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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

dalang experimental school: manhole cover graffiti art

The Dalang Experimental School comprises elementary and middle schools for the children of migrant workers in Dalang New District. On June 8, they held a festival for their 30+ clubs, which range from art to karate and debate. The point, of course, is simple: at school in their uniforms painting, dancing, and helping each other, they look like every other young Shenzhener because they ARE just like the Shenzhen Middle School students we are working with at the Handshake for the Future exhibition. Well, except for access to high school, which is regulated through the upcoming High School Entrance exam (for a point by point on why in Shenzhen this exam is more important than the college entrance exam).

Two weekends ago, Handshake 302 collaborated with Dalang New District on the Graffiti Festival (the amazing stair mural at the Youth Dream Center). We also worked with the Experimental School to bring murals and graffiti into the schoolyard. Young Mr. Ye, a second generation Shenzhener via Gangxia, organized the event through the art club. Students started on designs early. For the festival, the club asked groups of students to submit a design proposal, 17 groups from both the elementary and middle schools made the cut.

Impressions of the festival, below, and yes, many, many pictures of kids being great:

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handshake with the future: shenzhen’s maker plus culture

The world has glommed on to Shenzhen’s Maker culture, but what is often left undetected is just how Maker Plus the city actually is. Yesterday afternoon at Handshake 302, we held the opening for projects by interior design students from the Guangdong Xin’an Polytechnic College. During the opening, the conversation about their work focused on bridging the distance between design and implementation. A key thought came from Lei Sheng, Handshake 302’s master craftsman (seriously, he can make anything): in an information age, information isn’t the most important element for creativity. Instead, the knowledge of making things with our hands–craftsmanship–is the key to a successful design career.

Continue reading