playback shenzhen

Established in 2007, Shenzhen’s Ya Ya Theatre is an amateur troupe that specializes in playback theatre, a form of improv in which audience members tell stories from their lives and watch players enact the story. Ya Ya meets once a week to rehearse and have occasional performances in diverse venues, including Shenzhen’s indie bookstore Feidi (飞地书局), the Yuehai Community Culture Station, and Shenzhen’s Fringe Festival. On Saturday September 23, they brought their program “One Person, One Story” to Handshake 302. What follows are impressions and clips from that program. Continue reading

entrepreneur dreams in baishizhou

Episode 3 of Shenzhen Book of Changes is up! Like millions of migrants, Hu Yuefu has come to Shenzhen to make a life and business for himself. We visit Baishizhou – Shenzhen’s largest urban village – to learn his story.

what is worth passing on?

Friday August 25, 2017 I had the honor of participating in the closing meeting of the second edition of the “Shenzhen Oral History” project. It was a high level and exciting cultural event that commemorated the people who contributed to Shenzhen’s second decade, 1992-2002. A week later on Friday September 1, I attended the salon for Wu Xingyu and Zhong Yuxiao’s art project “Demolition.” Continue reading

The Baishizhou Jiada Printing Factory Flash Exhibition

I am translating Deng Shijie’s We Chat post of the Flash Exhibit he created at the Jiada Printing Factory in Baishizhou. It was one of several Labor Day events organized by the current Handshake 302 Artist-in-Residence, Lao Tu. Continue reading

free associations, or, what does baishizhou mean to you?

Yesterday, I visited the two-day exhibition that Xu Lan (徐岚) put up in a one-bedroom apartment (2,400 / month) in Tangtou Block 6, Baishizhou. The exhibition took place over two days (Jan 8 and 9, 2017) and comprised mountain and water sketches / illustrations from a week-long stay (previous) in Baishizhou. The series itself is part of an ongoing project of travelling and documenting those travels. The inspiration for the exhibition (as narrated by Xu Lan) was random (偶然). He was thinking of the painter Qi Baishi (齐白石) and painted his own “Baishizhou” and then decided to show the works in Baishizhou, Shenzhen because he remembered having been here once.

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baishizhou, dusk, 2016.12.20

They will soon begin digging the basement and putting in foundation where the Shahe Creative Park used to be. As I have yet to invest in a drone, I resort to climbing–past the five&dime, the yoga studio, the taikwando studio, and the Shahe Creative Park Office–to the top of a partially cordoned building to take pictures of the changing landscape:

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flash exhibition / baishizhou

Last night, the Baishizhou Squad (as I think of the loosely organised group that is dedicated to documenting and finding alternatives to redeveloping urban villages) held a “flash exhibition” of images from their “Don’t Demolish Baishizhou” series. The entire performance took 30 minutes: 25 minutes to put up the images and then roughly 5 minutes for the city management folk to take them down. They chose to put the pictures up near the pharmacy, which is contesting the demolition in order to secure compensation for his investment. Continue reading