Two weeks in China.
Tianamen is overwhelming. Large open spaces and serious structures. Severe, austere. Hard to admire for it the beauty when you see so much history.
The markets were dense and ugly, and we walked a narrow street instead. Bikes being repaired, people going about their business, construction. Quiet spaces.
Tianjin by day presented as hazy and melancholic welcome after a long day. We arrived unimpressed. But the sky clears in the night, and by the river, the city comes to life with joy and light.
In the class there was an us and them vibe. COFA and TAFA. We spoke, took notes on each other, and started to see people as individuals, not as a group. We came together to work as a whole, and worked as much as we socialised.
Over drinks and cigarettes we discovered the people, we learned about each other, humans as parts of the city.
This was no tourist stop, no holiday. Every conversation, meal, and experience fed the work.
The white sky means the sun casts no shadow. We walked in the haze for days, dreaming in Chinese.
Somehow in it all we presented an exhibition. Responses to ideas, in conflict with the surroundings, some aiding the culture, some questioning.
In my work looked to understand and explore. I couldn’t draw any conclusions though. The exploration, rhetoric questions, and unanswered ideas, became the subject and the outcome. Complexity over simplicity.
Beijing took us in. We made it work for us. We went where the elite go to be seen, we drank and danced. Eventually we dragged ourselves back to Sydney.