Some shots in and around Guangzhou

Some pictures taken in and around Guangzhou. A number of them are from a hike I went on with a group to Liupiantian in the hills north of Baiyunshan. It’s a pocket of green to the north of the centre, but it feels like you’re leaving Guangzhou for a moment, things are messier, there are banana trees, people drive regular motorbikes rather than the electric ones they have to drive in town. We even went swimming in a lake (not pictured…).

Lunch
Martyr’s Park
Haiyin bridge
Yours truly, just to prove I’m really here.
That’s not Guangzhou, that’s just a tiny part of Guangzhou called Zhujiang New Town. I was told it’s not even 10 years old.
Dadiangchong
Dadiangchong
Dadiangchong
Dadiangchong
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’
Near Liupian ‘mountain’

About my project here

I’m in Guangzhou to make new work. The work I want to make here is a number of (scale models for) mobiles (like Alexander Calder made them), but then powered by a single motor at the top. By playing with, among others, the connections, the masses, the shapes, the motion of the motor, I can cause the mobile to move in a complex, never-repeating pattern. This kind of motion, repetitive but always different, in a certain sense ‘circular’, I find fascinating. The models I’m making here are larger versions, in different materials, of models I made before leaving.

While in China I’m allowing myself to be influenced by techniques, materials and objects that cross my path. I buy and find my parts, materials and tools here; I didn’t bring very much. At the moment I’m intrigued by the tingling sound of metal chopsticks striking each other and I want to work with ceramics, like that of rice bowls.

Also I’m working on an integrated motor unit with driver electronics, that I’ll be using to power the mobile and can program with whatever pattern I wish. I’m buying and fabricating all the components and parts locally. This motor unit is currently demanding most of my attention. Below are some pictures of a first prototype. Some parts were done by 3D printing at the studio of an amazing Dutch/Chinese design firm here in Guangzhou. I’m now having these parts made in aluminium and steel and look forward to the second prototype.

Assembling prototype 1
Assembling prototype 1
More or less what it would look like. This next to one of the smaller scale models from home.

Where I live

These are some pics of my house (well, my street) and my neighbourhood. I moved out of the gallery, where I was staying the first few weeks, and into ‘my own place’. It’s nice to have some distance between work and home.

The neighbourhood where the gallery is, and my apartment, is called Dongshankou. It’s one of the two old centers of Guangzhou; it’s a very nice area with lots of trees, old houses, historic sites (such as a house where Chairman Mao lived for a year, although none of my visitors have been particularly impressed by this fact as there seem to be many such places in China), coffee places and art galleries.

My street (front side)
My house
My street (side). At the very left is the entrance to my house.
My breakfast. Love my somewhat European bread and peanut butter. Not pictured but also purchased: cheese.
Street where ART23 is located; entrance is just on the left of image.
Near ART23; different kind of picturesque
ART23 entrance
The local bus stop / main square.
Local mini-park

Markets markets markets

More images from the first few weeks below. These are mainly focused on things you can buy. Guangzhou and nearby Shenzhen are commercial hubs, there is so much trade here it is dazzling. I spent a few days visiting wholesale markets where you find rows upon rows of shops selling similar items, from the mainstream to the obscure and extremely specialised, spanning sometimes entire under- and overground malls.

There’s a scene in ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ (Luc Besson, 2017, underrated) where they visit a VR shopping paradise that seems to me clearly based on one of these sprawling Chinese commercial megaplexes.

‘Fountain’. Readymade in the mall. GZ
Near Gongyuanqian station. GZ. A lot of electronics shops and wholesalers here.
The light guy. Near Gongyuanqian station, GZ. A lot of electronics shops and wholesalers here.
Near Gongyuanqian station. GZ. A lot of electronics shops and wholesalers here.
Near Gongyuanqian station. GZ. A lot of electronics shops and wholesalers here.
Look a giant cucumber. Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Between Gongyuanqian and Yide Lu station.
Near Yide Lu station. Here you find a whole bunch of toy wholesalers; also printers and printing supplies.
Near Yide Lu station. Here you find a whole bunch of toy wholesalers; also printers and printing supplies.
Near Gongyuanqian station. GZ. A lot of electronics shops and wholesalers here.
Near Yide Lu station. Here you find a whole bunch of toy wholesalers; also printers and printing supplies.
Near Yide Lu station. Here you find a whole bunch of toy wholesalers; also printers and printing supplies.
KFC. Near Yide Lu station. Here you find a whole bunch of toy wholesalers; also printers and printing supplies.
Shark cab. Near Beijing Lu. All of the cabs look like this, they just come in many different colours.
Hot pot at Haidilao, undoubtedly a happy place
Near Sun Yat Sen University station. Fashion wholesale district.
Near Sun Yat Sen University station. Fashion wholesale district.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. This place is gargantuan. This is just one of many buildings and streets that make up the fashion wholesale district. This part I think is called the ‘China Fabrics and Accessories Centre’, we found a computer display showing a directory; about 20 shops to a page times 729 pages. 14.580 shops in this complex alone.
Fashion wholesale market. Near Sun Yat Sen University station. No longer in the centre but in one of many side streets. No idea where we were.

First post from GZ

I’m on a residency at ART23, in Guangzhou, China, for three months. I’ve been at ART23 for two weeks, in China for three, and I’m already behind on my blog. I’ll try to make up with some image posts that will give some impressions of these first few weeks.

This one is pictures from the first week. I spent it acclimatising in a very recently built part of Guangzhou called Zhujiang New Town, something like Guangzhou’s (international) business district.