the left behind

Here’s the thing about the retreat of manufacturing from the townships and villages of the Pearl River Delta; these areas have urbanized, migrants have settled in and are raising families, but as the low-end jobs and shops that once sustained local and migrant communities follow the factories elsewhere, these neighborhoods are withering. Consider, for example, the older section of Dongguan–莞城, which only twenty years ago was a vibrant community and today is an abandoned reminder of the area’s complicated history with Ming pirates and British opium, its deep relationships with the late Qing Chinese diaspora, and the Pearl River Delta’s urban village origins. Old Dongguan has become a focus of concern for urban planners and concerned citizens: how to revitalize an “old street” that is no longer viable, but sits on prime real estate, or more precisely, inquiring minds want to know: to raze or not to raze historic areas and landmark buildings? Continue reading

only connect

The two-day event was called “Only Connect.” We emphasized the infrastructure that makes neighborhoods out of houses and buildings. Yes, every building had an electrical light, water tubes, sewage tubes and access to the main road. And yes It’s also true, every time that Handshake 302 holds an event at the P+V Gallery, the kids rock our world. Take a look at the smiles that creativity brings! More about Handshake 302 here and here.

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children covered in garbage

Yesterday I participated in the 蓝海生态艺术巡游 (Make Our Seas Come BLUE) parade, which was organized by CULTaMAP‘s indomitable Tracy Lee. We marched from Statue Square to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum via Victoria Harbor. The march culminated a cross-border Hong Kong-Shenzhen pedagogical collaboration to draw attention to garbage in the oceans, children’s ability to speak to issues that will shape their future possibilities, and the responsibilities of their adults to facilitate uncomfortable conversations in safe environments. Continue reading

this year, christmas in dalang

 

When I was young, Christmas was a special time that started just after Thanksgiving. Indeed, in the month before Christmas there was much work. We made lists of presents for our parents, siblings, and friends. We went Christmas tree shopping and then spent an evening decorating the tree. Each decoration had a story. Each year I would make an angel or Christmas mouse for the tree and my mother had special lights. We practiced singing carols and made cookies, delighting in reindeer and elf shaped cookies. We watched the same classic movies (“Miracle on 42nd Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”) as well as the same TV specials (“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Frosty the Snowman.”) Several days before Christmas we went on vacation and if we were lucky and if it had snowed, we made snow people and snow angels, and then when we were cold and tired we had hot chocolate at a friend’s house. The night before Christmas we made a plate of refreshments for Santa Claus and even remembered to put out carrots for Rudolph. And then. On Christmas morning we woke up laughing to discover what presents Santa had left us and to feast and play all day. Even today, Christmas still sparkles in memory and I am happiest when I have a chance to go home and celebrate with family and friends. Continue reading

seeing clearly

Yesterday, Marco taught “enlargement” at the P+V Art Sprouts program. The class itself had four components: a warm-up (taking pictures of each other jumping), a critique of last week’s photos, a treasure hunt for details that Marco had taken of objects around the P+V, and a lesson in enlarging images, including photos. Observing the class, I remembered how difficult it is to see clearly because we manipulate images–scale and intensity–in order to create responses in an audience. Sometimes, we’re going for “beauty,” but at other times we’re aiming for disgust and fear, lust and laughter. Confusion? Continue reading

寻找深圳真相/searching for the real shenzhen

Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Shenzhen Middle School Teacher Zhong about the current exhibition at Handshake 302. Here’s what she said:

Q: 让学生们参与《与未来握手》的初衷是什么?/ What did you hope to see happen when by having your students participate in “Handshake with the Future”?

A: 我认为城中村是城市发展中一个很特别的存在,希望学生能通过302项目,有一个走入城中村契机,对自己生活的城市有更进一步的了解和加深认识。/ I think that urban villages are a special aspect of urban development. I hoped that by way of this 302 project, students would have an opportunity to go into an urban village, becoming more aware of the city they live in and developing a deeper understanding about it. Continue reading

寻找前途/the road not taken

Recently, “Handshake with the Future” curator, Liu He talked with Xin’an Polytechnic professor He about the current exhibition at Handshake 302. Here’s what she said:

Q: 让学生们参与《与未来握手》的初衷是什么?/What did you hope to see happen when by having your students participate in “Handshake with the Future”? Continue reading