A square mile in Shanghai

The Blog which follows is now presented chronologically as an archived blog narrative.

October 21st Chinatown, London

I spend an afternoon in Chinatown. I ask around for a map of Shanghai and a plug adaptor — UK to China — but no luck. Although in the bookshop I find a map of the whole land mass, a serious map of China. I photograph it in a stone plant container that may also [...]

The intercultural meeting in Bethnal Green, 27th Oct

The Shanghai artist Shaw (Zhifeng Xu) arrives in London. His square mile is in Leyton. We decide to meet and compare notes and maps, before I fly to Shanghai the following day. I chose the Bethnal Green cafe E. Pellici for a breakfast rendezvous before meeting my performance group at Wimbledon College of Art for [...]

The Square Mile in question

This whole area was farmland 30 years ago. Shanghai South Station is at the heart of it.

The world’s first circular station, as it happens, and designed by French achitects AREP

Its circularity cleverly planned to ease circulation and navigation, so the passenger won’t get lost. But why are so many doors locked [...]

Near the centre of the Square Mile

With the universal gesture of phone holding and the western model towering

The masterplan

I estimate there are 100,000 people living in my square mile. Xuhui Province, which this is a part of, has a population of 900,000. The toal population of the city is 17 million and growing. Then there are the people in transit, those just arriving at Shanghai South Bus Station or Shanghai South Railway Station, [...]

Working surfaces

Close to the Centre for Culture for the People

Yong joins the team as volunteer video documentarist

When two worlds intercept

I’m able to go to Beijing for a long weekend to see and take part in the ResCen / Beijing Dance Academy Dancing in a Shaking World final performances and conference. For this to be possible is great good fortune and a delight. But have I left something behind in the Square Mile?

Long Time No See

I learn from Clara (excellent translator for the day) that Chinglish is a serious discussion point in Shanghai, not so much a cause for embarrassment or criticism. I thought it might be a sensitive issue.

There is also Advanced Chinglish. Long Time No See has to be Very Advanced Chinglish as we don’t even recognise [...]

The disagreements of Prof Shen Ji and Ms Xiu

Somehow, gaining admittance to the administration building of The Botanic Gardens through persuasion and persistence, felt like a triumph. To actually be talking to Ms Xiu, casually dressed in embroidered jeans and trainers, felt like a small miracle. All phone advances had been rejected. I had some questions prepared. One of them was about the [...]

Suzhou River

Does the proximity of the clean Suzhou River to the M50 art community contain an underlying cultural message?

Suzhou River runs behind these buildings