Found some chef's dream of cooking it English Style in the hotel bar. There was everything from margarine to custard powder and an obvious trip to Ikea. After weeks of noodles and boney fish, it was a weird pleasure to have toast and honey, a cup of tea, and bacon and scrambled eggs. I showed the hotel staff how to make it all and it was a funny strange thing to do in this really remote place. It was nice to try and find all the ingredients in the local shops and cook for everyone but I guess I would have been horrified to come here and find Full English on the menu.

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All the specimens a bit rancid, but still a joy to be in a museum
All the specimens a bit rancid, but still a joy to be in a museum

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park-a-moor, thinking space of the north in 2007
park-a-moor, thinking space of the north in 2007

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In Star Trek the new generation they had a policy of not interfering in any way in the planets they visited, thus maintaining an ethical stance. I hated the new generation start trek and it's polite approach, I remember waiting episodes for them to use their phasers, or Warf to reluctantly resort to a fist fight. This was entertainment and I didn't want a lesson in interventionist ethics from the script writers every week. I mean it obviously didn't work on the target audience's approach to foreign policy, except boosting an inflated sense of self righteousness.

This is real life not TV, but in a sense the star trek approach is kind of relevant. Is taking a photo or video of the farmers and taking it home to show/sell in a gallery an ethical thing to do? It is an intervention to some extent, and we have discussed it a little bit but not a lot. It feels kind of colonial, and exploitation is implied as we regularly term it 'farm porn', creating ultra seductive shots of terraced farmland and villagers in traditional hats.

Artists have a habit (fueled by an ultra discursive educational model) of reading into things too much and are also prone to the odd bought of self righteousness. To most people (including the farmers) this kind of soft exploitation matters not a jot, and pales into insignificance with the real injustices of the global economic sphere. Though you might have to reinvest your photo's sale profits to get yourself really off the hook.

In my own project paying the carpenter to make me a market stall is not on the same scale as setting up a ceramics factory and employing cheap labour whilst making a huge mark up at home. But in paradigmatic terms it is much the same thing, and art is often read as a metaphor for a wider meaning/philosophy. My action practically is very different in that it is on a personal level, one on one with the carpenter and we hang out and negotiate a rate ( i agree to his 100% price increases!), there is no sweat shop, and he uses only hand tools. If we ditch the do nothing just look approach of the 'Trekies' where your very presence is something you have to feel guilty about, we can get on and act in the world. My model is in-fact a paradigm of economic investment and the more work we give the carpenter the better for him and his family business. I say lets get a shipping container organised.

Instead of the traditional artist as philosophical voyeur I prefer the lets get our hands dirty approach which try's to create something such as a building that could have real effect, we can see what the complex web of implications are as it develops. I should know but secretly want to ask if this what is meant by being 'after post colonialism' ? If so, one other post-post-colonial intervention will be to buy a mouse trap and kill the little rodent living in our Pingfang house that nibbles my biscuits.

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Putting the naan in Nanling
Putting the naan in Nanling

Today Vincent, assistant curator at Vitamin, has arrived fresh from the 5hr train and bus journey from Guangzhou. He’s brought supplies for the market stall like books, bags, windmills, posters and CDs of Guandongese Hip Hop.

Immediately he is put to use as a translator, as Maria teaches the hotel staff how to make Chapattis, that bastion of happily stacked British cuisine.

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Haha, Adam remembers the story of butterflie ^_^
Have to apologize to Laura, I must have kept her wait for one hour this morning...Xinghai arranged a meeting with the head of school, so we went to talk about our whole plan related to the school, together with Alistair, Maria and Xinghai; Sometimes I hope I was the monkey King, who can have 3 heads and 6 arms...haha

And Maria, because I can't connect you for the time being, it would be great if you can read this blog in time because Xinghai told me that one of his friends would come tomorrow, hope you can give him the cooking stuff list to him this afternoon, so he can ask his friend to purchase and bring here then.
And looking forward to the breakfast cooked by you tomorrow morning, I would like to get up early to help~~

Vincent is coming soon, he can share some of my work for a short time, so happy~

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Animal Mask for Children's Parade
Animal Mask for Children's Parade

Apologies, I've not been keeping up with my blog entries. I'm developing the children's parade with a grade 5 class at the local school. The parade will represent different aspects of the community, animals, plants and people. Here's an image of some of the animal masks the kids are making.

Expect a new video blog, with footage from the latest dance lesson, tonight. I'm doing hip-hop moves (i use term very loosely) with some of the locals.

Harold xx

Topics: [Harold's Video Blog]

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A few maps with cute details
A few maps with cute details

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Dear Maria,
thanks for all the updates. it sounds like you all have become very busy there preparing for the festival, which sounds like a nice thing to do.I still can't really work out what you are doing there and what the village is like but I do get a sense of different stages as the project progresses, from arriving to thinking about work - and actually how quickly ideas develop when time and space are condensed. does it feel like you have landed a bit, it certainly seem that there is a lot going now. it sounded really good that you set up a workspace in the village and I like the sound of the map making project, do you have any pictures of it? nice pun that you are doing a guestroom. does is sometimes feel like being a creative business consultant though?
I was interested in what adam was saying in one of his entries that in general all plants are useful and hardly ever decorative - although arguably there is a usefulness to things having no use and being immeasurable - but it kind of illustrates a different understanding of organising social and productive space perhaps more concerned with maintaining equilibrium - in which all aspects feed back into the community or the understanding thereof.
in a translated, sense-making sort of way as I trying to relate things I read back to the context here (and I dont really feel qualified to comment on what is going on there as so much is to do with the interaction of people and places and in a way that being the point that you cant theorize things from a distance unless you reduced them down to ideas ) - it made me think about the appropriation of city space in things like guerilla gardening, a somewhat reversed image of the above in creating or integrating use and usefulness. I have been observing a particular spot in munich near where I grew up - it is an area next to a disused railroad track hidden from plain sight that has been developed into a fully productive vegetable garden by a group of anonymous women. I like it particularly because it isnt fashionable liftestyle gesture but a 'real' undertaking.
I like the idea of a collection or 'selection' drawn form different, disparate places (even perhaps inaccessible to one another) that has no physical home as such existing through simultaneity. so this is the direction i was thinking about when digging out these pictures...
hope your well,
Ruth

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Nanling Community is called "wuzhishan" by local people,which means "Five-finger-mountain".
Well there is a famous story about "wuzhishan" in Western Parade, one excellent classic novel in china; but Nanling Wuzhishan mustn't the mentioned Wuzhishan in tale...

Anyway here I tell you the whole story(maybe a little too long):

“Why has the Jade Emperor troubled you two sages to come here?” asked the Buddha.

“A monkey,” they reported, “who was born on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, has used his magic powers to unite all the monkeys and throw the world into confusion. The Jade Emperor sent down an edict of amnesty and appointed him Protector of the Horses, but this was not good enough for him, so he left Heaven again. When heavenly King Li and Prince Nezha were unsuccessful in their attempt to capture him the Jade Emperor sent down another amnesty with his appointment as a 'Great Sage Equaling Heaven'. At first this appointment was purely nominal, but later he was told to look after the Peach Orchard. But he stole the peaches and then went to the Jade Pool where he stole the delicacies and the liquor and wrecked the banquet. In his drunkenness he staggered into the Tushita Palace, stole Lord Lao Zi's pills of immortality, and left Heaven again. The Jade Emperor sent a hundred thousand heavenly troops, but they were still unable to subdue him. Then Guanyin recommended the True Lord Erlang and his sworn brothers to go after the monkey, and he used many a transformation until he was finally able to capture the monkey after the Lord Lao Zi hit him with his Diamond Jade. The monkey was then taken to the imperial presence, and the order for his execution was given. But although he was hacked at with sabres, chopped at with axes, burned with fire, and struck with thunder, none of this did him any damage; so Lord Lao Zi requested permission to take him away and refine him with fire. But when the cauldron was opened after forty-nine days he jumped out of the Eight Trigrams Furnace, routed the heavenly troops, and went straight to the Hall of Universal Brightness in front of the Hall of Miraculous Mist. Here he has been stopped and engaged in fierce combat by the Kingly Spirit Officer, the lieutenant of the Helpful Sage and True Lord Erlang, thunder generals have been sent there to encircle him; but no one has been able to get close to him. In this crisis the Jade Emperor makes a special appeal to you, the Tathagata, to save his throne.”

On hearing this the Tathagata said to the assembled Bodhisattvas, “You stay here quietly in this dharma hall and behave yourselves in your seats of meditation while I go to deal with the demon and save the throne.”

Telling the Venerable Ananda and the Venerable Kasyapa to accompany him, the Tathagata left the Thunder Monastery and went straight to the gate of the Hall of Miraculous Mist, where his ears were shaken by the sound of shouting as the thirty-six thunder generals surrounded the Great Sage. The Buddha issued a decree that ran: “Tell the thunder generals to stop fighting, open up their camp, and call on that Great Sage to come out, so that I may ask him what divine powers he has.”

The generals then withdrew, whereupon the Great Sage put away his magic appearance and came forward in his own body. He was in a raging temper as he asked, “Where are you from? You are a good man. You've got nerve, stopping the fighting and questioning me!”

“I am the Venerable Sakyamuni from the Western Land of Perfect Bliss,” replied the Buddha with a smile. “I have heard of your wild and boorish behavior, and of your repeated rebellions against Heaven, and I would like to know where you were born, when you found the Way, and why you have been so ferocious.”

“I am,” the Great Sage said,

“A miracle-working Immortal born of Heaven and Earth,

An old ape from the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit.

My home is in the Water Curtain Cave,

I sought friends and teachers, and became aware of the Great Mystery.

“I have practiced many a method for obtaining eternal life,

Infinite are the transformations I have learned.

That is why I found the mortal world too cramped,

And decided to live in the Jade Heaven.

“None can reign forever in the Hall of Miraculous Mist;

Kings throughout history have had to pass on their power.

The strong should be honoured—he should give way to me:

This is the only reason I wage my heroic fight.”

The Buddha laughed mockingly.

“You wretch! You are only a monkey spirit and you have the effrontery to want to grab the throne of the Jade Emperor. He has trained himself since childhood, and suffered hardship for one thousand, seven hundred and fifty kalpas. Each kalpa is 129,600 years, so you can work out for yourself how long it has taken him to be able to enjoy this great and infinite Way. But you are a beast who has only just become a man for the first time. How dare you talk so big? You're not human, not even human! I'll shorten your life-span. Accept my teaching at once and stop talking such nonsense! Otherwise you'll be in for trouble and your life will very shortly be over; and that will be so much the worse for your original form too.”

“Although he has trained himself for a long time, ever since he was a child, he still has no right to occupy this place for ever,” the Great Sage said. “As the saying goes, 'Emperors are made by turn; next year it may be me.' If he can be persuaded to move out and make Heaven over to me, that'll be fine. But if he doesn't abdicate in my favour I'll most certainly make things hot for him, and he'll never know peace and quiet again.”

“What have you got, besides immortality and the ability to transform yourself, that gives you the nerve to try to seize the Heavenly Palace?” the Buddha asked.

“I can do many tricks indeed,” the Great Sage replied. “I can perform seventy-two transformations, and I can preserve my youth for ten thousand kalpas. I can ride a somersault cloud that takes me thirty-six thousand miles at a single jump. So why shouldn't I sit on the throne of Heaven?”

“I'll have a wager with you then,” said the Buddha. “If you're clever enough to get out of my right hand with a single somersault, you will be the winner, and there will be no more need for weapons or fighting: I shall invite the Jade Emperor to come and live in the West and abdicate the Heavenly Palace to you. But if you can't get out of the palm of my hand you will have to go down to the world below as a devil and train yourself for several more kalpas before coming to argue about it again.”

When he heard this offer the Great Sage smiled to himself and thought, “This Buddha is a complete idiot. I can cover thirty-six thousand miles with a somersault, so how could I fail to jump out of the palm of his hand, which is less than a foot across?”

With this in his mind he asked eagerly, “Do you guarantee that yourself?”

“Yes, yes,” the Buddha replied, and he stretched out his right hand, which seemed to be about the size of a lotus leaf. Putting away his As-You-Will cudgel, the Great Sage summoned up all his divine powers, jumped into the palm of the Buddha's hand, and said, “I'm off.” Watch him as he goes like a streak of light and disappears completely. The Buddha, who was watching him with his wise eyes, saw the Monkey King whirling forward like a windmill and not stopping until he saw five flesh-pink pillars topped by dark vapours.

“This is the end of the road,” he said, “so now I'll go back. The Buddha will be witness, and the Hall of Miraculous Mist will be mine.” Then he thought again, “Wait a moment. I'll leave my mark here to prove my case when I talk to the Buddha.” He pulled out a hair, breathed on it with his magic breath, and shouted “Change.” It turned into a writing brush dipped in ink, and with it he wrote THE GREAT SAGE EQUALING HEAVEN WAS HERE in big letters on the middle pillar. When that was done he put the hair back on, and, not standing on his dignity, made a pool of monkey piss at the foot of the pillar. Then he turned his somersault round and went back to where he had started from.

“I went, and now I'm back. Tell the Jade Emperor to hand the Heavenly Palace over to me,” he said, standing in the Buddha's palm.

“I've got you, you piss-spirit of a monkey,” roared the Buddha at him. “You never left the palm of my hand.”

“You're wrong there,” the Great Sage replied. “I went to the farthest point of Heaven, where I saw five flesh-pink pillars topped by dark vapours. I left my mark there: do you dare come and see it with me?”

“There's no need to go. Just look down.” The Great Sage looked down with his fire eyes with golden pupils to see the words “The Great Sage Equaling Heaven Was Here” written on the middle finger of the Buddha's right hand. The stink of monkey-piss rose from the fold at the bottom of the finger.

“What a thing to happen,” exclaimed the Great Sage in astonishment. “I wrote this on one of the pillars supporting the sky, so how can it be on his finger now? He must have used divination to know what I was going to do. I don't believe it. I refuse to believe it! I'll go there and come back again.”

The dear Great Sage hurriedly braced himself to jump, but the Buddha turned his hand over and pushed the Monkey King out through the Western Gate of Heaven. He turned his five fingers into a mountain chain belonging to the elements Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth, renamed them the Five Elements Mountain, and gently held him down.

All the thunder gods and the disciples Ananda and Kasyapa put their hands together to praise the Buddha: “Wonderful, wonderful,
An egg learned to be a man,
Cultivated his conduct, and achieved the Way.
Heaven had been undisturbed for the thousand kalpas,
Until one day the spirits and gods were scattered.

The rebel against Heaven, wanting high position,
Insulted Immortals, stole the pills, and destroyed morality.
Today his terrible sins are being punished,
Who knows when he will be able to rise again?”

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