curate your own shenzhen walking tour with handshake 302!

Handshake 302 is starting a three-week program to train and encourage people to develop their own walking tours of Shenzhen. Thank you Partnerships for Community Development for your support.

Please join us in Guangzhou!

The conversation will be about beginnings, middles and endings; how do participatory art projects create a sense of time? And what’s that got to do with the history of Shenzhen and its speedy development? Inquiring minds want to know.


Last weekend (April 1-2), Handshake 302 set up a stand at the T-Street craft fair. We brought ten years of memories, including original bags that had been repurposed from the 2017 UABB Longhua (Dalang) venue installation “Story of Rice,” teeshirts from “Urban Flesh and Bones,” our series of walking tours, and “Mahjong Parlor,” or “exhibition in the palm of your hand.”

The stalls are lined up in the center of the pedestrian walks in the northern and southern sections of OCT Loft, allowing visitors to browse stalls, stop for a snack or settle into an alfresco coffee shop, where one can rest and watch the different people. Following the side roads a bit further into OCT brings visitors to interesting galleries like Feidi and Dade, or to Ecological Park where many art installations from previous sculpture biennales continue to entice new audiences. 

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302 pops up at OCT loft craft fair

So, this weekend we’ve brought “Mahjong Parlor” to the Overseas Chinese Town craft fair. Its our second 10th anniversary activity/ exhibition (in the palm of your hand). If you have time today or tomorrow, please stop by.

baishizhou blues

Demolishing an urban village, especially one as large as Baishizhou is a long and surreal process. Different sections of the village are at different stages of demolition, and while some buildings are still home to families and shops, others have already been replaced with temporary dormitories for construction workers because one of the main sections of the site is already going up. Impressions from yesterday’s walk:

handshake 302+friends

It’s the tenth anniversary of Handshake 302 and you’re invited to the party!!!!

The first event is “Mahjong Parlor.” We have designed a deck of cards–a handheld exhibition. Each suit is a curated introduction to a Handshake project. Hearts are images from the village residency; clubs are from the Biennale; diamonds are from “Singleton Lunch” and; spades are from “Art Sprouts,” which we ran at the P+V gallery (Longheu Girls’ School) in Dalang. “Mahjong Parlor” will be held every second and fourth Saturday afternoon at at Stone Stage in Luohu.

So how did we get here?

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end of an era? periodizing shenzhen urban villages

A few months ago, I published an essay that periodizes the development of urban villages in Shenzhen. It provides a more nuanced context of how we arrived at the public shaming of Shatou during the recent Covid outbreak. It also contextualizes Baishizhou as an important landmark in Shenzhen’s cultural geography, speculating on what the demolition of Baishizhou means and might mean for the city. Published in Made in China, Archaeologies of the Belt and Road Initiative.

the village hack residency

Long ago, when Handshake 302 was in Baishizhou and Baishizhou was the city’s most icon urban village, we ran a residency program. The first iteration of the residency was “Village Hack.” Several years ago, I reflected on the program and what it taught us about how Shenzheners were formed (paper can be downloaded, below).

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mappy thoughts about “yellow hill”

So, here’s a photograph that confused me for way too long. It pops up on Baidu, when I search “深圳老照片”. It was not immediately apparent to me, however, when and where this landscape existed. And then I stumbled upon a map of Futian Commune and it was like, wow, I get it. Here’s the map:

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urban flesh and bones is back!

April, May and June, Handshake 302 will be leading tours through the streets and history of Futian Street Office. If you’re in Shenzhen, subscribe to our we chat account to sign-up for a tour!