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Posts tagged ‘奥运会 olympics’

The Games 2008 series is continuing. The Paralympics are still coming, even if the feeling of event spectacle is over. Of course we can admit obvious issues regarding the status of the handicapped, but is it also reasonable to say that we simply cannot sustain the prolonged excitement of this culmination of seven years of anticipation? What happens to our sense of time now, in this period between the Olympic games and the straddled Paralympics? The stadium stays closed to the public. Incoming and outgoing post is on intense inspection and delay. Yet we already reminisce on buses and subway cars as we watch constant replays of the Games and its opening/closing ceremonies. All major western media had already pre-prepared the requisite article for print the day after the closing ceremonies—-tag phrases including “Olympic Reflections“, “Where to go post-Olympics“, “The Day After Verdict” (yes, we are being tried here) and “Afterglow of Games, what’s Next for China?”  There is an intensely compressed sense of time to be noted here—-one that is self-conscious and thrusting outward with pointed fingers—-that is the more precise point in question about the current state of affairs.

I am still trying to catch up, two weeks behind updating the latest news, what should be a daily log of hutong life during the Beijing Olympics. Circling through and around wide-eyed impressions and an attempted absorption of the 16-day countdown, anxious about making sure the next days were organised, layering and folding the blog posts and the nows with the question of “what happens next?” The New York Times asks and Baudrillard, too, as in the joke of the man who leans quietly out of the group in the midst of a wild orgy: “So what do we do after the orgy?” Well, isn’t it exactly that which we’ve forgotten, perhaps necessarily so, that part about getting on with our everyday lives? Those of us living in Beijing at this moment know that this period is by no means “daily life”. Or is it? This was a mega world event, certain to be extrapolated out from the context of a larger global politics. But under the magnifying glass of this attempted map, what is the ergon, the “being-in-operative” that points to the simultaneous inoperability and “pure potentiality” that we have as everyday citizens or human beings (for these are not the same)? [1] What has simultaneity done to our senses of space in this map of Beijing? It is this “being-in-operative” that renders the map ridiculous and clunky, for we were merely attempting to go with the flow, Olympics/politics aside. But actually, because politics and our subjectification as citizens can never be merely aside, can we affect-ively trace a new map therein?


[1] Giorgio Agamben references here Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics:

For just as the goodness and performance of a flute player, a sculptor, [Olympic athlete] or any kind of expert, and generally of anyone who fulfills some function or performs some action, are thought to reside in his proper function [ergon], so the goodness and performance of man would seem to reside in whatever is his proper function. Is it then possible that while a carpenter and a shoemaker have their own proper function and spheres of action, man as man has none, but was left by nature a good-for-nothing without a function [argōs]?

Giorgio Agamben. “In this Exile (Italian Diary 1992-94)”. from Means Without End: Notes on Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 2000. pp. 140-141.

Response to original version, after Mark Wallinger‘s Threshold to the Kingdom. Filmed at Beijing Capital Airport, 4 August 2008. Shown as part of HomeShop’s party for the losers, 16 August 2008 (9天).

HomeShop invites Beijing’s Critical Reading Group to discuss two readings: Doina Petrescu’s “The Indeterminate Mapping of the Common” [download PDF here] and a selection from The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere by Jürgen Habermas. The Habermas chapter, entitled “The Polarization of the Social Sphere and the Intimate Sphere” [download PDF here], didn’t make it to the discussion for reasons of dryness and tardiness, but in about three hours, the group manages to make it through the difficulties of defining a trace, Shaanxi Mo King buns, mapping China, a bit of beer & sake and a curious visit from the local police.

the notes below are simple tags to help you find your way —- the meeting in full is recorded below; skim through and hopefully find something interesting for you, or try playing them all at once and listen to the signal-to-noise ratio…

contradicting, controversy of social mapping, a solipsistic position, Deligny, “the marker of a hidden ontological data”, do they share that relationship with the people imbuing meaning into their normative behaviours?, common to him, loss when you bring in language, discursive things…

GPS versus tracing, locative mapping versus tracing as invocation of essence, tracing has no purpose as such, tracing as the “way of doing it”, intention, Situationist, surprising within everyday life, not about finding something extraordinary, mental maps, how people live space, a minefield of gestures, a social mapping entanglement, ontological presence that you can’t really touch, anthropomorphism, common ground, tracing as creative process, anthropological process, fraught with danger, Sichuan, daily subjectivities within a larger urban plan, practical application, their locomotion, more aesthetic than logical, magnetic waves…

as little disturbance as possible, bad theory joke, angie – california, berkley, arts, bea – swiss, phd, geography, anthropology, urban planning, sean – toronto, phd, critical sports theory, olympics, collin – colorado, caijing, not where my interests are exactly, julia – contemporary art history, southern california, chinese, three shadows, elainetexas, artist, freelancing, hence this, chris – artist, brooklyn, shanghai, theory, hanora – consulting, also not my main area of interest, matthew – long walks on the beach, capricorn, photographer, film, documentary, we’ve been on and off for awhile…

Deligny, aqueducts, Berkley cognitive science professor, Himalayan graphic image of ball rolling forward, Buddhist monks, physical difference in brains, gravitational differences, dirty your floor, katie – come with duck and things, awkward being in the middle, other vegetables, open the sake, have at it, that’s all i’ve got, i like your haircut, rain, panic, panic, anyway…

THE OTHER | 10′ 12
theories of gravity, Tibetan monks, post-structuralist utilization of the Other, all this other without a kind of an object, autistic kids and Tibetan guys, rationalist flaw, let’s find an Other, ben stiller, line of crisis of modernity, our cities are poorest, flexible spaces, borders keep moving, the softness of cities has come to the fore, meditating, Edward Said’s “Orientalism“, hegemonic white male, Benedict Anderson‘s flaw, concrete Marxist ideals, is it a flaw or a mechanism to understand, language inherently leads to Otherness, polarizing nouns, Deligny breaking down polarization, everyday dispositions, a bridge, tracing that evokes a common space of understanding, describing, the limitations of the cartographic model, alternative models, trace as action, intense attention to something else without explaining, “a seeing that is not related to thinking, a gaze which does not reflect”, shooting for something passive, describe something in its own terms, ton of criticism, not completely there…

weakness of this article, juxtaposition, boundaries not clear, GPS locative mapping versus non-intentive walking, leaving realm for possibility in the act of doing, subjective process, walking as beginning of architecture, gesture as beginning of utterance, speech, writing, tracing as embodied communication, trace to map is shift of sensory focus to intense bias of visual, corporeality, knowing oneself in the world, trace as remnant, left behind, pinpointing, everyone in this room is constantly tracing, tracing as production of space, GPS is inherent map, imposing trails upon places already there, walking through this room, remainders, plotted footprints, embodied act becomes a leftover, mapping as judgmental or critical, tracing ontological, mapping and language, deterministic, mapping as reflexive practice, mapping: scopophilic, hegemonic, totalizing, problematic, tracing: nice, soft, centering closer to the abstract, foucault, approaching the liminal?, the approximation of a definition, never access through language, Deleuze & Guattari, affect before thought, codify affect to thought and thought to language, tracing as affective, embodied experience, codified in language, another way of saying mapping…

different activities or events, subversions or interventions, my own meanings of the city at this time, documentation without intent, no ideal visualization, what’s going on in this city, Deligny inserting himself, what’s the trace for you here?, opening ceremonies, clique-ing inside, screen as boundary that is crossed, separation of the social networks made possible by this event, blurring of public and private space in Chinese society, attempt to trace or document, Olympics as grid, imposition upon city and people affecting everyday life level, Petrescu’s common space, lack of ability to describe the ontological, an active process, resting on vagueness, syntax, argument on links, tracing or mapping out of ethnographies, about the author themselves over their subject of ethnography, what body position is supposed to be, starting with a conclusion, motive or desire to embark upon a project, “another history of architecture —- one which is not that of settlements, cities and buildings made of stones but of movements, displacements and flows….

TRACING BEIJING OLYMPICS, 警察来了, 就是朋友 | 8′ 16
Does tracing have anything to do with how Beijing was radically altered in advance of the Olympics?, Yuan, Ming, Qing, buildings wiped out, how modern Beijing has been built, tracing like breathing, because the development’s there I go to it, pathways through hedges, desire paths, Beijing is meant to control that, you can never control that, space for improvisation, mapping consciousness versus social consciousness, opposite the hutong vibe, tracing in hutongs, structure businesses, houses, lives, dream of the architects, 没有,就是一些朋友过来吃饭,在北京工作,这个我帮一个朋友, did someone call?, the station’s just down the street, maybe we just carry on like everything’s cool, an example of control, exercise machines, follow that grid exactly, social control built, who you guys were, state-prescribed exercise equipment, 20th century history of hutongs not existing prior to 1949, talking about fashion or something, multiplying things over…

map can affect the tracing, bear with me here, subway lines, cigarette butts, can tracing affect the map, perspective and approach, subway lines along desire paths, number 5 lines didn’t lead to anywhere, developers knew beforehand, not helpful to binarize mapping and tracing, observation and phenomenology, a give and take, growth in a strange way, human experience, learn anew, “The question addressed to architects, urban planners and placemakers is how to operate with a space which is traced at the same time as it is lived and how to use this tracing to understand and eventually create more relationships between those who inhabit it. How to allow them to have access to and decide about their common tracing which is also the condition of their indeterminate community?“, productivity of a tracing, relationships, economic development, where people should go, where can most money be made, indeterminate community as opposed to creating a built environment, foster indeterminancy while meeting needs, the agenda of positive goal, the “inoperable community“, “the unavowable community”, Nancy and Agamben, how do we create community that embraces otherness, that eliminates problems of language, a model for how we can create this idea of community, moving against Empire, not so simple as embracing hybridity, the postmodern question…

what’s impossible about community in Beijing, generational differences: Long March survivors, Cultural Revolution generation, first benefits of kaifang, one-child only generation, communications technology generation, how do you resolve disjointing ideas of what community is, what recreation is, fundamental approach to living, what is comfort, what is entertainment, nationalism at its highest, what happens after the Olympics, falls out over the next year, huge economic fallout, currency fluctuations, Chinese community formed on basis of socio-economics versus family, growing middle class, growing upper class, more than any top-down policies, do away with the hukou system entirely in the next few years, 1,000,000 empty apartments, 15 new Shanghais across the interior, 90 new airports, huge headwall in terms of natural resources, employment, pollution, energy use…, the world can’t handle it, 1.2 billion in China living like we do in the U.S., the horror of seeing another United States, consumer model carrot of the Communist Party, house with 3 cars, all the way from Sichuan to work, migrant workers in Africa, promise of increased material wealth, social unrest in countryside, Henan, Hubei, their vision of what it means to be modern and successful, xiaokang shehui, top-down vision, Three Moderns: sewing machine, refrigerator, tv second wave, cell phone third wave, directly equated with happiness, what material wealth means, three C’s in Japan, equal rise in urban and rural dwellers over last 20 years, but skyrocket of urban in last five years, decline just outside of major metropolitan areas, living on site right off Wangfujing, things just don’t seem to be improving, not reported widely at all, trying to negotiate with 15 new Shanghais, exacerbate all the existing problems, Neville Mars’ new book, every book is “this is China’s downfall” or “this is China’s great rise”, high levels of politburo, how is policy implemented in such a fractured manner, rethinking how people live in urban areas, disaster waiting to happen, that book is big…

world is becoming more even, places look like Nairobi, shoddy worksmanship, infrastructure, Lagos as THE model megacity, general call for alarm, what’s new, every emerging developing nation, an egalitarian peak, a lie, less mobility now than before, 1968 was last year in U.S. where blue-collar worker could sustain a family of five in comfortable middle class lifestyle, accumulation of capital among top 2%, Guilded era in the states, shifting ways in which we assess, we’re making new maps by talking about it new ways, money being available for everyone, renting, property ownership will evaporate, easy for Chinese to get a loan and by a house, China’s American dream, ethnic differences with socio-economic differences, going to hell, we are setting a horrible precedent for the developing world and the developed world, clean-up, rate of growth, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Pearl River Delta, runaway rapacious development, manufacturing sector dying, biggest open pit in China, Tianjin waterfront like Chicago, river-cruise in Chongqing, a complete mess…

post-War, west Virgina, where my people are from, the ‘Burg, today very difficult for people to buy a home, terrible precedent, cusp of massive wealth transfer, dying babyboomers, money you didn’t work for, young people of floating network, media perpetuation, service and information economy, how does the precedent change?, a missing piece, production and consumption habits, avoiding talking about China as a monolith, splintered, how an individual will accept, opportunity to change things or for further decadence?, is China really looking to America as as an example, consumption, Hong Kong developers, healthcare system based on U.S. system, countryside, basic medical care yes, emergency response is bad, advertising, consumptive patterns are what will be really detrimental, extremely misleading, setting into motion fast consumer cycles, apple juice, technology, two-month cell phones, clothing, 50’s American, education, willingness to be swayed, propaganda, global production of advertising, new millenium techniques with 1950’s propaganda, a technique that works gets disseminated in a month, black & white televisions, separation from reality, no conclusion…

This activity of the HomeShop Games 2008 project was organised by HomeShop and Angie Baecker. Thank you to all who showed up despite the summer rains…

Beijing, CN weather for 14 august 2008: brightly cloudy with light thunderstorms and showers, high 29° – low 20° C.

家作坊日志:  准备两个大箱子寄上海去,为Inga Svala Thorsdottir开始创作她参加广州三年展的新装置作品。到现在收的衣服有从小朋友来,还有一个上海来的中央戏剧学院老师,一个河南来的邻居,和某些阿妈和老太太热心的侃一个好价卖他们的衣服。顺丰快递来的师傅吃完饭过来帮我把包好好装和检查。可是我好好折的衣服都被弄乱了。

notes from HomeShop: packing two boxes for Shanghai, preparations begin for Inga Svala Thorsdottir‘s new installation piece for the 2008 Guangzhou Triennale. collections thus far have come from young children, a Shanghainese music/drama teacher at the Central Academy of Drama, neighbour and mother from Henan, and quite a few other grandmas and lao taitais eager to bargain a good price. The nice man from Shun Feng Express Shipping Company came over after his lunch to help me pack and inspect the boxes, except all the clothes I had nicely folded together became very messy.

不管终结究竟是意味着新的衍生,或,仅仅是一种突然的崩溃,但有一点我们非常确定,那便是,凡事有始便有终,八月二十四日的这个星期天,奥运会就将落下帷幕,我们家作坊也将再一次支起幕布现场直播。邻居郑,周,和张都会到场,以他们的街头智慧为我们解说这一切背后的“真相”。在“盛会”终结的前两个小时,即当晚六点,北京艺术家梁越会光临直播现场来恭祝,免费发放他 “放心366天“系列的相关作品,尔后,八点,准时直播奥运会闭幕式。如果你有时间的话,就荡过来玩儿吧!

The countdown ends and begins this Sunday, August 24th, as HomeShop broadcasts the Olympic games one more time for the closing ceremonies. Neighbours Zheng and Zhou and Zhang will be on hand to tell you what it’s really all about. Also on site in the hutong will be Beijing-based artist Liang Yue for a special giveaway activity from his “Relax 366 Days” series. Liang Yue visits Xiaojingchang Hutong from 18.00, the closing ceremonies will be broadcast from 20.00. 有时间过来玩儿! (If you have time, come over and play!)

地 图 m a p 联系 contact

2008年8月12日,大约下午6点。 奥体中心地铁站的黑市。

12 August 2008, around 18:00. Olympic Sports Center subway station impromptu black market.





“Protocol is commonly described as a set of international courtesy rules. These well-established and time-honored rules have made it easier for nations and people to live and work together. Part of protocol has always been the acknowledgment of the hierarchical standing of all present. Protocol rules are based on the principles of civility.”

—Dr. P.M. Forni on behalf of the International Association of Protocol Consultants (Wikipedia)

Beijing, CN weather for 12 august 2008: sunny with blue skies, afternoon chance of scattered clouds, high 30° C – low 22° C.

above: Are Fuwa dolls allowed to speak on the job? Only if you look them in eyes. “你那里面热不热?“ “还好!“

“In the field of telecommunications, a communications protocol is the set of standard rules for data representation, signaling, authentication and error detection required to send information over a communications channel.” (wikipedia)

above: the “Official Spectators’ Guide”

Thinking of protocol in terms of means, ways of doing… de Certeau’s perruque [1] implies a way of using time within the standards of protocol. What loopholes do we find as individuals, within the “Official Spectators’ Guide”?

above: Volunteers make arrangements for people who need to change their seats at Olympic events.

Where do we abide by a protocol, but where do we always end up finding our own ways of getting there, of doing this or that? As we said before, this is by no means a way to pursue subversion—-we laugh in ignorance at the same time as we act. Living in beijing as 老百姓 laobaixing, as everyday citizens, what modes of protocol do we embody, and where do we meander without noticing?

above: Portable cutlery and chopsticks are not allowed on the Olympic green. You can check them in, however, with a simple sticker purchased from any local stationery store and an identifying signing of whatever you want.

above: Lip gloss is allowed, so long as you put it on before you enter the stadium.

The trace has a very distinct path, a protocol of following someone else’s footsteps or keeping to the line that has been set before… But it is only a slip of the hand, a slight nudging off the solid foundation of following, that sets us into a realm of possibility. Deligny does not neglect his own presence as tracer within the mapping of the traced. Nor can we deny responsibility as creators or thinkers upon those that we engage with, no matter what exchange may be made, or not. Is it a nothing to take notice? Is possibility too open a format? No. Because the protocol is always there; there are hundreds of routine paths and familiar faces that pass here everyday.


[1] “…la perruque is the worker’s own work disguised as work for his employer…” (Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life)

Chinese artist-run spaces rise up again?“, Art Radar Asia, 18 May 2009 (English)

Observing Chinese contemporary art through writings“, research log of Asia Art Archive, May 2009 (English)

HomeShop: A Public/Private Project“, broken city lab, 22 April 2009 (English)

Don’t Stop: Doing Art Potluck Style“, e-flux journal #5, April 2009 (English)

Best of 2008“, Artforum (chinese edition), 10 December 2008 (English)

Home in shop, neighbors in home“, CCTV Culture Express,  3 September 2008 (CRIEnglish.com重发布 re-published from China Daily from CRIEnglish.com)

back in a place we call home“, L’una’otra, 26 August 2008 (English)

wii would like to play // we don’t have tickets“, sportsbabel on Vimeo, 20 August 2008 (录像 video)

胡同一”家“》, Sina finance, 16 August 2008 (中文)

Home in shop, neighbors in home“, China Radio International CRIEnglish.com, 17 August 2008 (English)

wii would like to play // we don’t have tickets“, Sportsbabel, 22 August 2008 (English)

èr-ling-ling-bā!“, Sportsbabel, 8 August 2008 (English)

080808“, Life in China, 11 August 2008 (English)

One World, One Dream, Many Beers“, Son of Shenzhen Zen: Beijing Bahdabing, 9 August 2008 (English)

如果人家还看到其他媒体或报告关于我们的家作坊请转发,谢谢! If you spot any more out there, please forward links back, thank you!

11 August 2008, 16.31 | Queuing to enter the Worker’s Stadium, Olympic featherweight and lightweight boxing preliminaries.

Beijing, CN weather for 11 august 2008: grey and overcast, high 28° C – low 23° C.

12 August 2008: HomeShop hosts a doorstep discussion with Sean Smith.

sport and media, aesthetics, politics, militarization of sport, temporality and sport, human body, affect, coming to China, the most significant sporting event in human history, trying a blog

BLOGGING | 16’30
on blogging, mediatized environment, “how fucking arrogant was that”, teaching a class on Olympics history, Deleuze & Guattari, uneven writing, noise to signal, experience to output

the last olympics, Chad Scoville, refuting a media singularity, citius altius fortius, pure body, “concomitant rise of a new China”, opening ceremonies

9/11, Virilio’s “information bomb”, framing the event, weapons, semiotic warfare

panoptic surveillance, panhaptic computer networks, striated and smooth spaces, models of human behaviour, control society, “One World, One Dream”, spectacle of a new Beijing, Foucault’s panopticon, open flows, “the population is just too big”, broken protocol, spatial scalability, disciplinary space challenged by the speed of a flow, Deleuze & Guattari, navigation of an intelligent nomad, never a revolution, people like the system, the “communism of capitalism” (Virno), “I think China’s pretty comfortable where it is right now”

kòngzhì, Manuel deLanda’s “A Thousand Years of Non-linear History”, molecular to macro, hierarchies and meshworks, gaps and noises and cracks

HOMESHOP | 18’11
public space and private space, permeable membrane, blurring the boundaries, the binary, the third space, the interloper, “what are you trying to say with this?”

Sean Smith is a critical sport theorist living in Toronto. He is a doctoral candidate at the European Graduate School of Media and Communications and publishes a blog titled sportsBabel, which critically examines the aesthetics, politics and poetics of the sportocracy at the intersections between material and immaterial.