china in africa

The China*Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins has just published results of three years of research on how Chinese Investment in Africa is Not What You Think. The site is a great jumping off point for thinking about new forms of globalization and China’s increasing international presence.  Shenzhen keeps showing up in all of this as the desired result…

israel and yang qian

israel horowitz in shenzhen!

Playwright and screenwriter, Israel Horowitz is visiting Shenzhen in conjunction with the Fat Bird premiere of his play, Line, which has been performed at the 13th Street Repertory since 1974. We’re excited!

On Saturday, Israel will be giving a free talk about over fifty years creating for the stage and screen. Venue: OCAT B Gallery; Time: 15:00. If you’re in Shenzhen, don’t miss this chance to meet a theater great!

The play will be performed in Chinese on April 5 through April 8, 2016. Venue: Nanshan Cultural Center, small theater. Tickets can be purchased through WeChat or at the door.

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samuel lowe

finding samuel lowe…in shenzhen

How have our parents’ and grandparents’, and their parents’ and grandparents’ sojourns–some forced, some voluntary, and some taken on a whim–shaped the people we have become? It is a quintessentially American question, and yet it resonates in Shenzhen where almost everyone of the city’s 20 million people have migrated here from somewhere else. It also resonates because before the establishment of the Special Zone, emigration–rather than immigration, departure rather than arrival–informed family trajectories. Continue reading

Propitiation (Liu Wei, Chen Haoyu, [Colin Siyuan Chinnery])

Digging a Hole in China

This afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Digging a Hole in China (事件的地貌) exhibition, curated by Venus Lau. the exhibition features a range of works that were produced from the mid-1990s forward, roughly a decade after the idea of land art had been picked up by Chinese artists and only a few years after Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour, where he confirmed that China would continue to liberalize its economy. The stated goal of the exhibition, which positions itself between China and the West is,

[T]o expose and analyze the discrepancies between this genre of work and ‘conventional’ land art understood in the Western-centric art historical context, thereby probing the potential of ‘land’–as a cultural and political concept–in artistic practice.

Continue reading

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local is as local does. or not.

This week I have been thinking about iterations of the “local” in two sites: the 2015 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture and the Baishizhou Street Museum. In particular, I’m thinking about the possibility of making connections from “here” to “there” when they hinge on the distance between (a) some outside understanding of what the local might be and (b) what might be interesting to actual locals. The possibility of meaningful dialogue is further complicated when “outsiders” and “locals” are organized by global hierarchies, internal class structures, and unquestioned ideas of what might be intellectually and/or aesthetically engaging. Continue reading

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week in review: Sunday October 11 through Saturday October 17

I’ve decided to try posting weekly reviews; I’ve been busy, but missed the blog. I’m hoping that by scheduling a week in review post, I’ll reach a happy medium. Today, I’m publishing a short review, after today, I will be publishing the week in review on Friday mornings, Beijing standard time, which is conveniently the standard time for the whole country!

Bureaucratic hoop jumping:

Last week to extend my visa, I went to the police department. It is necessary to fill out the forms online, but those forms can only be accessed in the building. However, before I was permitted to enter my data, I had to show one of the officers that my documents were complete. They weren’t, so I went upstairs to make a photocopy. After I filled in the form, online, I took a picture of the screen so that an officer could print out my application by reading the registration number. This is necessary because it is impossible to enter more than one letter (A B C) in the line. Then I got my number and waited. Everything was okay, except that I had to bring my husband to the police department to fill our a guarantee letter that day, other wise I would have to do it again. We persevered and documents were submitted and accepted. Continue reading

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the shenzhen anti-terrorism campaign

Although China has been strengthening its anti-terrorism campaign over the past year or so, the Shenzhen anti-terrorism campaign is recent. Ideologically, the campaign promotes a Neo-Confucian message of family first–a value that terrorists are purported not to share. Unfortunately, terrorists are more or less consistently represented as Muslim. In fact, the stereotypes used in the campaign are familiar from conversations I’ve had with friends over the past decade, when I have been told that Islam is not a religion but a terrorist organization. More alarmingly, as in the United States, Chinese anti-terrorism feeds anti Muslim sentiments and justifies increasing militarization of public life. Sigh.

Of note: the May 22, 2014 attack (in which men in ski masks jumped out of two vans to attack people in Urumqi) has become the stereotype of terrorist attack in the campaign. The following Inside Story by Aljazeera attempts to understand the increasingly violent situation.