These past two days, Zhang Kaiqin led a Handshake 302 art workshop in the Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden. The workshop was organized quite simply: on the first morning we learned about the plants and then in the afternoon and next day we created site-specific art. The only rule was that we couldn’t bring anything (except tools) into the botanical garden. And that limitation led to visceral experience of how narrow the actual space for creative subjectivity is in modern spaces.
The city is man’s most consistent and on the whole, his most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task in making the city man has remade himself.
Lightscape focuses on the relationship between sensory experience and external structures within the city. Continue reading
Handshake 302’s last exploration of Baishizhou was a collaboration between Handshake 302 and Shenzhen Center for Design. I comprised two parts: a silent walk through the urban village to collect sounds and a workshop discussion. Zhang Kaiqin and I led the walk (see map), while resident artist Zhang Mengtai led the workshop.
Tomorrow afternoon, Handshake 302 collaborates with Future+ to explore the Baishizhou soundscapes. The workshop program begins with an hour-long tour to collect sounds and a 1.5 hour sound workshop with resident artist Zhang Mengtai. Meet-up at Baishizhou Metro Exit A.
It is one of the ironies of publicity that site and time-specific artworks are regularly transformed into texts. On Sunday, September 31, for example, resident artist Zhang Mengtai held an open house in Handshake 302. He built an amplifier that transmitted sounds he had collected in Baishizhou and then compiled into a soundscape. Abstracted from the noisy jumble of handshake allies and crowded streets, the honking cars and migrating dialects that Mengtai recorded seemed delicate, almost lyrical in their evocation of Baishizhou. We were entranced. But this text is not that experience. Continue reading
Sunday afternoon, 4:00 at Handshake 302:
To truly listen, we must first become quiet, creating a silence proper to ourselves. When quiet, you will hear the sounds of nature. At that moment, the sound flows, and nothing remains but a trace of memory. Silence is itself the opportunity to reflect on what it means to hear.
Listening is not just a question of hearing the music, but of listening to the natural voice, which includes static. Problems come; where does the static of life come from? Why does it appear? The unavoidable sounds of daily life constitute different experiences.
During this workshop we will share sound—its creation, its documentation, and what it means to listen. We invite each participant to quiet their minds and truly listen. The screaming child and your screaming mind: are these sounds the same or different? The rustling wind and a little girls giggle: do they play your heartstrings in the same way? Listen to the soundscapes of Baishizhou and hear your heart. Beat.
China Residencies interviewed Kaiqin and me about the ongoing residency at Handshake 302. Check out the interview and learn more about creative engagements with and in China.