Day 1 Arrival Beijing International ART Biennale 2012

Beijing International Art Biennale, writing

The first thing on my list would be, as I had promised myself, to take a swim in the pool of the international Beijing Hotel. After a long walk in the hotel, in sandals and a tracksuit, I found the hotel swimming pool in the basement with 3 assistants waiting for me. I reported myself at the desk. A locker key was produced and went from one assistant to me to the other and at the lockers/changing room a towel was wrapped around my waste, my sandals replaced for slippers, then another assistant guided me to the swimming pool through a labyrinth of passages. The swimming pool was large, at the far end a life guard was perched high in his chair guarding a solitary swimmer in the center lane. I choose the side lane, freestyle, breaststroke and to catch my breath a lazy backstroke looking at the painted clouds on the ceiling. After some time the other swimmer ended his swim and left. Now I was the solitary swimmer save guarded by the young man in the high chair. I thought to myself what an odd job?. The quiet ripples of the waves I created where gently caught and damped by the swimming pool float lines.

swimming pool float lines

As I went up and down the length of the water I focused on orientating myself, regarding the pool’s edge, timing myself before I would hit the side, forth pillar, the float lines changing from white to yellow to red, the clouded ceiling edge would end, time to reach out and touch the edge of the pool, turn, push off the wall with my feet. A bit of crawl, then breaststroke, my ears blocked by the bathing cap, the sounds of water echoing of the walls and ceiling as if I were in a cave. After half hour of swimming or so, I got out of the pool and dried myself with the towel. Putting my spectacles on I thought the guard looked so bored he might be near to sleeping. I felt a pity for him remembering the internal battle against sleep in lectures about leverage and force. Now I observed the guard carefully, picking out a reference point on the chair to determine if his body was slowing sagged and crumbling into sleep as he breathed in and out. It seemed as if he was asleep. On turning myself to collect my gear, I heard a loud clatter. He had fallen off the chair. I did not spin around to look, but gave him some time to regain his dignity. But when I did turn, he was not on the chair, nor on the ground but had hidden himself behind a pile of deckchairs.

That day I met up with Nasser Palangi, Elmar Peintner, Linda Verkaaik, MD.Jalal Uddin, Bishwajit Goswami, Khalid Mahmood, A.S.M.Mustafa Jamal Akbar, Robert Evgeni BaramovMichael Lyons, Laurin McCrackenSidi Mohammed Mansouri Idrissi, Edy Asmara Purta, Uuk Paramahita, Bambang Juliarta, Made Gunawan Le Tran Anh Tuan, Nguyen Dinh Vu, Ly Truc Son, Nguyen Khac Chinh.

[if any of the artists have a website that I do not have please write me. If you do not have one, I recommend you should make one. WordPress offers a free service, or blogger or many others.]

A report on the 4th Beijing international art biennale

Beijing International Art Biennale, exhibitions, writing

My first contact with China was in 1987. I was travelling on the Tanzania Railway. The railway was built by the Chinese in the 70ties and still runs 1800 km from Dar es Salaam into the middle of Zambia. Chinese tracks, bridges, locomotives, coaches and stations in pale mint green were constructed, build and dotted across the African landscape. “The road to freedom” enabling Tanzania and Zambia to export their goods via the ports of Dar es Salaam. Distinctly I remember the soft bronze bell chimes echoing gently in the station waiting halls, these tender chimes so remarkably Chinese I could almost catch the musky odour of China float in the air. When I boarded the train, it came to me that all the operating signs, such as opening and closing of windows, operating the fans or light or toilets, were in Chinese. So prevailing were the images and icons of China that I closed my eyes to the sounds of the wheels hitting the spaces in-between the lengths of the railway track.
cluck-clung  clunk- clung.
and  I imagined myself to be in China.