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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

礼貌 and 文明, thoughts

The difference between 礼貌 and 文明 matters because I bumped into a group in the Shekou Sihai park. They were members of 格 (RGLove). the charitable fund of the Shenzhen based high-tech company, 荣格科技集团. RGLove had brought in people from all over the country to explore and develop their civilization levels through Confucian studies. The goal, of course, is to intervene in the world by expressing correct relationships, that of course included 礼 which maybe 礼貌, but I’m not for sure. Meanwhile, inquiring minds want to know: just what does all this mean? Continue reading

not just a china thing: thoughts on keep’um stupid governance and open access to academic publications

While in Beijing, I have been reading David Campbell’s Politics without Principle: Sovereignty, Ethics, and the Narratives of the Gulf War. I am grateful that Campbell has made a pdf of this important work available online not least because as an unaffiliated intellectual who happens to be based in Shenzhen, internet access structures my encounters to academic work. One would think that US institutions would be working to make more research available to more people, but alas this is not the case. University libraries and the virtual services they subscribe to continue to function as if they had limited paper copies of books and journals –with no lending privileges extended beyond their hedges. Continue reading

children’s baishizhou

As part of the Hanshake 302 program, Lora and Lihua have been running a theatre workshop at the Mingzhu culture station in Baishizhou. Workshop content has included games, narrative structure, and exploring Baishizhou. The children developed short pieces about their lives in a Baishizhou. A few observations:

1) Baishizhou (and other urban villages) are home to two generations of Shenzhen youth–the children of migrants and recent high school and college graduates who have migrated to the SEZ. The urbanized villages shelter Shenzhen’s future;

2) The young children have grown up in Baishizhou. They have improvised playgrounds and special places. Of note, they don’t actually know where Baishizhou’s boundaries are, and they have also figured out how to sneak into neighboring gated communities;

3) The children run relatively freely in Baishizhou. Unlike highly protected children in upscale communities, in Baishizhou the children mingle more widely and I am reminded of studies about US suburbs, where community friendships grew out of children’s play.

Today, we ran a dress rehearsal in Baishizhou. On Feb 23 at 2:30 pm we will bring Baishizhou children to perform at the Biennale Venue A. The performance will help us think through the question, what can we learn from the urban villages? Impressions of dress rehearsal, below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

crossroads: staged reading

So, yesterday afternoon we read “Crossroads” onstage at the Mizzou Jesse Wrench Memorial Auditorium. Despite snow days and ice and broken cars, the show went on and Fat Bird had a great time. “Crossroads” is an early play by Yang Qian that looks a the moral confusion and disfunction that have shaped and been shaped by Shenzhen boomtimes. Impressions, below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.