness

So, Hubei Old Village isn’t being demolished, but it’s not being protected from the fallout of master plans and hammer drills. I walked the edges of the demolition area in and around New Hubei Village and the former Luohu Culture Park, which used to be one of my favorite public spaces downtown. Impressions of the withering practices that encroach on the “Old Special Zone, below.”

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cutting edge: shekou and the construction of the global order

On October 27, Handshake 302 welcomed 15 Shenzhen people to participate in the second chapter of “Urban Flesh and Bones”–Shekou: Globalized Geographies. Our walk traced the original coastline of old Shekou and made several stops in the landfilled gardens of new Shekou. terms, Walking along the coastline of the Old Shekou reminds us that the “local” Shekou is actually composed of important elements such as international connectivity, industrialization, business culture and personal mobility.

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shenzhen wetlands

You may not be aware that there is a wetlands conservation area in downtown Shenzhen. Tucked away between Window of the World, Baishizhou, and the Binhai Expressway, the wetlands boasts the last bit of original coastline of Shenzhen Bay. Indeed, once upon a time, it was a guarded border. The city uses this small piece of land as a living classroom, inviting limited numbers of people in to learn about conservation and local ecology.

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mission hills…guanlan

The distinction between the golf course (or “high ball field – 高球场” as it is now abbreviated) and the nearby urban villages is clearer in English than in Chinese, because the gulf course is known as Guanlan Lake High Ball Field, while the surround area is simply “Guanlan.” These fuzzy language borders matter. I know, for example, many Chinese people who use English translation to more strongly express ideas and aspirations that remain muted in Putonghua. I will be exploring these tensions–between art and craft, between hand and machine, between service and consumption, and between local and outsider–over the next two months as a participant in the Guanlan Mission Hills International Material Art Camp. Below are impressions from my first few days walking the area.

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baishizhou: the city’s history through seven micro-environments

On October 14, 2018, Handshake 302 welcome a group of Chevening scholars to Baishizhou. We brought the Chevening scholars to seven of Baishizhou’s micro-environments. Each micro-environment not only illustrates the urban life of Shenzhen, but also represents an important moment in the city’s history. Continue reading

generations, again

The other day over lunch, a good friend expounded on the characteristics that distinguish children born in the 80s, 90s, and 00s based on what she understood of their parents, who were born in the 50s, 60s, and 70s respectively. Continue reading

the photography of he huangyou

A current exhibition of the photography of He Huangyou (何煌友), Shenzhen Memory is something of a historical mashup. It includes many of He’s most-well known photographs, which have shaped our visual imagination of the Shenzhen before and at the cusp of reform. These photographs are well worth seeing in person. However, the exhibition neither contextualizes nor places the photographs in chronological order, leaving interpretation up to the viewer. This form of representation may in fact conform to what we know of how memory works–it is highly personal and unreliable–but it makes it difficult to place the images into larger histories. It feels as if we are suddenly viewing the illustrated introduction to the “fishing village to world city” narrative without bothering to mention that the exhibition includes pictures from at least three different coastlines and two different epicenters of reform (Shenzhen and Shekou).

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