shu and joe

Posts filed under ‘China’

“I found it at the end of the rainbow”

June 9, 2008

Our friend Miggie Cheng is having her first solo show at Kapok in Hong Kong.

“I found it at the end of the rainbow”

Original works are inspired from her 5 years of travels which include fashion pieces, installations, thoughts and poems as well as collaborating with close friends and family.

“There are thousands of reasons to leave home. To follow one’s dream, to celebrate a beginning or an end; to spend precious time with friends and family, or equally valued time with oneself.

This exhibition is a dedication to all those who have ever wondered or dared to seek personal fufillment at the end of the rainbow.”
Miggy Cheng

Opening reception Sunday June 15th at 3pm at Kapok G/F, 9 Dragon Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong.

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Bird’s Nest Good Times

May 29, 2008

My lovely cousin Ying is a student at Beijing Normal University and was chosen to be a volunteer for the upcoming games. Since we won’t be there in August, she was kind enough to give me a sneak preview of the interior of the Bird’s Nest during the Good Luck Beijing 2008 China Athletics Open. Below are photos she and her friends took during the competition.

Some comfortable-looking chairs in what appears to be the VIP section of the bleachers. As everything is “VIP” in China, it will be interesting to see how far they take things. Super VIP?

Interesting ceiling at the entrance.

My cousin, her friend and another view of the stadium, this time with less comfortable-looking seating.

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Planet Shanghai

May 28, 2008

Justin Guariglia’s new book, Planet Shanghai, follows the topological archive format that has become quite popular with attempts to address visual culture in Asia. He offers dozens of images of bike visors, nylon socks, outdoor pajamas, street vendors, food stalls, owners with their dogs, rubble and high rises. His eye for composition and uniform presentation pull it all together nicely. Lots of images at his site.

Justin Guariglia, from Planet Shanghai, 2008.

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We are thinking of you.

May 18, 2008

All photos from AP

When I spoke to my mom this afternoon, she was tearful and distressed by the earthquake in Sichuan and the thousands of innocent people who have died. Even though we don’t have family there, she believes “We are all Chinese and we feel their suffering as strongly as if they were related to us.” With an estimated 30,000 dead and more than 5 million homeless, this is a disaster of epic proportions. China has declared three days of mourning beginning tomorrow at 1428 (0628 GMT).

The ChinaSquare Galleryin NYC is having a fundraising event this Thursday, with proceeds going to The Red Cross.

There are also several Red Cross funds that have been set up.

There’s an interesting website called Fundable, that lets people set up funds for different causes.

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China’s Wild West

May 16, 2008

We make money not art points to a great photo essay by Paolo Woods about China’s increasing involvement in Africa. More than 500,000 Chinese have emigrated to Africa, leading the country’s effort to build the infrastructure of places like Angola, Nigeria and Congo.

Paolo Woods, Nigeria, Lagos, 2007

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Up the Yangtze

April 24, 2008

Up the Yangtze is a documentary made by Canadian-Chinese filmmaker Yung Chang about the effects of the Three Gorges Dam in China. Here’s a brief synopsis of the film:

The Three Gorges Dam, gargantuan and hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle, provides the epic and unsettling backdrop for Up the Yangtze, a dramatic and disquieting feature documentary on life inside the 21st century Chinese dream.

Stunningly photographed and beautifully composed, Up the Yangtze juxtaposes the poignant and sharply observed details of the main character’s story against the monumental and ominous forces at work all around her.

We’re looking forward to seeing it in Berlin. In the meantime, we can watch the trailer:

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Building China: Five Projects, Five Stories

February 26, 2008

Casey Mack and co. worked on the exhibition design for this show at the Center for Architecture. We had also met one of the curators, Wei Wei Shannon, in Beijing last year and thought we’d check out the exhibit. Here’s a short description from the CoA website:

Building China: Five Projects, Five Stories features five unique architectural case studies that were conceived, designed, and recently completed by Chinese architects. Located throughout China, many of these buildings, being exhibited in the U.S. for the first time, offer the public insight into China’s ever changing landscape. Through the stories of these five projects, themes emerge: Production of Contemporary Culture, Reinventing Urban Fabric, Making the Private Public, Reinterpreting Traditional Design Philosophy, and Hybrid Development Models. These case studies of contemporary architecture introduce critical voices from the People’s Republic of China, challenging the West’s stereotypical interpretation of China as a homogeneous society.

Two seemingly different reactions to the same thing from Joe and Lisa.

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Top Five Tips for Living in China

February 11, 2008

I was reading a list of do’s and don’t’s for Berlin written by the staff of the local magazine Ex-Berliner and thought I should do something similar with Beijing, having spent over two years living and working there. Not that it makes me an expert by any means, but think of this as a personal, highly biased list.

1. Always have business cards with you. Even if you don’t have a job, make sure you’ve got your contact information printed on a card as everyone will ask you for it. Having no cards and shrugging your shoulders awkwardly will be met with a puzzled look. Don’t forget to take and give business cards with both hands as if you’re giving a gift.

2. This took awhile to get used to, but there is no tipping whatsoever in China. Some of the more upscale restaurants will add in a gratuity for large groups, but everyone else just gets an hourly wage. I nearly got my hand slapped by a co-worker when I tried to leave a few extra kuai for a server at lunch.

3. Always bring an iPod or something to read if you’re getting into a cab in Beijing or Shanghai. Congested streets often prolong even the shortest of trips and Beijing cab drivers have a habit of listening to ear-splitting soap operas at all hours. However, if you’re interested in learning Chinese, you may want to listen to their soaps. You could develop an intense, true-to-life Beijing accent that way.

4. Learn Mandarin! Even a little! If you can make it past “ni hao” and “zai jian” (which every foreigner knows) to a slightly more varied vocabulary, you will change others’ perceptions about you, thereby gaining a modicum of respect. Most ex-pats I worked with had a much easier time even knowing a few words of Mandarin. Also, if you can’t speak at least try to improve your comprehension.

5. Always stay for tea. Maybe this is a more Southern cultural thing, but when we were visiting my uncle in Quanzhou, everyone would invite us over for tea. Try to make time for this as it’s considered disrespectful to decline an offer to hang out with someone in their home. Once you’ve had the tea, you’re free to come up with a thousand implausible reasons for why you need to leave.

(This one is extra, but necessary)

6. Don’t drink the water. Stay inside when the air is so gray you could stick a fork in it. The face masks only keep out a tiny bit of pollutants, so be advised they might not help you too much outside of a sandstorm.

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Xiamen. The City by the Sea.

February 6, 2008

Xiamen has a special place in my heart, even though I’ve never spent much time there. It’s where my father and grandfather went to college and it’s also the subject of a fair amount of my mother’s reminiscence of the past. She would recall sunny afternoons spent at the beach, a stick of haw candies in one hand and a paperback in the other. An island called Guliangse sat between the mainland and Taiwan, a glum vacation spot dotted with Portuguese mansions and pineapple tart vendors. The university shone brightest in this town, a place where foreigners came to teach continental philosophy, Latin and Greek. The seafood came in a distant second, crab and mollusks sharing cramped fish tanks with half-dead turtles and eels. What I saw was a modern-day variation of it all, complete with mobs of tourists and a restaurant so gigantic, the servers wore roller skates to get around. The scale of the city, like others in China, was exhausting and the nightlife as seamy as ever. Andre said he witnessed a fight one night that centered around the age-old, culturally neutral tradition of “protecting one’s woman.” We ate, we walked for miles and most importantly, we bowled.







Xiamen, Nightclub

Xiamen, Bowling

Xiamen, Bowling, Things to Do

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Re-TROS! Live!

January 29, 2008

We’d never actually seen Re-TROS (Re-establishing the Rights of Statues and Rebuilding the Rights of Statues) play live but we’d heard a lot about them from our friend Damon, who’s been extolling the band’s virtues for several months now. We finally had the chance the other night at one of Beijing’s most popular live venues, the Mao Livehouse. One of the more established indie bands in Beijing, the three-piece had the place packed with their biggest fans. They sounded great and we were pleased to hear a few Bauhaus covers towards the end!

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