old haunts

In the mid-1990s, when Nanshan District launched “Cultural Nanshan” most events were held in or around the Nanshan Cultural-Sports Center (南山文体中心), which included a sculpture museum and the Red Earth Cafe and Bar, where Zero Sun Moon, an early incarnation of Fat Bird first performed. The design and scale of the Cultural-Sports Center reflected early Shenzhen values; it was three stories high, had an outdoor stage for Everybody Happy (大家乐video) events, and small, cultural entrepreneurs rented rooms. I remember walking two-lane boulevards to use the computers at one of those shops, as well as playing go at the weiqi and western chess club.

Located diagonally across the street from the Cultural-Sports Center, the Nanshan Library was finished in time for the Handover and signaled the area’s future designs. Beijing sculptor, Bao Pao collected discarded metal and sutured it together to make the Library’s fence, which still stands. However, the Cultural Center crumbled where it stood until 2009, when Nanshan District approved an 800 million (8亿) budget to build a landmark building on the site. By this time, of course, the Coastal City mall was already open and the abutting Tianli and Poly Center Malls were nearing completion in anticipation of the Universiade. The point is that this area of upscale consumption is now called “the Nanshan Cultural Center” and the Nanshan Cultural Sports Center has been demoted to a bus station even though that’s where all the cultural infrastructure was / is being built.

Below, pictures from a walk around the Nanshan Cultural Sports Center block. Of note, Nanshan District’s neo-Confucian propaganda, the remnants of Old Nanshan, and the neoliberalization of the cityscape, including a high-concept Marriage Registration Bureau Hall and shopping plaza. Also, there will be a diamond market just around the corner.

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BOOM! Shenzhen

Gu Yun (she of the lovely biennale impressions) has taken photos of Boom! Shenzhen. Below are images from the show.

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Boom! Shenzhen

In 1979, Shenzhen was a rural area, organized into collective fishing villages, lychee orchards, and oyster farms. From 1979 through 2010, the Municipality’s estimated population grew from 300,000 to over 13 million people, its GDP exploded from $US 308 million to over $US 149 billion, and agricultural land vanished, being replaced by international ports, industrial parks, residential areas, shopping malls, and green space. Indeed, Shenzhen’s boom redefined the scale and intensity of rural urbanization within China and set new standards for developing nations looking to modernize.

Boom! Shenzhen has five elements, which implode the idea of a timeline to contextualize the lived, environmental, and philosophical meanings of the SEZ’s short, yet volatile history. Continue reading

Boom! Press

Links to sites with images of Boom (and copy from the Biennale website). I also appear in a picture or two. 深圳新闻网, 文化大视野 晶报网雕塑中国

Boom! Shenzhen Greedy Snake Video

Boom! Shenzhen is now online. Zhang Xueshi and Wang Lechi give us the 90 second version of Shenzhen history. Enjoy!

Here’s the youku version, which includes music@

BOOM! Shenzhen in process

We finish installing Boom! tomorrow. Through the process of designing, building, and installing the pieces, I have become increasingly aware of the labor necessary to make such a project. In fact, I’ve found it humbling to realize how little I have contributed in the face of my collaborators’ and workers’ skills and willingness to get it right; yes, this kind of artistic production begs Marxist critique. Below, impressions of folks who have worked hard to make Boom! possible. The tag Boom! Shenzhen will bring up other posts from the show.

BOOM! opens 9:00 pm, December 8 in OCT, B-10 venue. Please come.

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