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Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Solid Game of Xiangqi in Wuhan

Sculpture of a xiangqi game with one man playing and another watching
On the Jianghan Road Pedestrian Street

The above sculpture of a xiangqi game appears to have been designed to encourage people to have their photo taken while pretending to be one of the players. You would have to bring your own fan and sandals though.

I have been bouncing around — of both the intracity and intercity variety — quite a bit lately. This perhaps to a degree unconsciously influenced the recent focus here on rather still statues. Other topics are on the way — probably more statues at some point too.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Integration: Fusion and Adaptation" at the Wuhan Art Museum

"Integration: Fusion and Adaptation" is the fourth and current exhibition for the Wuhan Ink Art Biennale at the Wuhan Art Museum. As described at the museum:
The preceding three exhibitions present a chronological sequence of perpetuation and development, transformation and innovation, in Chinese ink painting since Ming and Qing periods. "Integration" showcases the richness of contemporary ink art through works that are rooted in tradition yet present new ideas, pieces that are more avant-garde in creative concept and method, as well as pieces by foreign artists working in ink.

One piece on display features Chinese calligraphy, common at art museums in China.

Chinese Calligraphy: Excerpt from Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (2012) by Michael Cherney


Less common is the calligrapher's home country — the U.S. — and the topic of the writing, which is captured in Michael Cherney's title for the work: Excerpt from Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (2012).

South Korean Shin Young Ho's piece Liquid Drawing_4207 (2015) doesn't include calligraphy, but it does have ants.

Liquid Drawing_4207 by Shin Young Ho


Li Huichang's Groan No. 66 (2015) has neither calligraphy nor ants, but there is still much going on.

Li Huichang's Groan No. 66 (2015)


One of the more colorful pieces at the exhibition is Paradise (2008) by Huang Min.

Paradise (2008) by Huang Min


Finally, the piece I pondered most was Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe.

Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


Like many others on display, the large piece of art is worth a closer look.

closeup of person in Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


closeup of people in Stop! (2015) by Liu Qinghe


The Wuhan Art Museum has much more. One sign indicates this exhibition was supposed to have already ended over a week ago, so I am not sure how much longer it will be around. In any case, the Wuhan Art Museum is free. You just have to scan your Chinese ID card to open an entrance gate. If you are a foreigner, don't worry. You can walk around the gate — no need to stop.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Looking Out From Changsha

mural of woman looking out a window
On Taiping 138 Culture Street (太平138文化街区) in Changsha, Hunan

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Two Lions Guarding the Casino Dreams in Macau

Recent posts regarding the casino resort world in Cotai, Macau, took a look at the yet-to-open MGM Cotai, the yet-to-open Morpheus hotel, a promotion combining dinosaurs and Lamborghinis at City of Dreams, the gondola at the Wynn Palace, and some of the creative works inside the Wynn Palace. To conclude the series, here are photos of the two guardian lions which sit on both sides of an entrance to the City of Dreams.

guardian lion at City of Dreams in Macau


guardian lion at City of Dreams in Macau


Instead of the common pairing of one guardian lion (male) with a ball and the other (female) with a lion cub under one of their front paws, both of these lions have a ball. As a non-expert on guardian lions, I would particularly welcome thoughts others may have about this.

In any case, they are not typical-looking guardian lions — unsurprising for a place that has a triceratops with keys as its horns inside.

Friday, October 20, 2017

An Ornate Hallway and Some Colorful Art at the Wynn Palace in Macau

Although the experience inside the Wynn Palace in Macau after a gondola with dragons is initially a bit underwhelming, visitors can soon find themselves in the resort's ground-level hallways, which few people would describe as understated.



The hallways lead to luxury shops, restaurants, and, of course, the main casino. Walking around will also take one past a number of creative works.

For example, there is the Tulips sculpture by the American artist Jeff Koons.

Tulips sculpture by Jeff Koons at the Wynn Palace in Macau



There are also floral sculptures designed by Preston Bailey. All of them were made in Las Vegas, dismantled, shipped to Macau, and then reassembled. With eight available in total, the two sculptures on display at the Wynn Palace change every few months. During my recent visit, the hot air balloon floral sculpture was out.

Hot air ballon floral sculpture by Preston Bailey at the Wynn Palace


Each of the balloons slowly rises and falls, and the largest is nearly 17 feet (about 5 meters) in height.

The other floral sculpture now on display at first only appears to be your everyday 12-foot-tall Fabergé egg.

12-foot-tall Fabergé egg floral sculpture by Preston Bailey at the Wynn Palace


[Spoiler alert: there is more than meets the eye here. To avoid the big egg reveal do not read any further and take a ride on the nearest gondola.]


But periodically a phoenix appears accompanied by a condensed version* of the end of Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.

Phoenix rising from Fabergé egg floral sculpture by Preston Bailey at the Wynn Palace


Perhaps the regenerating phoenix can give people hope if they lost a lot of money in the casino. Or in Preston Bailey's words: “We knew that we needed to keep people amused and surprised.” Whatever the case, after the short performance the phoenix returns to its egg until it decides to emerge once again.

Somebody recently posted a video of the phoenix doing its thing, so if you need a bit of phoenix inspiration:



And now I am going to do a bit of regeneration myself with a more complete performance of The Firebird.




*Stravinsky composed several versions of The Firebird. I didn't check them all but am not aware of any being shortened in this manner.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dinosaurs (and Lamborghinis) Featured in a Promotion at City of Dreams in Macau

Admittedly, I would have a tough time deciding if given the chance to choose one of these:

Lamborghinis and Tyrannosaurus sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


back of yellow Lamborghini on display at City of Dreams Macau


Lamborghini and Triceratops sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


But after much consideration, I suspect in the end I would go with the Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately, winning one of the dinosaur sculptures did not appear to be a possibility in the "Unlock the Power" promotional campaign at the City of Dreams casino resort in Macau:
Promotional car keys will be distributed at prominent locations around Macau, including ferry terminals, border gates and shuttle-bus stops, giving lucky guests the chance to win a Lamborghini. Keys can also be obtained by visiting City of Dreams, or by playing the mobile app game. The WeChat-based competition allows players to race a supercar by using their “engine voice” to propel the car around the track – the louder you roar, the faster you go! The more keys entrants can accumulate, the more chances they will have to win a Lamborghini.

Guests at City of Dreams can also participate in a daily instant game to be in with a chance of scooping the grand prize by spending at any of the resort’s many shopping, dining, entertainment or hospitality outlets during the campaign period, and enter the stage game that will take place every Thursday to Sunday at 8pm. The entrants drawn to play the game will have the chance to drive home a Lamborghini, or to receive HKD2 million [about U.S. $250,000] in cash.
I haven't played the mobile game, which can be downloaded from either Google Play or Apple's App Store, so my engine voice remains untested. I also didn't watch a stage game, so I can't report whether it too involved using one's engine voice.

As far as the dinosaurs, without further explanation the press release states they "personify the Italian supercar". I am not aware of any evidence indicating dinosaurs had good engine voices though.

Anyway, after yet another look . . .

view from above of Lamborghinis and Tyrannosaurus sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


Lamborghini and Triceratops sculpture display at City of Dreams Macau


I must say, maybe I would go with the Triceratops after all.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Morpheus Hotel in Macau: Architecture Filling a Void with Voids

The MGM Cotai casino resort won't be the only building with a creative contemporary design to open in Macau early next year. A pair of connected towers under construction nearby will be the fifth hotel at the City of Dreams casino resort. The structural steel exoskeleton of the Morpheus already stands out amongst the neighboring towers.

City of Dreams casino resort in Macau including the new Morpheus hotel


The building was designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid, the first woman recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. According to the City of Dreams website:
Inspired by jade artifacts, Morpheus is a sculpture, mysterious and intriguing in its unconventional architectural composition. A series of voids gives it complexity and volume, a unique appearance as well as exciting internal spaces. Its two towers are connected at the podium levels and the roof, and there are two additional bridges for guests to experience the external voids within the building.
A few different perspectives from ground level on the north side of the building highlight the irregular patterns formed around the hard-to-miss voids:

north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau


north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau


north side of the Morpheus hotel at City of Dreams in Macau


A City of Dreams video from several years ago more fully reveals the building's design from a wide range of perspectives not available to your average passerby:



And a Kyotec Group video from half a year ago shows some of the building's actual construction without any android-like simulated humans walking around:



Near the top of one of the nearby towers at the City of Dreams is the Count:Down Clock, which appears in the upper right of this photo:

Count-down clock at City of Dreams in Macau


The clock not only counts down to the opening of the Morpheus but also the reveal for the rebranding of the round tower, formerly the Hard Rock Hotel. The hotel there currently uses the placeholder name The Countdown.

In an interview for the Macau Tatler, designer Maarten Baas shared some of the inspiration for the clock, the latest edition for his “Real Time” series:
For this project, obviously we wanted to do something with the theme of counting down. Yet, there are plenty of ways to count down. The first thought was to make it look like real people were each individually making a digit. There are digits for hours and digits for minutes. So some digits have to go very fast, while others only change every 100 or 1,000 hours. So there was this contrast between the activities, which I liked. I gave them all a black suit, as if they are chic servers of time, similar to personal butlers. I was also inspired by the luxury lifestyle in Macau.
Inside Asian Gaming posted a brief video showing a little of how the clock counts down with the help of recorded actors:



So before the middle of next year, the Morpheus with its impressive voids will open and another hotel at the City of Dreams will have a new name. More surprises may be in store as well. The Count:Down Clock hits zero on April 1.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Casino Resort in Macau Turns on the Lights While Waiting to Open

The MGM Cotai, MGM China's second casino resort in Macau, has yet to open despite previous plans to open as early as 2016 and then by October 1 of this year. Reportedly, Typhoon Hato played a role in the latest delay:
MGM China said its previously stated Q4 2017 timeline for the opening of its in-development MGM Cotai resort casino was no longer attainable, and thus the company was delaying the property’s launch date until January 29, 2018. . . .

MGM Cotai didn’t escape Hato’s wrath, and the company says repairing the damage will “slightly” delay the inspections by local government officials that are necessary for MGM Cotai to obtain its various operating licenses.
Even when it opens, the resort casino will be holding back some offerings:
The casino resort MGM Cotai – promoted by Macau-based gaming operator MGM China Holdings Ltd – is set to open only with mass gaming tables, but VIP gaming is to be offered at a later stage, said on Thursday the firm’s chief executive, Grant Bowie. . . .

“We certainly will be opening [MGM Cotai with] only mass tables but we are looking to develop relationships and we have already developed relationships with a number of junkets,” Mr Bowie told reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Macau Oktoberfest at MGM Macau.
The delays are obviously frustrating to MGM China, its investors, future employees, and anybody desiring to visit the casino resort.

On the bright side, though, barring more delays the resort casino will be open in time for the next Lunar New Year holiday. And the lights already turn on at night at the architecturally intriguing building.

MGM Cotai with its lights turned on

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lined Up, Tied Up

Graffiti alongside Dongshuncheng Street (东顺城街) in Shenyang — October 22, 2016:


graffiti on a wall in Shenyang, China



people crawling behind one another with their face tied to the rear end of the person in front of them and a large coin at the front



graffiti in Shenyang, Liaoning



graffiti next to Chaoyang Street in Shenyang

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trying to Understand the Finger Rift in Bengbu

A Werner Herzog quote at the movie theater in Bengbu appeared to a be relatively clear case of what can happen when one attempts to translate translation back into the original language. Figuring this out was especially satisfying because often when I attempt to track down the source of English that for one reason or another catches my attention in China I feel like I am going down the rabbit hole.

Such was the case with an example elsewhere in the same shopping mall with the theater. On a men's restroom wall I saw a decal I have seen in China before in places like cafes:

city themed decal on a bathroom wall

Romantic City

Love is promised     twisted in the love   between
Finger rift    the fingers
I didn't understand the message, but perhaps nothing is wrong with the English. Poetry often involves creative language usage that wouldn't typically be considered grammatical or is not transparent in meaning. I was curious to see if I could sort this out.

An online search for an exact match to the message came up empty. But I did find an online site selling the same decal. They display it with the words in a different order.
Romantic City

Love is promised between the fingers
Finger rift twisted in the love
An online search for an exact match to this version also came up empty, but there were many matches to a slightly different version without the word "is":
Love, promised between the fingers
Finger rift, twisted in the love
Notably, most of these matches appear to be on sites based in Chinese. The quote often appears in a lists of quotes presented in both English and Chinese. This is the usual Chinese version:
爱情... 在指缝间承诺
指缝... 在爱情下交缠
Sometimes the list of quotes is described as "classical English" and some of the other quotes are recognizable or similar to other familiar quotes.

Elsewhere online, it isn't hard to find examples elsewhere of people asking in Chinese about the meaning of the English version. Typically somebody replies with the usual Chinese version without any further commentary.

Despite trying several different approaches, I have gotten much further than this. I couldn't find any attribution for the quote in either Chinese or English. And while I wonder whether something happened similar to what happened to the Herzog quote, I don't even know in which language the quote originated.

So if you can catch this rabbit, please let me know. And finger rift, the fingers . . .

Monday, July 10, 2017

Herzog Translated in Bengbu

At the Dadi Cinema today in Bengbu, I saw this quote from Werner Herzog on a wall:

slightly incorrect quote of Werner Herzog


The quote struck me as fitting for a movie theater. I also suspected the English version on the wall resulted from an attempt to translate back into English a Chinese translation of the quote — something I have seen with other quotes before in China. Indeed, I now see that the original quote in English is different:
It's not only my dreams. My belief is that all these dreams are . . . are yours as well. And the only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them.
For a more extended version, here is Werner Herzog speaking in Les Blank's Burden of Dreams (1982) — a documentary about the production of one of Herzog's films:


Now I'm looking forward to watching both the documentary and the movie. So, thank you, Dadi.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dancing at Hebin Park in Guiyang

This afternoon at Hebin Park in Guiyang, Guizhou, I recorded a man expressively dancing to music. A small crowd had gathered and several others captured the performance as well. After the music ended, the man approached me and initiated a conversation in English. He told me he hoped I could share the video with my friends. He has traveled to Europe before but never the U.S. He was curious to know whether Americans would appreciate him dancing in a park there.

The video not only captured the dancing but some of the audience — including one small child who briefly tried dancing too — and passersby. As an added bonus, it concludes with a child eating an ice cream bar.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Children Following the Music in Guangzhou

sculpture of children following a woman playing a violin in Guangzhou, China
“Music Unhurried" (乐韵悠悠) by Qian Chang (前畅) and Huang Jianxun (黄建勋)
on a rainy day at Shamian Island in Guangzhou, China

Monday, March 6, 2017

Two Creative Year of the Rooster Promotions in Hong Kong

As in Jieyang, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, and Macau, I saw many artistic depictions of chickens in Hong Kong to welcome in the Year of the Rooster. I will share two of the more creative examples I saw there.

The first was one of several sculptures in a Lunar New Year promotion involving the local designer Eric So and MT masking tape at the iSquare shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui.

rooster with happy children faces designed by Eric So


I am going to take the liberty of naming it "Fowl Happiness".

The other chickens were in an advertisement for Apple I saw in Causeway Bay. It featured a piece of art made with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. As I noted before, it isn't clear in many cases whether the chicken depicted is specifically a rooster or a hen. In this case, I think there is one of each, though the rooster is more prominent.

Apple Year of the Rooster advertisement in Hong Kong featuring a piece by Victo Ngai


No witty (or less than witty) name is coming to mind, but fortunately the artist Victo Ngai provided a namer of her own: Apple Lucky Rooster. Follow the link for some details about the creative process behind the piece and photos of some other locations where it appeared.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Three Lunar New Year Displays in Zhongshan

Since the previous post about an advertisement for plastic surgery touched on the topic of the Lunar New Year in Zhongshan, I will take this opportunity to share just a few of the holiday displays I stumbled upon there about a month ago.

The first one includes a large decorated government building.

Lunar New Year decorations at a government building in Zhongshan, China


A variety of government organizations are based there, including the Zhongshan City National People's Congress Standing Committee and the Zhongshan City Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy. Yes, they promote "democracy" in China. In fact, "democracy" is one of China's 12 "core socialist values". If this confuses you, I understand. I will say more on this topic later. For now, more holiday displays . . .

The next one was at Yixian Lake Park.

Lunar New Year display at Yixian Lake Park in Zhongshan


As far as I know, no meetings promoting democracy occur here, but the park does have a provocative cartoon museum.

Despite exhibiting fine holiday spirit, neither of the previous two displays include the all important zodiac animal for the new lunar year. The last example resolves this issue with an impressive rooster.

Lunar New Year display with a rooster or phoenix at Zimaling Park in Zhongshan


I considered it might be the mythical fenghuang, which is sometimes used instead of the rooster. But given several rooster-ish features I am going with it being a rooster. Whatever it is, the display stood in front of the South Gate at Zimaling Park. The park has neither any obvious democracy promoting activities nor a cartoon museum. But it does have a tower, a small part of which can be seen behind the display in the photo, offering a bird's-eye view of Zhongshan including both urban areas and tree-covered mountains.