A day in the factory

 I was invited to make a contribution to  Alessandro Rolandi’s Social Sensibility project. (read more about this here) He has been appointed as a curator in a french factory here in Beijing to do art projects. It’s been up for 2 years now and it is one of the most interesting art things happening in Beijing that I’m aware off. I’ve been three times.

I thought it would make sense to do a short shadow-puppet show. This factory makes high end joints for power-plants, oil platforms, nuclear plants, etc. More or less every week a artist comes here to do ‘something’. They go to rather fancy restaurant every day for lunch.  It’s a rather small factory, the people working there seems really happy. (When François Hollande visited China for 36 hours last year, he picket this place to say hi.)

Most of the things they make are being sprayed with blue paint (the nuclear stuff is white). The spray-paint room was perfect to turn into a shadow-puppet theater. Thanks to Zajia (music venue/art space here in town) we found two great musicians, that I had never met before and didn’t spoke a word of english. Improvisation in a place where improvisation is totally unacceptable.  I had prepared a small thing with a comic note, based on two little facts; In china a banana is quite a normal small gift and they also have lame jokes involving bananas; So the banana is globally seen as ‘funny’.

The show went well and the musicians where great; it all ended in a small jam session, with the bosses and the workers playing together. Unfortunately it was not dark enough to create a better shadow.

(big thanks to Simon Kentgens for the pictures)

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