© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Here I be in Beijing and what a rapidly changing mega-polis it is! This part of the world is not the best place to be when one is sick with the flu but I shall battle on. Last time I was here was in 2004 when the People’s Republic of China began waking up from a big slumber to rapidly present itself as a global player. Now this player is seriously getting into top form and might even change the rules of the global game. I eat dragon fruit and just watch what happens.
As I stroll about the neighborhood there seems to be always a reason to explode fireworks to celebrate some function or other. Originally designed to scare away evil demons with noise it now just scares away the few birds left in the city but it is a tradition and that dies very hard.
The excellent 24HR International Art residency studio located at Huantie Art City is huge and very workable space, somewhat away from the centre but it is a quiet zone teeming with art and artists in the nearby 798 Art sector. I am here to make art as well as exhibit some art with big thanks to Asialink. This project is supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts, WA and the Australia-China Council.
The scale of Beijing/China is so overwhelming that any topic you wish to talk about one must add a few extra zeros to the equation and hence the solution.
After spending time in Antarctica I understand large scale especially in a geographical manner but unlike the Icy continent China’s scale is really all about human population. Of course this massive amount of humanity has the potential to do many grand things and perhaps even well. What I see so far is just a frenzy, a mad rush to catch up to some nonsensical ravenous dream of owning two shiny cars, a big house and 4 tv sets plus the rest.
To pull a half a billion people out of peasantry and into middle class is one hell of a chore and it will sadly make a hell of a mess globally. A similar thing is happening in India and it looks like it is happening suddenly and recklessly. I am slightly shell shocked by it all.
There’s a lack of any long distance clear view as it is obscured by smog so dense that the sun is reduced to a slight fuzzy bronze-like smudge in a uniformly puce-grey colored sky. It seems that a messy rush into the future conceals any wise long-term views or planning. There is a very high aerosol optical density blanketing this land and the minds of many who inhabit it. (as can be found on many other lands as well) I do have hope that China and all other nations will wiggle out of the many problems facing us all on a global level as all I want is a nice clean view and a few dumplings each day whilst I am alive…. world peace could be excellent too.
As I wait for world peace I watch numerous young girls with fluffy animal ears attached to their heads promenade through the smog. Is this a desire to look like cute dolls or maybe they chase a notion of individuality? I am baffled but I did once consider wearing a large fake narwal tusk on my head after drinking far too much in Greenland.
On to Hong Kong for some art biz and to locate Carolina.