Tuesday, May 8, 2012

That’s So R[i]ven // No really Beijing’s 798 Art Zone is like Riven in real life, minus the impossible puzzles

Hello from Beijing! First things first: The Gozamos video interview of me at the I CAN DO THAT closing reception is up. Watch me misuse the word “corkscrew” and talk with my hands / via hand flailing here.

All right. This. Place. Is. Unreal. I’d visited before as a teenager on a family vacation, hitting up all the requisite tourist attractions, and back then, Beijing felt like just another stop on a grand tour of the motherland. Or something. Coming here now, I didn’t expect to love it this much (no offense, Beijing), perhaps because my allegiances lie with Hong Kong, where I have family and have been visiting throughout my life. Well, I am absolutely enamored.

Feathery white seeds from hero trees drift through the hutongs, an unceasing summer snowfall. People walk arm in arm with one another—men with men, women with women—slowly, leisurely, almost deliberately. There is a general sense of lingering, and because of this, there is life on the streets, manifesting itself in an intense outdoor game of Chinese checkers or…

The art. The highlight is the 798 Art ZoneTake notes, Bushwick; 798 is an enormous industrial district of factories and warehouses converted into galleries, studios, and art spaces. (A friend told that me that he’d heard “they [nameless and faceless ‘they’] pour a lot of money into making it look run-down.” Sounds familiar [and reminds me of Williamsburg American Poorgeoisie / Fauxhemians with their grainy desaturated photo filters spending a fortune to dress like hobos]. But even if it’s true, I don’t care. I fell for the ruse and I fell in love.)

One could spend hours and hours wandering—it took me two days, and I still haven’t seen it all. Not even close. Photos of this art paradise here on Flickr and on Facebook.

More details in my next post.

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