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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Seated Poses in Ganzhou

two pieces of Western art and man using a mobile phone while sitting


A number of places sell art or antiques towards the southern end of Bajing Road (八境路) in Ganzhou. The two paintings sitting outside an art studio in the above photo stood out from many of the Chinese-style pieces nearby, and they captured scenes foreign in location and time.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Balloon Sculptures, Singing, and a Pelvic Thrusting Dinosaur: The Grand Opening of a Jewelry Store in Ganzhou, China

When I stopped by a jewelry store with a notable logo on the afternoon of its opening day in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, there were a few customers inside, but all was otherwise quiet. Especially given the hot weather and low pedestrian traffic at the time, this wasn't so surprising.

When I stopped by again later in the early evening, the weather had cooled down and the activities to celebrate the grand opening had heated up. Given what I have seen at a variety of promotions elsewhere in China, I wasn't too surprised to see somebody wearing an inflatable Tyrannosaurus costume entertaining people, especially children.

person in inflatable Tyrannosaurus costume entertaining


At an entrance to the store, somebody else was creating balloon animals and sculptures. I have seen the same thing at a number of jewelry stores elsewhere.

Balloon artist making a balloon model for a girl


There was also a stage set up besides the store. While I was there a woman sang, also not so uncommon for events likes this one.

But then things came together in a way that wasn't so typical in my experience, and it was something to behold.

I didn't know a Tyrannosaurus could move like that.

On reflection, the movements were somewhat similar to how some cockatoos dance to music. Not only are birds dinosaurs, but the Tyrannosaurus is more closely related to a bird than to a Stegosaurus. Perhaps that's what the person had in mind, though I am not aware of any birds dancing quite the same way.

In any case, the dancing felt a bit surreal to watch. I can't put the experience fully into words, so I have shared a bit of it in the video below. Although the Tyrannosaurus stopped dancing, or whatever it was doing, and returned to other activities while I watched, I kept filming a bit longer. There is more to observe than just the dinosaur, though it steals the show.

Take a look:

Friday, August 10, 2018

Lotus Flowers, Bridges, and a Sculpture at a University Pond in Ganzhou

Recent posts (here and here) featured scenes from parks in Ganzhou, Jiangxi. To continue the theme, below are a few photos taken on a rather hot afternoon at Bajiao Pond (八角塘) at the Jiangxi University of Science and Technology campus on Hongqi Road in Ganzhou.

lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotuses and a bridge Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


lotus flower at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)


curving bridge, sculpture, and lotuses at Bajiao Pond (八角塘)

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Hong Kong Mural: Donald Trump and Barack Obama Still at a Noodle Cart

Early last year I came across the Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) — a restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong — and noticed the mural on its side. Remarkably, its depiction of a line of people waiting for noodles cooked at a cart included both Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

So a few weeks ago I was curious to check up on the restaurant. Much had changed in the world since my previous visit, but I found the mural appeared to be exactly the same.

Cart Noodle Expert (車仔麵專家) restaurant in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


See the earlier post for close up photos of the mural. Obama is smiling while he waits in line. Trump isn't in line and is making a familiar definitely-not-smiling expression. I had eaten just prior to passing the restaurant, so I am still not able to offer any opinion on the noodles. But it seems that if there's a line, nobody gets to cut in front.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Surrounding the Dolphin Sculptures in Jiangmen and Hong Kong

Next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen, Guangdong, earlier this year I saw a sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins next to the Jiangmen River in Jiangmen


More recently at Tsuen Wan Park in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, I saw another sculpture of dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins in Tsuen Wan Park in Hong Kong


In both cases I couldn't find anything indicating the name of the sculpture or the artist. Notably, they are both partially surrounded by structures. But the structures are rather different in style.

And that's as deep as I'll go with these dolphins.

sculpture of dolphins bordered by classical columns in Jiangmen

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Flower Ice Cream and Giant Hummingbird Mural in Hong Kong

Happy Fourth of July to the U.S. folk. Remember, fireworks don't work without fire. And rose-shaped ice cream attracts giant hummingbirds. Goodness can result from both of these things. But nothing is totally safe, so please take care and have a joyous day. Those giant hummingbirds are enchanting yet ravenous.

mural of a girl eating flower-shaped ice cream next to a large hummingbird
Alongside Shelley Street in Central, Hong Kong

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A Sign of Northeast China from Shenyang

Trying to track down a possible connection inspired me to dig through the photos I took in Shenyang about a year and a half ago. The city in Northeast China's Liaoning province is about a 2900 kilometer (1800 mile) drive from my current location in Zhaoqing in Southeast China. The photos made me think of how the two cities are different worlds in many ways yet definitely parts of the same country.

The focus here has been heavy on the southern half of China for a while. So for a change of spirit and color below are two photos of a remarkable sign in Shenyang that caught my eye both when I saw it in person and when I more recently scrolled through my photos. The sign's top section is for the Huihualou Jewelry Store and the lower section is for the Huihualou Business Hotel. I find the sign reminiscent of earlier times in Shenyang and endearing in its own way.


sign for the Huihualou Jewelry Store (薈華楼金店) and Huihualou Business Hotel in Shenyang


sign for the Huihualou Jewelry Store (薈華楼金店) and Huihualou Business Hotel in Shenyang

Monday, April 9, 2018

Political Art: Trump Gives Orders to Japan's Prime Minister at an Aircraft Carrier Restaurant in Jiangmen, China

While looking across the street at the Rongji Plaza shopping center in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, one of the signs perched on its roof especially caught my attention. I soon felt compelled to check out the Jin Li Ao Aircraft Carrier Restaurant (金利奥航母主题西餐厅). A dining experience with aircraft carrier ambience could be something to behold.

The 3rd-floor restaurant features Western-style food with a heavy emphasis on steaks. I assume this is not standard fare on China's single combat-ready aircraft carrier, but admittedly I have never eaten there.

In addition to a variety of steaks, the restaurant in Jiangmen includes a large structure with features similar to a miniature aircraft carrier. At the ship's bow sits a jet.

mock fighter jet with child inside


And a helicopter is ready for takeoff on the stern.

mock aircraft carrier helicopter


Both the jet and helicopter are open to visitors. Set between the two on the aircraft carrier's flight deck is seating for diners. There is also seating next to the carrier and in another section of the restaurant with a tropical theme. The servers and hosts all wear sailor uniforms.

To me, the most remarkable aspect of the restaurant isn't the aircraft carrier or the two vehicles on it. Or even the extensive variety of steaks on the menu. Instead, that honor belongs to some artwork in the restaurant's lobby area.

mural of Donald Trump pointing from a ship and Shinzo Abe made to look like a shrimp


After pondering the piece a couple of times, I asked a host who had earlier invited me to take photos about the intended meaning. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: What is happening here?
Host: Oh, it's just a picture. There's no meaning.
Me: Is that Trump?
Host: It's just a picture. It could be anybody.
Me: Um, how about the other person. Is that Japan's leader?
Host: Nobody in particular. It could be anybody. It's just a picture.
At this point, I figured the conversation wasn't going anywhere. I strongly suspected he was deliberately avoiding an explanation and appreciated that this was far more than "just a picture".

A minute or so later he asked, "Oh, do you think that looks like Trump?".

After I confirmed I did he replied, "Well, it could be anybody."

He smiled throughout our conversation.

Good times.

So my best current take on what is going on here. . . Well, it sure looks like a deliberate depiction of President of the U.S. Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe. Abe's appearance as a shrimp may be connected to a politically provocative meal served to Trump during his visit to South Korea last November:
The menu at South Korea’s state banquet for Donald Trump has left a nasty taste in Japan, after the president was served seafood caught off islands at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Japanese officials have also complained about the decision to invite a former wartime sex slave to the event, held earlier this week during the second leg of Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia.

Conservative media in Japan labeled the banquet “anti-Japanese” for featuring shrimp from near Dokdo – a rocky outcrop known in Japan as Takeshima. Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands, which are administered by Seoul.
China makes no claim regarding these islands, but it does have a similar dispute over the Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, currently controlled by Japan. Many in China would applaud the meal served to Trump in Seoul.

The island in the background looks like a possible match to the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands (would be easier to confirm if Trump weren't blocking a portion of it). Perhaps Trump is ordering Abe to deliver an apology (big in China) and hand over the islands. Although I wouldn't bet on this scenario happening, even forgetting the shrimp part, many Chinese probably find it far more plausible. At the very least, Trump would certainly gain a huge number of fans in China if he achieved something like this or even tried.

So perhaps the restaurant dreams of a visit by Trump. Maybe that is why they feature steak. It is one of his favorite foods after all. They better have some ketchup though.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

One More Photo for 2017

young woman posing in front of the sculpture "The Three Graces" at Huashan Park in Taipei
Posing in front of The Three Graces by Tien-Sheng Pu (1912-1996) at Huashan Park in Taipei

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