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Shekou at the Sea, Weaving New Memories
December 20 All day
Shekou at the Sea, Weaving New Memories
A place is not only a site, an area, or a region, as a location on a map, as a piece of information. A place also exists or vanishes in close connection with our body and mind. It is an anchor of memory.
Shekou is a place. Stories have been tied to this place. It was a vivid description of the natural landscape at first, a peninsula in southern China across the sea to Lau Fu Shan in Hong Kong. Once it was an unknown place tangled with wild hills, wild beaches, and remote fishing villages. It had the suffix of “Industrial Zone” later. Shekou was courageous to try reform, and it won many firsts: reform of distribution system, reform of land system, reform of personnel system, reform of housing, bidding system, the introduction of the first foreign capital, first supermarket for imported goods, etc. In as early as 1993, Shekou Industrial Zone had gathered 80 Chinese and foreign enterprises with total assets of 5.6 billion yuan. “Time is money, efficiency is life” is the pronoun of Shekou mode. It is also the life philosophy of the billion Chinese citizens in recent 40 years. Working to build wealth has become the focus of most people’s lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 puts a sudden blank for daily life. Staying at home, closed cultural venues, industry collapse, pay cut, unemployment, etc. People have to adjust the rhythm, more or less to reflect on their previous life.
After all, a crisis is a chance. As a new starting point, we can actively adjust the rhythm to a more relaxed, comfortable, and leisure rhythm. It is like the rhythm of the sea of Shekou.
Hill by the Sea
At the end of 2017, Shekou has become an international coastal quality living urban area. On the side of the classic statue of Nu Wa at the Sea World rose a white “hill”. Its hillside that facing the bay overlooks on the other side of the sea, with a wide water-front plaza. The three pavilions on the top of the hill hold three horizons towards the Nanshan Mountain, the Shenzhen Bay, and the skylines of Shekou. The name of this hill is the Sea World Culture and Arts Centre (SWCAC). Between the mountains and the sea, the rhythm of the sea and the architecture together compose a concerto without a prelude or an ending.
At the end of this year, with the warm sea breeze in the winter of Guangdong, this “hill”, which ranks among the top 100 greatest destinations in the world, will become the main venue of the first ART SHEKOU. It’s a green, international, intelligent, and artistic festival lasting for five weeks. It will unreservedly show the full interpretation of Shekou as an international cultural and humane community curated by China Merchants Cultural Industries at SWCAC’s 3rd birthday. The festival includes: Fashioned from Nature, a grand exhibition presenting dialogues between Eastern and Western fashion history; Good Life Festival which is composed of concerts, screenings, and creative markets; the fourth Go! Design Community Festival will further develop the idea of Design Community Creation; and Shekou Car Free Day, Script Reading Workshop, Night at the Museum, etc. More than 15 series of activities will aspire you to be on the seaside of Shekou, or to be on your way to it.
Community: the Bonding of People
SWCAC has never been just an architectural space, but a kind of blender and cohesion of energy. In 2015, when we were still preparing for the opening ceremony, we had already visited the communities and schools in Shekou. Design Society initiated the Go! Design Community Festival to encourage residents and designer groups to participate in community creation. At Shekou, design is a verb, not a professional term. Design does not only belong to the limited number of designers as a small group, but to everyone. It is the same persistent action in the past 40 years as transforming the wild mountain and bay into “the most inhabitable place for human beings” (Quote of Yuan Geng). It is an open, connected, and irresistible energy.
Community is an ancient concept that accompanied human civilization. And architecture can also be traced back to thousands of years ago. It is a kind of creative activity of human intervention, to transform nature and to of living space. Design has been a professional concept for only a few hundred years. But it is closely related to the present and future. The core of the fourth Go! Design Community Festival in 2020 is to connect these old and new concepts with artificial intelligence. Design Society Edu connects nearly 20 enterprises, colleges and communities, including HUAWEI CLOUD, the student branch of the Architectural Society of China, several communities in Shekou, CAFA School of Experimental Art, etc., to design an innovative combination of “enterprise + student + public + art”. Students use artificial intelligence and cloud technology combined with field research to dig out the local history and community problems of Shekou. It drives the residents to devote themselves into a three-week, one-stop series of activities: Fishermen’s Travel Agency (guided tour of Shekou coastline); Community Club (public art creation), Community Council (seminar), and Coastal Observation Club (exhibition).
Meanwhile, the third edition of Good Life Festival planned by Performing Arts Connections will return with high expectation. The seaside grassland down the hill will be transformed into a festival scene again: picnic concert, creative marketplace, fun barter for children to build their social skills. You can also bring your pets to join these activities. To run such a large-scale public event requires the team to hold a strong “design” ability. We observe the movement of the sun to plan where and when the market should place. We carefully sort out the market stallholders’ arrangement. We intentionally interspersed the baking, drinks, pet supplies, and handicrafts to make the market a place where everyone would like to stop, and chat, and meet new friends. We have carefully prepared beautiful pattern picnic mats for the audience. Adults and children can access the seaside lawn for free, sit or lie down, and enjoy the concert in front of the sea.
Partner: Share the Joy than Enjoy Alone
China Merchants Culture Industries has a very young team. Behind the names of Design Society, Performing Arts Connections, SWCAC, and Mountain View Theater is the same group of young people who are making efforts with enthusiasm day and night. It needs and desires more partners to “fight side by side”. There is an activity in 2020 Art Shekou that Shekou people are very familiar with – Shekou Car Free Day. In the past four years, car free day has changed from a simple “no driving day” to a new tradition of the Shekou community. It connects environmental protection, community development, and public participation. The sponsor of this activity, Shekou Community Foundation, was founded by Shekou residents. Its original intention is also ours: to create a most suitable community public space for the cultivation of civilization and culture. Since its establishment, the foundation has supported a number of public benefit projects. It cultivated diversified community organizations, volunteer teams, social enterprises, etc. It is committed to introduce mature public benefit concepts, organizations, and modes. It promotes the sustainable improvement of community public welfare ecology and promotes the continuous appreciation of social capital in Shekou.
China Merchants Culture Industries does not only have partners from public benefit organizations, communities, colleges, and enterprises in Shekou but also cooperates with top international museums and cultural institutions. During ART SHEKOU, Design Society will present the annual blockbuster exhibition Fashioned from Nature at SWCAC in collaboration with the V&A Museum and China National Silk Museum. We invited textile expert Edith Cheung Sai May to curate a new section, Fashioned from nature in China: Then and Now. Presenting nearly 400 garments and accessories from the third century BC to the present day, including precious objects from the V&A shown in China for the first time, it offers an unprecedented journey through Eastern and Western fashion history. The exhibition traces the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world and highlights the critical role of design in creating a more sustainable fashion industry. It aims to inspire fashion makers and share approaches to sustainable lifestyles with a wider public. HM British Ambassador to China, Caroline Wilson CMG named Fashioned from Nature “a new milestone in UK-China cultural exchanges”.
While bringing the world’s top arts to Shekou, we also support local artists. Shenzhen Fat Bird Theatre is a creative group of scholars, poets, musicians, dancers, dramatists, painters, and architects. It creates a multi-dimensional, multi-media, and diversified “drama” with the concept of “cross-border performance”. Yang Qian, the founder of Shenzhen Fat Bird Theatre, was invited to lead the team to attend ART SHEKOU. With 16 workshops and one showcase, residents are invited to study Jasmine War adapted from the classic work The Open Couple by world-renowned playwright Dario Fo, and The Bluebird, a classic fantasy play. Through line training and other performance methods, it provides a chance to realize the dream for those people who love drama but held up by other things.
Side-by-side, no more distance
Special memories are found nearby. The scenes unfold repeatedly in our memory were those once being nearby — a book, the face of a loved one, walls of our campus, windows of our house. SWCAC is intended to become a nearby place for you, even if you are not in Shekou.
Sometimes, distance is not only physical, but also psychological. As an institution for public culture, Design Society and Performing Arts Connections try to offer the same cultural care to different groups calling for special needs. In the 2020 ART SHEKOU, we will produce a small interactive theater play initiated by Little Comma Theater, to create the opportunity for children with learning difficulties, social deficits, and other disabilities to share and express themselves.
The internet enables us to overcome the restriction of space. As one of the country’s best recital hall in China, Mountain View Theater has planned 6 sessions of On Classics on Mountain View Online Salon for those who are unable to be here in person. In the year of the 250th since Beethoven’s birth, we invite our audiences to share a deeper understanding of the ideology of his time, and his attitudes towards life through the appreciation of the master’s trios, quartets, piano sonatas, violin sonatas, and leaders. Performing Arts Connection has invited classic music specialist Zhao Yimin, and the moderator of Classical Music Meow on Shenzhen Radio 971 Jin Jing as interpreters; and the DNA Trio, singer Bi Baoyi, Pianists Sheng Yuan and Kaori Kitamura, and violinist Huang Bing as demonstrators. Together they will provide you with an affecting experience of Beethoven’s music, without even stepping out of your room. Of course, in case you can, please be also welcome to the White Hill in person!
For more events, please review the following schedule and participation guides.
Art Shekou 2020
Guidance: Shenzhen Innovation & Creative Design Development Office
Host: China Merchants Shekou Holdings | China Merchants Cultural Industries
Exhibitions, Concerts, Carnival, Community Festival…
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