I read this article today on Newsweek's The Daily Beast that controversial artist Ai Weiwei wrote about his Beijing. I spent some time in Beijing in 2009 and had a tough time adjusting.
For the most part I felt very uneasy and I spent my time with expats who had the income to afford a westernized lifestyle. It's only now that I can appreciate my time there and understand what living in Beijing actually means for the Chinese people who have such a seemingly bleak future in a giant city that doesn't much care for individuality.
The City: Beijing
Ai Weiwei finds China’s capital is a prison where people go mad.
Beijing is two cities. One is of power and of money. People don’t care who their neighbors are; they don’t trust you. The other city is one of desperation. I see people on public buses, and I see their eyes, and I see they hold no hope. They can’t even imagine that they’ll be able to buy a house. They come from very poor villages where they’ve never seen electricity or toilet paper.
Every year millions come to Beijing to build its bridges, roads, and houses. Each year they build a Beijing equal to the size of the city in 1949. They are Beijing’s slaves. They squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises. They come to Beijing to give gifts—and the restaurants and karaoke parlors and saunas are very rich as a result.
Beijing tells foreigners that they can understand the city, that we have the same sort of buildings: the Bird’s Nest, the CCTV tower. Officials who wear a suit and tie like you say we are the same and we can do business. But they deny us basic rights. You will see migrants’ schools closed. You will see hospitals where they give patients stitches—and when they find the patients don’t have any money, they pull the stitches out. It’s a city of violence.
click to continue reading the original article..
I had fun making a little time-lapse video of the
installation process of PICNURBIA on August 9th, 2011
in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
From the Loose Affiliates website:
PICNURBIA. The Yellow Picnic Wave.
In the summer, Vancouverites leave their neighbourhoods and head to the beach, thereby inhabiting the edge of the city. PICNURBIA suggests an alternative to this exodus, creating an inland zone for people to gather and picnic in the heart of downtown.
At PICNURBIA, the summer act of picnicking is heightened by an über–picnic-blanket. This undulating landscape provides spaces for people to hang out and play in alternative formations, providing a new experience of urban picnicking.
PICNURBIA offers space for people to come together, relax and watch. Inserted into the urban downtown neighbourhood, a community where people already live, work and visit, the site is intended to become an easily inhabited summer zone, where people may gather to enjoy the long summer days. PICNURBIA is designed to offer an ‘on-the-block’ amenity where people can drop by on purpose or stumble upon more informally as they walk or bike home. This will establish PICNURBIA as a summer node, carried on mouth-to-mouth, “Let’s meet at PICNURBIA”
Picnurbia is realised in collaboration with Viva Vancouver and is supported by SYNLawn, suppliers of PICNURBIA's vibrant yellow turf.
Loose Affiliates | looseaffiliates.com
Viva Vancouver | vancouver.ca/viva
SYNLawn | synlawn.com/
music: This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) - The Talking Heads
filmed/edited by:krista jahnke
This one goes quite well with a green cigarette.
When Your Love is Safe - Active Child
I watched this short documentary made by Banksy.
It thoroughly entertained me.
I appreciate those who question authority.
Banksy's 'incomplete guide to total anarchy' provides a greatest hits of wayward behaviour, sedition and sabotage.
An hour-long special made by Banksy charting the history of behaving badly in public,
from anarchists and activists to attention seeking eccentrics.