demolition anxieties…

Today, I walked the village named Baishizhou, which is located south of Shennan Road and is not scheduled for demolition. This other, lesser known Baishizhou is tucked away behind Window of the World, middling housing estates, and the KK Banna Mall. Unlike the Baishizhou that is scheduled for demolition, this other, less expensive Baishizhou does not hum and pop, does not buzz with entrepreneurialism and the rush of young office workers, but rather transports us back to Shenzhen 2.0; at the turn of the millennium, most Shenzhen neighborhoods were like this: straight-forwardly residential in the middle with an outer ring of functional shops and fast food, and hardware stores that spilled into the street because the sidewalk had not yet been laid down. Continue reading

more on handshake 302

An essay that looks back at the past five years at Handshake 302, “Figuring Post-worker Shenzhen” has been published in Made in China (vol. 3, issue 1, Jan-Mar 2018). In happy coincidence, one of the contributors to Learning from Shenzhen, Eric Florence also discusses representations of migrant labor in this volume (“Rural Migrant Workers in Independent Films: Representations of Everyday Agency,” pp 96-103). The journal is hosted at the website, Chinoiresie.info.

baishizhou: shenzhen’s center and periphery

Friday, April 20, 2018, Handshake 302 had the privilege of hosting Wu Xiaoya’s (吴晓雅) sharing about her recently published book, Baishizhou: Shenzhen’s Center and Periphery (白石洲:深圳的中心与边缘。深圳报业集团出版社,2018). Roughly twenty people squeezed into the backroom at Banxian Coffee House, which graciously offered its space for the two-hour event. Of note? The audience comprised a representative sample of the young intellectuals interested in Shenzhen’s urban villages, including recent college graduates who currently live in urban villages, graduate and doctoral students from Shenzhen University, and several second generation Shenzheners who are active in the city’s 公益 scene. We gathered not only to discuss Baishizhou specifically, but also the so-called “urban village phenomenon.” Continue reading

meet miia!

During the month of January 2018, MIIA AUTIO is the artist-in-residence at Handshake 302. Based in Helsinki, Finland, Miia is a photographer and lens-based media artist who is interested in presenting societal issues in a way that knowledge and understanding is born through the interaction between the viewer and the work. In her works she deals with the themes of identity, foreignness and viewership. Continue reading

a state beyond the state

Just finished reading Ting Chen’s A State beyond the State: Shenzhen and the Transformation of Urban China, which maps how land was assigned and developed over the course of 35 years of development in Shenzhen. One of my favorite sections in the book tracks the transformation of Shahe State Farm, pre-1979 Bao’an County’s only danwei into Baishizhou, the city’s most iconic urban village. Indeed, Chen’s meticulous maps suggest how the area has mediated rural-urban conditions since 1959, when the farm was established. Continue reading

so what happens during a handshake residency?

Catherine Nakawesa visited Handshake 302 in July 2017 and has published her reflections on her experience. Don’t take our word for how much happens and can be experienced in Shenzhen, listen to hers! Read the serendipitous making of made in shenzhen.

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.

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