Proud to have been selected by Shenzhen Economic Daily as one of Shenzhen’s 2018 Ten Most Influential Creatives. The award was announced on May 19 at the Cultural Industries Fair as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to promote and cultivate creativity. And yes, this award is the result of ongoing collaboration with Handshake 302.
When Shenzhen moved mountains to fill the sea (移山填海), fish and mollusks, oysters and shrimp–all were buried alive. Continue reading
Here’s the thing about innovation and copy-catting; our focus on individuals and copyrights makes it difficult to see that what happened in Shenzhen was a re-invention of capitalism. “Shenzhen Speed” is the name we give to the accelerated pace of accumulation and concomitant disruptions that have defined the past 40 years in Shenzhen (counting from 1979). Now, when we focus on objects like household electronics, oil paintings, and graphic design, it is easy to overlook how this acceleration reorganized capitalism as we knew it. But that’s the point. In Shenzhen, innovation has pretty consistently taken place at the structural level——reorganizing populations, restructuring factories, and remaking landscapes. Continue reading
Sabrina Muzi was the Handshake 302 visiting artist in June 2017. Her work is wonderful. She’ll be showing her video “Wandering Baishizhou” on Friday, May 17. If you are in Rome, do check it out.
Since the invention of cell phone cameras, most of us take more pictures in a day than we used to in a week or sometimes even a month. We take pictures of ourselves, we take pictures of landscapes, we take pictures of friends, and we take pictures of cats. Many, many pictures of cats. The question, of course, is what are we doing? What desires do these pictures represent? What is the story behind a selfie or the truth capture in a photography of a sleeping kitten? Continue reading
The next installment in the Myriad Transformations, “City on the Fill” is a series of riffs on land reclamation, both as an important feature of Shenzhen’s cultural ecology and as a metaphor for the replacement of southern Chinese culture with northern norms.
This image of the Shenzhen Bay coastline was taken behind the south gate of Shenzhen University in 2002. Squatters occupied the landfill and planted small vegetable gardens and raised chickens near their houses. Most worked in the informal economy, sorting garbage, working on nearby construction sites, and cultivating the oyster and fish farms that would be shut down in 2006. Today, the water has been reclaimed and is part of the Hi-Tech corridor that connects the Tencent Headquarters to University town via Shenzhen University, branch campuses of Hong Kong universities, and office buildings of Shenzhen and China’s top hi-tech companies. Indeed, this area was the site of the Shenzhen Maker Faire, 2015. The building under construction in the background is the Yangri Wanpan （洋日湾畔）estates, next to the Coastal City Shopping Mall complex. However, what strikes me more than the “that was then feeling” of a landscape transformed is the squatters’ clothing; even in 2002, when Shenzhen was still a manufacturing city, squatters would have difficulty finding jobs in the formal economy where appearance was part of gaining employment.
This is the Hi-Tech area, circa 2015. The white buildings in the left of the photograph comprise the Yangri Wanpan housing estates, which were under construction (and considered seafront property) in 2002. In 2015, the Hi-Tech area was the site of the Shenzhen Maker Faire, shown in the Chaihuo clip, below:
So, posting a copy of a speech I gave at the 9th annual Dragon & Eagle Dialogues, which were held at Yucai #4 Elementary School. The Dialogues encourage conversation about important topics and teach students respectful protocols for holding those conversations.
We are Already Interconnected: Some Thoughts on Cultivating an Inclusive Imagination and Practice
Keynote speech for the Dragon & Eagle Dialogues, April 13, 2019 Continue reading