If there is any future possibility of bringing Nanling to Grizedale:

Along the way I've meet some possible candidates that could benefit tremendously from time in the UK chez Grizedale and equally bring some indispensable knowledge and skills to us...
Suggestions:

Chen Yan Ping, a feisty, super smart Chinese teacher without any arsey self-important arrogance. Can crochet and gujun at the same time, seems to have fingers in pies and learns fast. Can join Grizedale local Chinese orchestra.
You Ying Qi (aka Maggie)- English teacher- improve her English because the school needs it, poss translator. Can make Chinese knots and knows dried food process. Young and desperate to see outside of Five Fingers.
Zhang Wei Jun- peanut oil producer, extremely resourceful and open minded, a really nice bloke who would instill confidence in the others
Uncle Joe..... war wound cooking, would be in his element learning and imparting knowledge, English chips for Chinese chips 50-50
Li Gui E- know how on food production, run an (honesty?) stall with her crochet skills, gain confidence to spread round others on her return
Zhang Mao Guang- a must pack traditional artist- calligrapher plus ink and brush landscape artist. Can also carve wooden stamps. Holds true to his word, brainy and helpful.
Lay Tin Yan, farmer and tea planting addict, (non PG) tips for Grizedale and paddies?

.... Xinghai/Worker's Union/the farm/family restaurant?

Topics: [Profile people]

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Post written on Sunday 18 May but didn't get a chance to post it so here it is. Now in Hong Kong and Nanling seems another world and time with earthquake coverage extensive and consumer goods in abundance.

Update: I was told on Monday by Chen that following Saturday's event and seeing the crochet works on my stall, a Scandinavian business woman based in Guanzghou has placed an order with her for a crochet style necklace and branded goods for July. They will design items together with future visits from the buyer accompanied by a translator... Zhang was present when she told me and I think it made them realise that this outcome is a promising step signalling it can all really happen.

............................................................>>>>>

Wow, yesterday was the last day and it has been whipped away in a flurry of setting up, maypoling, being mobbed by kids and speaking to a myriad of locals about the bags and videos I showed and eating a fourth supper in the evening. The stalls were bustling at many points of the day and the event from the parade and pear crumble to booty shaking was a good way to see the culmination of everyone's projects pursued here.

I spent the last week in and out of different backdrops, speaking and hands on doing with both Li Gui E (dried foodstuffs) and Zhang Wei Jun (Peanut oil) as well as niece Maggie, the calligrapher Zheng and Chen- who also played the gujun beautifully during Alistair's speech (also Chinese attempted, er, beautifully).

It's been a pretty much seamless natural progression of ideas and finishing this stage of product with Li and Zhang. Both parties were really into taking on the task of trying to to see where my proposal might help and them see their products marketed and sold differently. Each meeting has seen them taking on their own initiative on prompt of my suggestions and family and friends have joined in the sewing, carving and designing of the packaging too in quite a resourceful way. It's not that family run business owners like Li and Zhang have not thought about how to sell more before but rather about knowing how, what and where to begin.

With Li, we now have some delightful, colourful, characterful alternatives to her non-descript transparent jars and food bags for her vast range of self processed organic dried foodstuffs, which range rom kumquats to musherooms and fish. A lot of interest was generated yesterday and it resulted in the sale of three of her custom crochet bags. An impressive feat for someone who was not linking the ideas of pick n mix of products and only stuck in making circular patterns. The teacher from Guangzhou also came along and was quite surprised. We sold three bags yesterday and this I could tell from her beaming smile that Li will hold true to carrying this on in someway. Vitamin's Sue arrived yesterday and I agree with her point about some sort of exchange with locals as a system too; outlets and further development is the next step. For peanut guy Zheng, packaging for both oil and husk extract (good fodder for pigs, humans and plant growth) has incited a lot of questions from especially the older locals. He even asked me more about how his family may take on ideas such as possibility to develop tours around their small factory to inform tourists, city folk etc a little about the production process. I am not a product developer but its been pretty amazing to get this thinking triggered and I know that here people talk to each other a lot.
The two documentary style videos I have created were also attentively watched yesterday by all ages, it charts the progress of both stories from beginning to end point. It must be said that my time spent here has been linguistic gymnastics since I've tried to get by without a translator, half understanding has been supplemented by Marceau actions, but we got there.
It's quite nice to see how both projects parallel in development stages, from initial hesitation to pride in family produce to how their own witness of customer responses and what might be possible.

So, we're about to set off for Guangzhou, I am going to hunt for bizarrities in the antiques shop and say a few farewells.Not leaving China quite so fast thought, looking forward to spending time with the rels in Hong Kong and who knows maybe I learnt a thing or two from microcosmic Nanling about my gran and why she still says to eat every grain of rice in the bowl. Onwards....

Topics: [jay produce]

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At the Worker's Union HQ last night, they were practicing hard for Saturday's big event. That's a few dance medals they won- they claim they're ready to take us on, you can hear the trepidation in Alistair's voice.

The Worker's Union was set up in 1958 and they meet now and then to play mah jong, dance and just hang out- not really any political intent these days. They told us that the one child policy is slightly more lenient for village folk (Five Fingers being a town) who may have a second child without any threat of penalisation. Jiaying tells me that this is for those who are registered by their parents as being born in a village at birth. This means some folk out in Guangzhou and other cities registered as villagers may have a second child without need for the snip or emptier pockets. The bust of Mao set a nice backdrop as the women showed interest in Alistair's fine Western stature and tale of his four sons- a Chinese wet dream for carrying on the lineage.

Topics: [Saturday 17th May event]

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Had fun last night discovering the pleasures of the local free gym with Harold, looks like a park facing the riverfront but much more fun with brightly colored rowing machines and back massages and even an ad hoc running machine.

Yesterday was a good day with brill progress from the dry food stall seller (Li Gui E) and characterful peanut oil guy (Gern) I have been working with. I have met with them several times, in terms of Li Gui together with her niece and neighbour we have been thinking up different designs and ways in which she can use her basic crochet skills to fashion her dried produce into a much more personalised, informative and attractive manner for tourists and also locals alike. We are considering the branding name of her product and have settled on Ling Nan Ling (the introversion of Nanling followed by her surname, ingenious- it's a starting point at least and also good to get her thinking about how to make her food produce less homogenous in comparison to the five other stalls that sit next to hers). Her more experienced neighbour friend (who might be up for performing the horizantle harp gujun on the 17th) I think it should go down a treat and would be great to have on the honesty stall back at Grizedale perhaps. We are thinking about different designs and also how they may cater for the different products and buyers. Already theirs a sparkle in her eyes- she says she intends to develop and try to pursue this, making use of the quiet times at the stall and thinking it will help make her produce special.

Li Gui E also has taken up the packaging task with lots of enthusiasm and careful consideration. I visited his factory stall before tea to find him sat with a plastic bottle half filled with cold water and a hairdryer, trying to fashion a peanut shape out of the bottle. He had clearly been thinking hard about the night of previous discussion with the caligrapher, Mao (who might be able to help us with our posters and banners) and Maggie, the English teacher. I prompted suggestions and also suggested we collect a variety of bottles, then took them on a hunt round the shop attached to his small factory on the look out for different materials that might initiate ideas and textures for a suitable bottle other than his usual non-descript white plastic fare which come in three sizes. We are thinking about a very initial stage protocol for a peanut oil bottle for Nanling of the future.... its great to see him so engaged and an injection of energy into looking at what he has been producing day in and out for over a decade.
At some point I will go along with Mao and find a stone to see if a stamp can be made...I knew the dried up river would come in handy.

Topics: [production]

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Mantlepiece
Mantlepiece

I am beginning to settle into Nanling and village way of life and time suddenly seems to be slipping away. The people are the real charm of this village and it’s impossible not to warm to the generosity and openness of the folk here.

I am meeting many locals who are helping me to get to know Nanling and how to best make use of myself here, getting amongst it you could say is a real pleasure. Their stories are making a clearing for this initially seemingly impenetrable diverse and disparate new town jigsaw. They will help me weave my video footage into a history that could sit in the larger scheme of destination museum in the future; for locals to connect with a certain identity of Nanling and for visitors to consume something of the heart of the locality other than largest waterfall. An interchange on both parts is necessary if tourism is to work here and Nanling is to begin to recognise moves needed to offer a little more than unvocalised aspirations. An updated powerpoint is necessary.

My mid term thinking is to develop relationships with a few people I think I may be able to work along side and introduce one villager to the other, today I brought a farmer and peanut oil worker together in discussion and they both took time to consider the ideas being raised. I am relating my thoughts about packaging and personalising their produce to add value and try to go beyond the level of pure need to thinking further about teaming with others skills and crafts that may help their sales (wish no 1; more money) and also impart quite literally themselves through the exterior ostentation/subtlety of product packaging for something quite other than plastic fantastic. Despite being devoid of any traditional craft in these parts due to pre-fab short history, I am beginning to see scope and connections possible between certain people and trades I am encountering. I also intend to follow a more personal path with one or two perhaps who could really help me and me them.

Long term I am testing the water with what I would consider as quite an all encompassing reciprocal chess move for someone who has never left the province for a parallel Grizedale on the other side of the world. What a chance that could offer! Soundings out are necessary in terms of pragmatics and cultural cold feet.

Yesterday I could not find my savant/'hello welcome!' dotty man but instead spent an afternoon with his neighbour- a 73 year old female ex-logger who following tangerines and tea proceeded to accompany me and introduce at slipper pace to five of her friends. One was a doubled over 86 year old who had a stalwart memory and fiery voice, showing me her leg which had suffered from an explosion in the 60’s during her past as a miner here(a lot of gesturing going on). She was unhappy with how she had not received any medical attention for a while despite her services and loyalty. After, she chaperoned me to the other half of the abode opposite (kitchen/lounge) where mah jong regulars appeared to chew the fat over daily meanderings. I then enjoyed some sticky rice Buddhist style with her pensioner friends who sat fixated watching a karaoke style Buddhist song on VCD. Between singing each word they tell me that there are seven of them in Nanling who are vegan and adhere to the way. I am looking at the central wall play of a Mao poster as the son of the near amputee explains how I am not to show footage of him showing me a red identity cover with a photo of his father who passed away recently after working may years in the steel industry. It’s not difficult to want to call everyone your family here despite their different jobs and physical corners of the village, it’s the way your embraced with open arms and you try and munch on the preserved dry fruit tucked into your hand.
Your rooted though quite quickly by co-ordination hieroglyphics of Scottish dancing practice on the grounds of the Orange hotel and a fond farewell to Adam as he faces his travels back to Blighty. I better get my body clock in sync soon though, it’s 3am and I am still getting used to late meals and a lots of irresistible food.

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Regulars
Regulars
Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Next generation
Next generation
Log river
Log river
Friends of the earth
Friends of the earth

It’s a national bank holiday today and the village market has come alive with the activity and bustle of chickens, natter to family from elderly folk with babies in arms and the clanging of woks.

It’s the busiest it’s been so far here, in this hotch-potch assemblage of farmland, dried up riverbed and ex-pat resort meets medieval China. The stunning national park and hydroelectric power station although not completely out of sight (odd tube up mountain slope may be spotted), they seem remote and distant. This hints at the dynamics of this supposed eco-tourist village destination. After quite an arduous journey from Hong Kong by bus via a short stay at the Home Inn, Guangzhou-the capital of industrial Guangdong capital- I have returned.

We still haven’t met the illustrious Mr Chen, the visionary behind the ‘eco’ development of Nanling- we’re awaiting a visit for his own words. In the meantime, we’re cobbling meetings with various corners of the village as best we can to try and understand the make-up here–from a farm owner, director of the plush Orange Hotel manager (at which we are staying), Forest Bureau Director, and soon a local school teacher and hopefully local savant, a man in his eighties who ran out of his tiled house to “hello, welcome!” me. I think he had been waiting fifty years to belt out his joyous practice of textbook English. Of course there was the international art programme two years ago that left the inhabitants and development company dubious of future hope of art practice and it’s positive impact through engagement with surroundings and people. I am not sure how much a pair of curtains and overly designed tree houses can really address the complexity of the issues rubix-cubed together here.

On simplistic terms, the village can be divided into two halves; the development company who are pushing for a tourism that benefits the villagers and village itself are on separate banks. I am sat currently on the east on a balcony with my wi-fi and guilt knowing that on the East there’s a lot of poverty tourism for which it would all be too easy to develop a Cannibal tour. Indeed it has been cringeworthy at times when the English lot have gasped at the chicken heads beady eye, or questioned toilet positions, I know them and yet am so far from fluent in language and manner that I feel all the more at odds, especially when local begins to converse and I am happy to know that my imaginative tones and tweaks of Cantonese can get me by in Mandarin. To be expected. Indeed, the canyon separating the haves and nots can all too easily lead us to dehumanise the Development agency as the puppeteer. The ‘selected’ restaurants-10 x the yuan of village eaterie- we have a regular scar faced chef superieur at about two quid a feast- and accommodation endorsed by them are outwardly and behaviourally apart. Few villagers come this way, shoulderbag is here not bag on stick, as well as literacy and computer skill- but speaking to hotel manager and forest bureau suggest a more altruistic loss of breadcrumb rather than any dark red motive which would be so much easier to jump to.

Supported by the area’s Development agency we are told that general hierarchy here is running order of agriculture, village and people; to stay in the village with a farmer would have been unfathomable. That might be why farming methods seem efficiently at a standstill but the drive to make this an eco-tourist site is proving tenuous… only 10 percent of income here is generated by tourism and 70% by the hydroelectric power stations nearby.

Also, how about linking what to see with the community here and perhaps a little tidying up. Accessibility, financing, tradition … everything interlinks and the component question suddenly spider webs into the vast span of the history, politics and sociology of China. So what do we apply and how do we translate community engaging practice into a useful, non-self assuming imposition of the better way without resorting to imbalanced social work from Brits with distant generational or genetic links that appear to have come in handy? (Bryan please stop humming that anthem since your implications are heavy, or maybe I should lighten up and get the stunt head on??) This is exemplified also by our head stretching discussions yesterday, at points I found myself at the stalemate… but they already invented that dynasties ago? Through this though we are starting to edge towards a longer term strategy for Nanling. The roll out of a cleaning project for the village is my line of thinking but there’s a long march ahead- for day three, English lessons is perhaps not such a useless way to begin afterall.

Last winter there was also a devastating snow storm which evidently demolished many of the trees protected in this area with natural deforestation, not the best tourist postcard. However, the journalists we met yesterday indicated interest in this area for that very reason. Yesterday I arranged to find out more about the forest manager’s role, and followed him and his three work colleagues up into the mountains. Vertigo and rapid ascendance and descent up hair-raisingly narrow steps and steep drops aside, it was conservation in action and heart warming to see surveillance and hands on care for the forest in action.

There are a lot of parallels to be drawn physiologically with the Lake District as well Grizedale's ambitions with Lower Parkamoors and Lawson Park. For now I am within untypical Chinese Nanling version and with the others am finding my way.

Topics: [Nanling Village Ecotourism Resort]

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Stuck in
Stuck in
Farewell
Farewell
On our way
On our way

Stack:
# A large, usually conical pile of straw or fodder arranged for outdoor storage.
# An orderly pile, especially one arranged in layers. See Synonyms at heap.
# Computer Science A section of memory and its associated registers used for temporary storage of information in which the item most recently stored is the first to be retrieved.
(Dictionary.com)

I am currently sat in a cafe in Liverpool called FACT eating up the wi-fi and there is a large amount of stacking going on. A plate on which my shared carrot cake sat has just been whisked away and piled on top of ten others, plus I've just filed away a word doc into a bulging folder detailing arrangements for a project out to California in June before leaving for China tomorrow.

All this data entry will hopefully be retained but moreover sifted through the fresh air I can't wait to breath out in the national reserve of Nanling... actually the book I was looking at last night (Co-evolution) seems to suggest that the air in China might not be so fresh... and perhaps also I should not have watched that Panorama program and its focus on the danger of jet fuel fumes escaping into passenger carriageways.

It's ok, I will purchase some anti-varicose tights to wrap around my head and I am sure that the stomach churning brew cholera vaccination I glugged back does more than what it says on the bottle.

I wonder how Nanling will reflect aspects of those sweeping stats of Co-evolution's pages into real experience on government policies about sanitation to transport..(e.g China's urban population growth by 2030 estimated at 70%)... anyhow, what is this co-evolution?

It's good to start stacking and arranging layers.

Here I will begin with an interview I have just conducted with Grizedale towards an article I am writing for A-N magazine (www.a-n.co.uk/) on a Scottish artist and project in Sri Lanka. This I intend to destack whilst I am out in Hong Kong but sharing of all this is hopefully useful to all.

Laptop world means you could be everywhere or nowhere...

Stackables:

Grizedale Pre-Nanling Questions
About Grizedale
JY : Grizedale describes itself as an international research and development agency, how does the organisation structure itself differently from a traditional organisation in providing opportunities for artists?

Grizedale: On several levels
Residencies are more like long term relationships and are more akin to commercial sector artists – gallery relationships, ie there is a stable of artists that is drawn from for different projects
Most projects are group or communal activities a sum of their parts rather than offering stand alone presentations. Artists within projects are often there to represent a position within the overall message
The programme is directed, the organisation has an agenda into which artists projects fit. There is considerable freedom for the artist but if the work doesn’t function within the programme and the artist doesn’t respond and work with the ambitions it is likely the period of residency will be short
65% of the turnover of the organisation goes into artists commissions, fees and production costs – in comparison to 5% or less for most gallery orientated organisations
The organisation works across a wide spectrum of activity from Agriculture to the web, on a very micro small community level to international projects and world themes
The organisation is dependent on networks for the dissemination of the programme, there is no gallery, the only public access space is the website. The website offers more access than most organisations give with public space ie blog, documentary and general openness of thinking and discussion
The organisations approach to the artist is in many ways a challenge, to work in this context, to engage with a diverse range of cultures, many outside of the confines of contemporary art style, to contribute usefully to the organisation, the communities engaged by the organisation

JY : Due to the democratic, process led nature of your projects that merges boundaries of customarily defined roles, to what extent does the term curator or director become defunct or take on a different meaning?
Grizedale: I think there is a challenge again to the artist to be relevant, to be creative, the organisation takes an active role in projects, often producing components of the programme, usually minor in terms of art product but often significant in terms or how the programme is articulated, the blogs and web material is subjective, critical, the organisation will often provoke artists by developing and delivering ideas, certainly contributing to the end product in significant ways.
I have never really understood a definition between curator, director or artist. All these roles are engaged with the organisation of material, and the presentation of it to generate some meaning/message/idea. There are often variable craft skills across these titles, and differences in terms of scale and types of material used – from people to ideas to paint
These terms are often misunderstood, in cliché terms the curator is someone that chooses material, the director someone that manages, the artist someone that creates, in reality we all do all these things probably for different reasons and maybe in different percentages. The curator director in the UK has traditionally had quite a passive role, I think drawing a blueprint from the commercial sector and the museum sector. Public sector curation should be a far more directed, political and cultural in its ambitions, a contributor to how society understand and develops. This is much more the model in Europe.

JY : What is the importance of fashioning a programme that actively engages with the complexities of the rural situation- what is this situation and how does the strategy tie into the local community? Please exemplify
Grizedale: Rural and local are merely a set of conditions like any other environment. I find them interesting, complex, rich and misunderstood. I think that in this micro format we have a valuable model for thinking and experimenting, understanding how culture works and evolves, how we find ways to work more usefully. There is in the rural a more direct relationship to the natural world and within small communities a different way of living as a community. Both these ‘differences’ could be considered as the building blocks of contemporary society and I believe give us clues into how we have changed and how we might more successfully live and work. However this is not to say that the rural offers a shinning example, far from it, possibly more of a dire warning.
In light of a general shift in the way we think about the world, the rural is coming in from the margins to the centre ground of contemporary debate, evident in new phenomena such as green thinking, slow food, environmentalism, technology opening up the remote etc.

About Happy Stacking
JY : Who are the different parties involved in setting up the project and in what way would you describe this as an artist-initiated project conducted in association with organizations?
Grizedale: The project was initiated by an invitation from Vitamin and Zhang Wei, from a link via Gavin Wade, then taken up and pushed forward by Grizedale and in particular Alistair Hudson. The potential for the project linked strongly with the Grizedale project 7 samurai and had many parallel themes and issues shared by the Lake district situation. I wouldn’t call the evolution of the programme particularly artist led, certainly the Grizedale working methodology is centred around discussion with artists but I think the programme is often pushed away from what many of the artist would actually like, i.e. gallery exhibitions, critical reviews, commercial product and connections to the market. The programme is a result of a number of forces, curator, artist, community, commissioner all working for slightly different goals but having enough in common for it to be a worthwhile endeavor
JY : Who are the artists and what skill sets or defining factors led to the selection of those specific artists?
Grizedale: On a very practical level artists that could communicate well, would be able to talk to people, listen, would get along as a group. In this project we did not look for particularly differing positions, more artists that we thought would link into aspect or possibilities we saw in the project. So architecture, community engagement, performance, political ideas, evolving identity, the web, constructed communities/utopias, cross cultural relationships. We were also interested in the group representing a vision of the diversity of contemporary UK, an idea about diversity and identity
JY : In what way do you intend Happy Stacking, a project in the rural setting of a remote eco tourist village in Nanling, to offer artists a real and meaningful context in which to place their practice? How does this draw a parallel with developments at Lawson Park and Parkamoor?
Grizedale: I think the context is real and meaningful whether it is a good place to place your practice is less certain. The previous project Vitamin evolved in Nanling and which they were unhappy with gave artists the run of the village culture and the opportunity to create work. What Vitamin were unhappy with was that the artists made work that though engaging with the village had at its core the ambition to be a product for the western commercial art world.
Grizedale is not really looking for artists to place their practice in these places but to react to and contribute to these places and communities. Most of the artists take something away that is transferable, does contribute to their practice and gives them a slightly different take than many of their peers. There is a certain tension in this approach and it doesn’t work for everyone however if you look at the Grizedale history the vast majority of the artists that have worked with us have continued to work and have in very many cases had a lot of success. There is a popular notion of artist development amongst arts organizations. I think Grizedale is one of the few that really has a record that proves that ambition. Big organizations like the Serpentine or Whitechapel do develop artists very successfully but inadvertently. Most of the prominent contemporary artists have worked as a technician in one of these institutions and have often made work as a reaction to them, they usually hate them.
JY : The seven will encounter new communities in a different global region. How do you intend this to promote connections between the artists and the contemporary realities in which they live if this is so far removed from their own culture?
Grizedale: At this stage this is a research led project. However from Grizedale point of view the divisions are not that great, a village is a village where ever it is, an agricultural lifestyle is pretty universal, the weather, the seasons, the rotation of crops informs how you live.
The group will to some extent decide how they integrate, if they do. In Japan the group lived as the village lived, working alongside and in the same cycle. The village responded by working alongside the group for the presentations and performances
JY : What input do you intend the artists into the framework, subject or direction of Happy Stacking? What role do you play in the facilitation of the project?
Grizedale: In Japan the ambition of the project was established prior to going and the premise was to ‘solve’ a problem that the village had identified. In this project we are not at that stage, the issues are more complicated and the relationships equally more complex. In this instance Grizedale felt the project should spend more time in research. However I do have a few thoughts about how things might progress and I will be ‘trying them out’ /using them to provoke debate and ideas development
JY : How do you think the ‘community’ may respond to our presence? In what way do you hope they will benefit?
Grizedale: Well there are several communities; the company has a significant presence, about 30 people living in the old red army part of the village. The village is mainly made up of old people and young children. There is another community of people that work in the cities and return to see their families and children.
The issue for the village is that the company want to make them part of the attraction, they think this will be fun, I think we might be there to help them make it so or find another way to become part of modern China. These are issues that we all have to deal with
Many of the issues for these communities are analogous with our own situations. I expect there to be mutual benefit, exchange, from very simple things like food to bigger more complex issues like migration, the shift from 3rd to 1st world, in a way embodied in the village, generational relationships, etc. I imagine that there will be a follow through from the project and that might include return visits, and other opportunities to work together. In Japan the artists and the village ran a farmers market to promote the village rice. In that instance both parties got what they wanted from the same event.
There is also implicit in this question the supposition of viewer and viewed, or an element of intrusion which is central to older models of both tourism and art. It would be good to look at moving on to more complex and evolved ways of making relationships with people.
JY : Taking into account Seven Samurai, were there any learning points which you can bring to this project before our journey to China? What were those failings and what social condoms can we use this time round?
Grizedale: Being polite and considerate, respectful and interested. Living the same life as the village, ie getting up at 5.30 eating at the same time etc. Simple stuff same as you would do if you were staying with someone. Learning a few words of Chinese, smoking heavily and giving them gifts. Doing something useful that makes sense for the village community, not making the kind of art that works in Europe in a gallery, using your art skills in a relevant way.
JY : How is funding facilitated?
Grizedale: ACE and British Council, Support from the development company and Vitamin
JY : How is Grizedale hoping to develop and grow from this project?
Grizedale: Much of this is mentioned above. We are interested in the conditions and how they relate to us and how artists work in small communities how that can benefit them. The development of a web presence, making the project process accessible and interesting (ongoing issue)
JY : In the context of the global cultural change the villagers are undergoing, how can artist’s understanding of technology be useful in helping in this process of change? E.g. the blog/non-physical production/ a more dialogical approach
Grizedale: It is uncertain at the moment how teched-up up the village are. They might teach us a thing or two. There is a lot of work going on around the value of the anecdote and knowledge resources which this taps into. In another way there is quite a bit of work to be done in persuading some folk that the web is more than just an art gallery brochure and is in fact a very useful tool. For us here in traditionally remote corners of the world, it opens things up so we can take part in a general cultural dialogue which was previously impossible.
JY : What possible involvement could this residency have with the triennial and how does Grizedale view Happy Stacking as a project within the context of ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’?
Grizedale: It would certainly be good to do something in relation to the triennial given its themes and the dynamics within the curatorial steering group. One version of post-colonial is not necessarily the same as the next, but it is clear that the emerging voices from previously non-urbanised zones play a key role in the debate which we must elaborate on over the coming weeks over the project. Sarat Maharaj certainly has some interesting views on this and he asked me to speak at the last triennial symposium on this so maybe we can draw him in to the discussion. Similarly Nicholas Bourriaud is revving up his next book (which undoubtedly will be avidly read by every art student like Relational Aesthetics was) on the Altermodern which links in tidily or at least tengentially to what is going on here.
JY : What is your understanding of the term ‘social entrepreneur” and does this term apply to this Nanling?
Grizedale: Maybe.

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Wow, so Nanling is almost here and I am experiencing mixed stirrings of emotions, expectations and general internal witterings one can only perhaps undergo armed with the knowledge that bananas are definitely multi-shaded and past monkeys if Alistair is Chinese and I am not.
Spag bol and Sefton park are about to be airplane fooded into dumplings and grass (without a fence?) and the Scouse accent (apart from the sound of my own) is about to become the song of Nanling dialect, Cantonese? I wonder if I can use my minimal understanding of my parent's soundings to possibly get by without raising my eyebrow at Jiayiang too many times/day?

So, I am thinking about starting to try and locate post colonialism when I get there and how I fear I might possibly malfunction in response to the cultural change taking place in this seeming idyll, of which we are about to become part. How I can with my hands and head help happiness and make friends because it's been a while since I knew China?

From here it's kind of a big deal - China is about to be removed from black and white stills through my parent’s eyes and memories of eating copious white steamed buns on a ferry from Hong Kong to Shanghai at age four. Things have changed as I bore witness when I visited Nanjing but that was a colourful smog swept ancient capital six years ago and now I am going to a resort that appears to me behind wavy lines, a village that is at once fabricated yet real. Perhaps I should not connect my visit to Ngong Ping Village in Hong Kong last year in the same thought trail.

I've been invited to write an article for A-N about artist's engagement with local communities focusing on a Scottish artist's Sri Lanka project, but I also think Nanling is a great place to begin. I am wondering what each of us will help to plant and who/what is about to enter our lives... If it’s ok with everyone, I may interview people during the course of the trip or refer to the blog towards the article.

Anyhow, impressed by Brian’s cup practice, I’ve decided to go back to skool …

http://keralanext.com/news/?id=1212505

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/mar/31/china.waste

See you all soon!

Topics: [Art] [Nanling Village Ecotourism Resort]

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