from bamboo curtain to the silicon valley of hardware

For the 2019 edition of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB), Handshake 302 installed Electronic Lifestyles at the Futian Station Main Venue. To situate the installation with respect to Shenzhen’s cultural geography, I wrote From Bamboo Curtain to the Silicon Valley of Hardware, which was published at as part of e-flux architecture‘s Software as Infrastructure project.

From the essay:

Located on the “bamboo curtain” at the Sino-British border, Shenzhen’s spatial liminality facilitated national political and economic restructuring, which ultimately had international effects. In the ordinary order of things, liminal spaces have recognizable thresholds and boundaries; one crosses from one side to the next. Most liminal spaces are located at the edges of mainstream society. In contrast, the geopolitical logic of Shenzhen has been to place liminal spaces at the center of society, making perpetual transformation—of the self, the nation, and the world—a key feature of the model. The transformation of Luohu-Shangbu from a riparian society into the earliest iteration of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) can give a sense of how liminality was deployed to as metaphor and strategy. Today, the Luohu area is known as Dongmen, a bustling cross-border shopping district, and Shangbu is known as Huaqiangbei, the world’s “Silicon Valley of Hardware.”

Curious? Please give it a read.

SZ8X80104//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: Emplacements

When I first came to Shenzhen in 1995, the idea was to find a group of people who were willing to be interviewed, fill spiral notebooks with handwritten notes, and return to Rice to write-up said notes in 1996, or at the very latest, 1997 and then writing my way into an academic position. That didn’t happen. Instead, I stayed in Shenzhen until 1998, finished the dissertation in 1999, held a post-doc for one year, and then began the transition from trying to secure a tenure-track offer at a US university to figuring out what an American ex-pat might do in Shenzhen, which was itself transitioning from being a manufacturing hub into an innovation city.  Continue reading

the migrations catalogue is out…

… download here.

migrations: home and elsewhere

Check out what happens when Handshake 302 curates an exhibition that brings community together through history and art. A brief introduction to the “Migrations: Home and Elsewhere” exhibition that was up at the Longheu P+V Gallery from Dec. 22, 2017 through Feb. 4, 2018. More videos on our FB page; written documentation of our practice here.

Why is Shenzhen not taken?: A preliminary report from an uncertain field

Jonathan BACH opened our three-day workshop “Informal Plans, Planned Informality: Shenzhen as Model and Field” with the observation that our goal is not to map the borders between the proper city and its others, but rather to track the (slightly inflammatory, a bit delirious) algorithms that constantly produce those borders, which in turn keep re-producing the city. What does it mean, we ask, to document uncertainty?

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Continue reading

there is a continent in the sky

Yesterday evening, December 29, 2017, I had the pleasure of listening to Agency (Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller) speak on the results of their Shenzhen residency. They walked accessible edges to produce drawings and embroidery patterns of data, the embroidery algorithms derived from the difference between reported and their on-the-ground measurements of air particulates. The talk was inspiring, not least for “Roller Blade Boy” who skated circles around us, pausing only to check out the data. Continue reading

migrations is open!

The Migrations exhibition opened beneath bright sun and clear skies, bringing together people from Longhua and Dalang, as well as graduate students from Shenzhen University and Langkou aunties. The opening ceremony celebrated the central idea of the 7th edition of the Biennale “Cities grow in difference,” taking advantage of the contrasts between the restored P+V, its surrounding urban village, and the clean design of INFUTURE. These contrasts created a particularly postmodern aesthetic that celebrated three generations of migrants—Hakkas who came to the area 300 years ago, missionaries who arrived 150 years ago, and the Shenzheners who have been path breaking Shenzhen since 1980. Indeed, the these differences are the nutrients that have made Shenzhen’s unique migrant culture. Continue reading

it’s happening at the P+V!

 

This past six months the Migrations curatorial team has been busy creating an exciting exhibition and now we’re ready to share the fruit of our labor with our neighbors in Langkou Village and our friends throughout Shenzhen. We are proud to present five new artworks especially commissioned for this exhibit and thrilled to introduce the repatriated objects of Switzerland’s “Chinese children.”

On Friday, December 22, 2017 at 10:00 we will hold our opening ceremony. Come for a fresh take on history, stay for the sweet rice balls of the winter solstice, and learn about our multifaceted public program!

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“stories of rice” update

because the kids are just that cute! These pictures are from Nov 11 and Dec 3, if you have time, join us Sunday, Dec 10 and 17 for more afternoon fun at the P+V Migrations exhibition.

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Public Programs for Migrations

The activities organized for the Migrations exhibition aim to create knowledge about Shenzhen’s history and to catalyze reflection on how departure and arrival shape human lives. On the face of it, these are broad topics, more suitable for a classroom or seminar than a small gallery in a remote urban village. However, overcoming the distance between “downtown” and “the outer districts” is one of the central ideas of this edition of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB), just as bringing “art” and “ordinary lives” closer together has been an ongoing ideal of Handshake 302. Continue reading