Tuesday, 19 April 2011
'Studio Chonqing' symposium will take place at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester 21st April 2011 (details below). I've been invited to read from my work made in CQ, the poem 'My paintings are invisible' and some material from my journals. It seems a good moment to post my very last China journal entry.
Snow glare from Beijing airport haloes the outsize buildings. We’ve wriggled one last time through the Beijing traffic – a wall of impossible complexity that made our taxi driver tut and play with his worry balls. An hour later, wrapped in warm aircon and easy pop, we’re combing the airport lounge for a decent coffee; an hour later again we’re rolling off the runway in the care of Finnair.
Screens are set into the headrests in front of us, we have the pilot’s POV for takeoff. I’m tired, dirty, stressed, stretched. Julia has grey sleep-lack around her eyes.
Now we’re climbing off the ground and below us on the runway we can see our shadow, caught in the screens, flit along the airstrip. Now we’re overhead and Julia is trying for some more photos through the plane window, cursing the overexposure. Now the screens are showing a 3D flightpath, Beijing below, Chengdu to our right, Xuanhua and Kalgan to the left.
The mountains are back again, the same mountains I saw on my arrival three months gone, and the snowplains outside the city. On the 3D computer graphic, our flightpath disappears with the world’s curve, to the other side of the globe. Our airspeed is 369, outside altitude 14491 feet as we bid goodbye to China.
“It’s minus 62 out there,” Julia says, the land all snow, the folds in contours like creases in a vast eiderdown, stuffed with white to the edge of our seeing. We slip into our own thoughts, then the shared dream of in-flight movies. I come awake with a jolt over Helsinki – wheels are spinning up dust in a car chase onscreen.
A Live Collection of Work and Experiences from the 501 Residency, Chongqing, China.
Curated by Nina Chua and Jessica Longmore
Chinese Art Centre
21st April 2011
For free tickets and further information: http://chongqing-symposium-auto.eventbrite.com/
This event has been kindly sponsored by Arts Council England, Chinese Art Centre and Seabrook Associates.