As rumors of demolition become more substantial, the implications of how it will directly impact individual lives is being felt. On June 30 / July 1, several landlords (most likely sub-letter landlords) demanded that because of immanent demolition, renters in Xintang and Shangbaishi would have to move out by September. These notices were unofficial, in that they did not carry the seal of the city government. Nevertheless, they have induced panic because the time directly impacts schooling. Continue reading
In “City on the Fill,” I have been tracking the transformation of the Houhai coastline. Houhai means “backwater” and Qianhai means “front water.” These are terms from over 1,700 years ago, referring to the bays behind and in front of the former yamen at Nantou. Both Houhai and Qianhai have been repurposed in Shenzhen 3.0. Houhai has transformed from being a literal backwater at the edges of Shenzhen 1.0 and upscale suburbs in Shenzhen 2.0 to the new location of the city’s upgraded electronics industry. Qianhai, of course, is the site of the Qianhai-Shekou Free Trade Zone, which has defined development in Shenzhen for about a decade and is itself proposed as the new center of 3.0. (Inquiring minds want to know: will it happen?)
On Sunday, June 9, visiting artist Huang Yingxue presented her work Train Ticket at Handshake 302. The idea behind Train Ticket was simple, but profound. Yingxue printed train tickets for Baishizhou, leaving empty time and place of departure. She then asked Baishizhou shopkeepers and residents to fill in the ticket with their hometown and date of arrival in Baishizhou. The ticket was then photographed in a relevant environment. One ticket was photographed in a shoe shop and another at a watermelon stand. Continue reading
You may be wondering, how much more literal a representation of a cultural ecology can we get than that of a prospector walking a grid on reclaimed land? Not many prospected on the rubble beneath Coastal City, circa 2006, but for a few brief years–after the fill had dried but before it had settled–the stretch of bay which would become Coastal City, the Nanshan Cultural Area, including the Shenzhen Bay Arena and Talent Park gave rise to a strange ecology of squatters, tree farmers, hi-tech garbage pickers, and children who set off firecrackers at the city’s edges. The images below, for example, were taken one overcast day in April 2006 at the former site of a squatting community and the future site of the Tencent building. That day, several men had driven onto the land fill in order to fly their planes.
On June 1, Handshake 302 celebrated Children’s Day with a Singleton Lunch. Kiki Mager cooked up well-seasoned veggie-dishes for eight guests. The peripatetic German chose the topic “community” for the meal, inviting guests to share stories about themselves, how they ended up in Shenzhen and elsewhere, and what the experience of moving around had been. “Where,” one of the guests pointedly asked, “is home?” Continue reading
Once you have a house on the beach, what do you do there? You play. And where were the toys once made? In factories built along the old new coastline. Continue reading