Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Some of Today's Lunch Space

On the plus side, the restaurant in the building has pretty good food and an excellent view.

sign at the Space Telescope Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

On the negative side, I didn't get to use the telescope today.

I had hoped to have a bit more posted by now to help serve as a prelude to the above. I also hope to soon post the material, though in a more postlude-like fashion.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fortunes and Accessories on a Shaoguan Stairway

Early this afternoon in Shaoguan, Guangdong, I saw a person offering fortune telling and related services.

fortune teller on a staircase landing in Shaoguan
Another notable hat in Shaoguan

This evening almost exactly seven hours later, I saw a person selling mobile phone covers and other assorted accessories for electronics.

young woman using a mobile phone while selling mobile phone covers and other accessories on a stairway landing in Shaoguan
One of many "mobile moments" I captured today

Both of them made use of the same corner on a landing of a pedestrian bridge staircase — just at different times. In addition to raising a number of intriguing issues, the variety of offerings available at this single location today captures some of the spirit of what I have observed elsewhere in Shaoguan this weekend.

So my own prediction for the future: I will just say don't be surprised if things as different as bamboo rats, xiangqi, marketing for pole dancing lessons, and Little Red Books all appear here soon.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Mix of Old, New, and Inexpensive: Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng Electronics Market

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng (上海音像城) offers a shopping experience which feels like a cross of a flea market and a large electronics store. I haven't seen any official names in English, but instead of the previous transliteration the name could be translated as Shanghai Audio & Visual City. And at least one online site refers to it as the Qiujiang Lu Electronics Market, though that doesn't reflect its prominently displayed Chinese name. Whatever the case, it is easy to find the market just east of Shanghai's Baoshan Road metro station — part of the complex sits underneath the elevated metro tracks. It may not be where to go if you want something like the latest models of popular mobile phone brands, but it offers an wide array of electronics for sale not seen in many other electronics stores in Shanghai.

Below are a few photos I took there. They only provide a quick look at the market and don't capture many of the second-hand classics available. Like the Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market near the Shanghai Railway Station, a visit can be eye-opening even if you aren't interested in buying anything.

More scenes from markets elsewhere in China later. I will also have more to say about mobile phones like those which appear below.

front of Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng on Baoshan Road

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng entrance on Qiujiang Road

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng with metro tracks above

outdoor portion of Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

karaoke televisions and other electronics for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

laptops for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

inexpensive mobile phones and flip phones with various designs for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

inexpensive mobile phones with keypads labeled as for "elderly people" for sale at Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

an aisle inside Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

stall counters inside the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

branching aisle inside the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai

About 300 meters (1000 ft) to the east of a pedestrian bridge near the Shanghai Railway Station is a market which fills the majority of a large building. The market's name is written, translated and transliterated in numerous ways. A map inside the market, the sign of a complaints office for the market, and a sign by the market's management, all indicate a name which includes the Chinese "龙晓通信市场" which I'll translate as "Long Xiao Communications Market"*. But names more closely resembling "Bu Ye Cheng Communications Market" — "Bu Ye Cheng", sometimes spelled as a single word, comes from the name of the entire building — appear to be more commonly used. Whatever you call the market, fortunately the gold-tinged building with a large digital billboard at the intersection of Tianmu West Road and Meiyuan Road is easy to spot.

Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai

If you so desire, you can collect business cards from the hundreds of stalls and marvel at the different names they give the market. But of more interest to me are the various mobile phones and related products that mostly fill its six dense levels.

Inside the Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai

I think it offers the closest experience in Shanghai to some of the markets in Shenzhen's immense Huaqiangbei electronics commercial area. I recommend taking a look, especially if you are interested in mobile phones and won't be in Shenzhen. I will refrain from sharing more details about what I saw there, since a closer look is in store for some similar markets in Shanghai and elsewhere in China.

*Two of the signs used the slightly longer name "上海龙晓通信产品市场".

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Apple on Windows Above Apple in Shanghai

Above the Nanjing East Road Apple Store in Shanghai, a mall's digital billboard displayed an advertisement for the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch advertisement on large video screen above an Apple Store in Shanghai

And like what I saw at a mall in Haikou, I discovered the digital billboard runs on Windows.

Apple Watch advertisement on large video screen with an open Windows folder visible above an Apple Store in Shanghai

This case just included an added touch of irony.

Perhaps-not-needed-but-would-rather-error-on-the-side-of-openness-disclosure: I previously worked as a user experience researcher at Microsoft China. I didn't work on any projects directly related to digital billboards, partly because they are difficult to carry around.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Motorbike Phone Calls in Hengyang

The Hengxiang Bridge offers an excellent opportunity to appreciate Hengyang's "traffic culture" and the variety of vehicles used there.

motorbikes, motorized tricycle cart, bus, truck, and cars on the Hengxiang Bridge in Hengyang

It also offers an excellent opportunity to observe some real-life mobile phone usage in Hengyang. On that note, here are four photos I took as I crossed the bridge one afternoon:

man using a mobile phone while driving a motorbike

woman using a mobile phone while driving a multi-colored motorbike

woman holding a mobile phone to her right ear with her left hand while driving a motorbike

man using a mobile phone while driving a motorbike

In all four cases, a person was using their mobile phone while driving a motorbike. The above capture most, but not all, of the examples I saw.

Later as I walked back across the bridge, I saw one man park his bike in the dedicated bike lane and then have a phone conversation as he stood on the sidewalk.

man looking over the railing of a bridge while speaking on a mobile phone and his motorbike parked in a bike lane

And finally, tying it all together in what felt like a brief magical moment, I saw a man using a mobile phone while he rode by and looked at a woman who had stopped to use a mobile phone.

man using a mobile phone while riding a motorbike and looking at a woman who stopped her motorbike to use a mobile phone

It is a just a small period of time and only a single location. But if representative, it suggests a large number of people in Hengyang are willing to use their phones while driving a motorbike, at least under some conditions. And much else could be learned, better appreciated, or questioned at this single bridge in Hengyang.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Perfect for a Wedding: Purchase a McDonald's French Fry Costume From China Online

As I mentioned before, a recent set of photos from Shenzhen, Guangdong province, could inspire a number of questions. Some of the questions I had were about a McDonald's french fries costume in one of the photos.

person wearing a McDonald's french fries costume in Shenzhen

The person wearing the costume in the above photo was standing near a McDonald's in Huaqiangbei while another person was handing out McDonald's coupons. It appeared the costume had seen better days. Fortunately for the restaurant and anyone eager to be a box of McDonald's french fries, the seemingly same costume is available for purchase online. One Guangdong-based store sells a complete costume through China-based AliExpress for US $206.

portion of a web page for McDonald's french fries costume sold on AliExpress

The costume includes a helmet "strong and hard enough to avoid breaking and sudden striking" — a valuable feature since you never know when this costume might provoke an attack. The seller's list of settings where the costume could be appropriate includes "wedding ceremony".

I don't question the authenticity of the McDonald's restaurant, but, as far as I can tell, the costume doesn't represent an official McDonald's character. The closest I found were the Fry Kids, formerly known as the Fry Guys. Although they have an affinity for fries, they are not fries themselves, which has its advantages.

So I am left wondering whether the McDonald's Corporation has approved or cares about the use of this french fry costume for promotions. I would also be interested to learn whether they have approved the public selling of the costume, which includes their registered trademark.

One thing I am not questioning, though, is whether there are any opportunities for the costume in a wedding. In Hong Kong, which borders Shenzhen, McDonald's offers wedding parties.

McDonald's Wedding Party webpage banner
From the wedding party page of the McDonald's Hong Kong website

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Genuine, Fake, and In-between: A Visit to Electronics Markets at Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei

an alley near Huangqiangbei

Several days ago I spent part of one afternoon in Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei (also known as Huaqiang North) commercial area. According to ShenzhenShopper:
Theres over 20 shopping malls located in the Huaqiangbei area which provides about 70 million square meters of business area. Annual sales reaching over 20 billion, and there’s something like 130,000 people employed in the area. Yep, it’s large.
Huaqiangbei is most known for being one of the biggest electronics markets in the world. For many first time visitors, especially those already familiar with typical consumer electronics chain stores in China, I would agree with the suggestion on PIXEL to:
Skip [the consumer electronics shops] and spend your time in the buildings dedicated to Android tablets, “Shanzhai” phones (copies), phone accessories, components, LEDs, various gadgets, etc.
Just one of the shopping centers on its own can be overwhelming to those not accustomed with their scale, density, and intensity. Charles Arthur shared a gallery of photos on The Guardian. As prelude to another gallery of photos on Tech in Asia, Paul Bischoff wrote:
Within lies stall after stall after stall of nearly every gadget, component, and tool imaginable. Over half a dozen city blocks are filled to the brim with crowded marketplaces, each ranging from four to 10 floors high. Photos hardly do it justice. The place is immense.
For a variety of reasons, I kept my photo-taking activities to a minimum this time. The photo above is of an alley on the outskirts of Huaqiangbei. On both sides are huge electronics markets which aren't labeled even on Seeed Studio's detailed Shenzhen Map for Makers (free PDF download). The several markets I visited on this block mostly focused on mobile phone products — from components to complete phones to accessories. Here is just a small taste of what I saw in these markets where the line between genuine and fake can be blurry:
  • Thousands of mobile phones with cracked screens, some showing clear signs they were from the U.S.
  • Screens for various brand name phones for sale.
  • Workers fixing and cleaning phones.
  • Workers affixing brand name labels to unmarked batteries.
  • Workers packaging iPhones to appear as new.
  • Foreigners making purchases, reminding me of what I learned at a fake stuffed toy wholesale store in Guangzhou.
There is much more to say about Huaqiangbei, but I will leave it this for now. It can be a fascinating place to visit, even if you don't need to change an iPhone 5c into an iPhone 5s.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yahoo Leaves, Apple's Watch Copied, and GitHub Attacked: Assorted China Tech Links

In addition to other topics, I plan a return to some China tech-related themes here. For a starter, I'll share assorted excerpts of four recent pieces sans commentary by me. Much more can be found by clicking the related links.

1. Yahoo closing its office in China received a lot of media attention. Michael Smith, an ex-Yahoo employee, provided some useful perspective:
China was really just one of the last remote engineering orgs to go. Brazil gone. Indonesia gone. The centralization plan was back on target. Build in HQ – launch everywhere. Like a lot of big internet companies really.

So yes – they closed China. I don’t think it has any connection to a pull back in China since Yahoo is already gone from China. Now the engineers are too.

Big deal. Not.
2. Even before Apple's new smart watch was publicly available, you could buy an imitation of it in China. Peter Ford reported one person's account of the processes used in China's electronics copying business:
If there are product details he is unsure of, he says, “I wait for the product to come out, or ideally see if I can get it earlier than the release date.” Since so many electronic goods are made in China, where factories “are leaky, very leaky,” he adds, “people will straight up offer that stuff to you.”

Nor does a manufacturer of what the source calls “facsimiles” need to resort only to the black market to see engineering ahead of time. “Companies like Apple buy things from other providers and put them together in a pretty package,” he says. “I don’t even need to ‘pirate’ their stuff; I just buy it from the same guys who sell it to them [ie Apple].”
3. Github, an online site used by many developers worldwide for coding, has been the target of a remarkable attack. Eva Dou explains the attack and why it appears that not only is the source based in China but the Chinese government is behind it:
Mikko Hyponen, the chief research officer of cybersecurity firm F-Secure, said the attack was likely to have involved Chinese authorities because the hackers were able to manipulate Web traffic at a high level of China’s Internet infrastructure. It appeared to be a new type for China, he added. “It had to be someone who had the ability to tamper with all the Internet traffic coming into China.” he said.
4. Erik Hjelmvik at NETRESEC provides an intriguing and in-depth look at how the GitHug attack works:
We have looked closer at this attack, and can conclude that China is using their active and passive network infrastructure in order to perform a man-on-the-side attack against GitHub. See our "TTL analysis" at the end of this blog post to see how we know this is a Man-on-the-side attack.

In short, this is how this Man-on-the-Side attack is carried out:

  1. An innocent user is browsing the internet from outside China.
  2. One website the user visits loads a javascript from a server in China, for example the Badiu Analytics script that often is used by web admins to track visitor statistics (much like Google Analytics).
  3. The web browser's request for the Baidu javascript is detected by the Chinese passive infrastructure as it enters China.
  4. A fake response is sent out from within China instead of the actual Baidu Analytics script. This fake response is a malicious javascript that tells the user's browser to continuously reload two specific pages on
That's all for now, folks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Monitoring a No-Photography Zone

A sign I saw today at a store in Zhongshan, Guangdong, seemed symbolic of a common theme in both China and the U.S.: an expectation to monitor but not be monitored.

sign with words "Here Are Monitoring" and a "No Photography"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today's View of the Chongqing International E-commerce Industrial Park

If you have been hankering for a photo of the Chongqing International E-commerce Industrial Park, today is your lucky day:

Chongqing International E-commerce Industrial Park

An article posted on CQNEWS almost exactly a year ago mentioned the park:
As the competition for a domestic e-commerce platform is fierce, Chongqing plans to expand the competition worldwide, creating multinational e-commerce industries in the city and building 10 industrial parks. In 2014, Chongqing will support 500 to 800 middle and small-sized enterprises to perform e-commerce.

Chongqing has decided to create multinational e-commerce industries throughout the city and build 10 industrial parks. Chongqing International E-commerce Industrial Park, built in Nan’an District in 2013, is Chongqing’s first e-commerce industrial park involved in multinational trade and has introduced enterprises like basic operation, platform professional operation and e-commerce, perfected Chongqing’s multinational e-commerce system and promoted its development.
I assume "perfected" should be "perfecting". If they have indeed "perfected Chongqing’s multinational e-commerce system", I need to go back.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Activities At Scenic Chaotianmen: Outdoor Karaoke

At the scenic Chaotianmen docks in Chongqing yesterday, I saw two men setting up a portable karaoke system in front of a scene which has changed significantly during the past 6 years.

man setting up a portable karaoke station at Chaotianmen.

Elsewhere at the docks, I saw another man showcasing his karaoke offerings as well.

man singing at a temporary karaoke station on the steps at Chaotianmen Dock.

Nearby on the steps, I spoke to two college students visiting from Xi'an, China, wearing newly purchased flower headbands.

two Chinese female college students wearing flower headbands

When I later walked by the same area again, the students were the first paying customers I saw at the temporary karaoke stations.

female college student singing karaoke outdoors at Chaotianmen Docks

For singing two songs, they paid 10 RMB (about US $1.60).

Activity at the outdoor karaoke stations may have picked in the evening when people come for river cruises to take in more of the city's rapidly evolving skyline lit up at night.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Genuine Microsoft Store in Shanghai

Lower level of Metro City and 1st floor of Buynow in Shanghai
1st floor of Buynow and lower level of Metro City

Recently at the Buynow (百脑汇) electronics shopping center in Shanghai's Metro City mall, I saw a Microsoft store set in two separate locations. I didn't see any reason to assume it was a "fake", and Microsoft's store finder identifies this shopping center as holding one of the 18 stores it currently lists in China. Much of the store space and a nearby promotion focused on the Xbox. There were tables with Surface tablets and Windows Phones as well. Notably, other than the Xbox games, I didn't see any software for sale.

Microsoft store in the Metro Mall Buynow in Shanghai

Microsoft store in the Metro Mall Buynow in Shanghai

Microsoft store in the Metro Mall Buynow in Shanghai

Xbox promotion in the Metro Mall Buynow in Shanghai

I will refrain from commenting further*. After sharing so much in the past about the many unauthorized Apple stores in China and the Android store in Zhuhai, I just figured I would take advantage of this opportunity to throw in a few Microsoft store scenes for some balance and a small taste of what Microsoft is now doing in China.

*Disclosure: I previously worked as a user experience researcher for Microsoft China.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yellow Leaves, Leafblowers, and a Street Cleaning Truck

One day after I mentioned the fake indoor fall foliage at a mall in Shanghai, of course there were many leaves on the ground in Shanghai due to strong winds. The outdoor real leaves weren't as colorful though.

I would say most tree leaves in Shanghai are still greenish, but brown leaves on some trees are easy to find. And gingko tree leaves in particular have taken on a yellow hue.

gingko trees with yellow leaves
Yanzhong Green Space (Square Park)

More leaves have fallen during the past week or so, which in turn leads to a desire in some to remove the leaves or encourage them to rest elsewhere. This past weekend I saw someone struck by this urge (or perhaps paid by someone else struck by this urge) using a piece of technology which made me think of James Fallows. His feelings regarding leafblowers are in part captured with a label he used to categorize a few posts about them: "Leafblower Menace".

So I sent him a photo of a leafblower in action on Changping Road in Shanghai. I also sent him photos of people I saw later that afternoon on the same road using more traditional and quieter leaf clearing methods. You can see the photos and few thoughts about them in his new post "China Catches Up".

The people in the photos were primarily concerned about cleaning the sidewalk when I saw them. But, yet again on Changping Road, yesterday I saw technology specifically designed for cleaning the street.

road sweeper truck with the slogan "建设国际静安 创建文明行业" on it cleaning a street in Shanghai
Fortunately for me, no water sprayed out.

The slogan on the side of the street cleaning truck suggests to me that at least some people believe the truck represents progress for Shanghai's Jing'an district. And I have seen far many more street cleaning trucks than leafblowers in China.

Perhaps it is a positive sign I haven't seen any leafblowers with similar slogans.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Great Acceleration at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Two months ago I entered the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and paused for a few moments as I looked at the sign listing the current exhibitions:

list of current exhibitions showing the most floors of the museum are closed

Needless to say, I was both surprised and disappointed to learn that the vast majority of the museum was closed in order to install a new exhibition. My visit proved to be rather brief.

Fortunately, I recently was able to return and see the new exhibition "The Great Acceleration". Not only did my visit last much longer, but I needed a second day to make a first pass through everything. As described in Art Agenda:
“The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene,” curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, casts human subjects as both increasingly ghostly, stressing limitations and finitudes, as well more aligned with the organic, strange, and sensory. In other words: both more dead and more alive. These qualities have been thrown into relief by the ascendance of the machinic technologies and algorithmic logics that have come to condition much of our activity and attention. Expanding on these issues, the biennial, held solely at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, features 52 artists and collectives, finely installed. As one might expect from Bourriaud, known for coining terms and corralling practices such as “relational aesthetics,” “postproduction,” and “altermodernism,” artistic approaches, rather than particular geographies, histories, or politics, connected the works in the exhibition.
And as described by exhibition curator Nicolas Bourriaud:
Human activity has been transforming the planet for millennia. All the ecosystems now bear the mark of human presence, but the scale and speed of change in the last 60 years, called by scientists The Great Acceleration, also led them to name anthropocene this new geological epoch — an era marked by the strong impact of human activities upon the atmospherical and geological evolution of planet earth.

Taipei Biennial 2014 uses this image in order to examine how contemporary art adresses this new contract between human beings, animals, vegetals, machines, products and objects. How does today’s art define and represent our space-time ? The exhibition will highlight the way artists focus on links, chainings, connections and mutations : how they envision planet earth as a huge network, where new states of matter and new forms of relations appear…

See the above links for more on the exhibition.

If you are in Taipei before the exhibition ends on January 4, 2015, I highly recommend spending at least an afternoon there. Below I will share photos of just a few of the installations along with excerpts of descriptions provided by the museum. The photos are not intended to be fully representative of the pieces and don't show any of the art videos. But they do provide a hint of the incredible diversity of artistic expression on display.

Formasa Decelerator by Opavivará!
Formasa Decelerator — Opavivará! (Brazil)
Opavivará! is an art collective from Rio de Janeiro, which develops actions in public places of the city, galleries and cultural institutions, proposing inversions in the use of urban space, through the creation of relational devices that provide collective experiences.

Specially conceived for the Taipei Biennale 2014, Formosa Decelarator is also contaminated by local Brazilian traditions, rituals and tea ceremonies. . . .

The idea revolves around a sort of temple of idleness, an invitation to inactivity, a space that worships the non-productive and non-active and that stands as a counter-proposition to our accelerated, superficial and volatile times. It aims to evoke a collective ambience based on sharing and on the relationships that arise through the interaction of the public, a tool to transform the challenge of living together into a vibrant and pulsating exercise of pleasure, congregation and creative idleness.

Yucca Invest Trading Plant — Ola Pehrson (Sweden)
Yucca Invest Trading Plant — Ola Pehrson (Sweden)
Every plant is in itself a perfectly economical system, with a minimum of waste, with its own resources, something which certainly can’t be said of many companies. A yucca palm tree has been chosen as a representative of a typical plant for a young urban businessman. The plant has been exposed to six months of intensive market education, during which it has been fed with stock market rates encoded into electric currents, combined with an index-related conditioning diet of either rich or meagre rations of water and sunlight. This is an attempt to stimulate a market-adapted habitus, similar to that which years of financial transactions develop in the experienced stock brokers’ nervous system.

Zoo — Ching-Hui Chou (Taiwan)
Zoo — Ching-Hui Chou (Taiwan)
Zoo is a space full of imagination and conflict. It symbolizes a time of joy (for visitors), yet it also symbolizes a time of confinement and segregation (for animals). It symbolizes the convenience and marvels of modern life (a collection of rare animals from all over the world), and it also suggests a hint of the apocalyptic salvation of Noah’s Ark (protecting species on the verge of extinction). Cages in zoos are used as an allusion to modern people’s lives in cages.

Mobile Phone and Stone Tool — Shimabuku (Japan)
Mobile Phone and Stone Tool — Shimabuku (Japan)
A mobile phone is one of the newest devices of humankind, and a stone tool is the oldest. Actually, they are similar in some aspects. Firstly, the size is similar. When held in a person’s hand, some of them feel very much alike. Stone tools also have “memory” just like mobile phones. You could imagine “calling” or “taking a photo” with a stone tool.

Dangerous Computer Virus — Abu-Bakarr Mansaray (Sierra Leone/Netherlands)
Dangerous Computer Virus — Abu-Bakarr Mansaray (Sierra Leone/Netherlands)
Mansaray’s creations particularly focus on unusual yet sophisticated drawings and machines based on his scientific background. His preparatory drawings, created by pencil, ballpoint pen or crayons, seem to be blueprints, but they can be regarded as the characteristics of his artwork, as evidenced in the works shown at the Taipei Biennial 2014. There is no doubt that the conflicting, warring circumstances of Sierra Leone play an influential role in shaping Mansaray’s creative imagination and futuristic point of view. Even though his works, to some extent, bear witness to the horrors of war, it is still evident that Mansaray attempts to express the power of creation.

Decriminalization of Taiwanese Indigenous Hunting Rifles — En-Man Chang (Taiwan)
Decriminalization of Taiwanese Indigenous Hunting Rifles — En-Man Chang (Taiwan)
The term “decriminalization” refers to a situation where a previously illegal activity or action is designated legal. When legal behavior is suddenly reclassified as illegal, that is called “criminalization.” In a civilized society, how is it that the traditional hunting of indigenous peoples results in them being subject to the legal system of a different culture? In the past, hunters were the pride of the tribe, but they are now labeled criminals by the legal system because the prevailing political-economic system declines to respect cultural diversity.

Keep Soothe and Carry On — David Douard (France)
Keep Soothe and Carry On — David Douard (France)
The installation Keep Soothe and Carry On, made in 2014, is an installation that takes its starting point in its title, which Douard got from the classic English slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Reflecting present-day reality, this installation is represented in the form of a marketing slogan, with the launch of several derived objects (cups, T-shirts, posters…). That is why Douard has retained the R of a trademark, serving as a powerful symbol in the installation.

He decided to use this advertisement as a tranquilizer in society. The rest of the installation serves as elements of a disordered society which the slogan addresses

Buk  — Harold Ancart (Belgium)
Buk — Harold Ancart (Belgium)
Buk is a plastic bucket holding a smart phone that plays “The Ultimate Very Best of Elvis” on a loop. The bucket serves as a soundbox for the smart phone as it amplifies the sound of the music released through the speaker of the phone. This anticipative sculpture witnesses a fictional lifestyle improvement for homeless people in the future. No longer subject to cold, for they will all carry electronic warming systems incorporated into their jackets, the homeless people will reunite and party around Buk rather than metallic trash cans set on fire.

The Deluge – Noah’s Ark  — Hung-Chih Peng (Taiwan)
The Deluge – Noah’s Ark — Hung-Chih Peng (Taiwan)
Reflecting ferry disasters, floods and other recent ecological crises, Peng’s work The Deluge – Noah’s Ark attempts to show the impotence of human beings in the face of uncontrollable catastrophic challenges. The rapid acceleration in the Anthropocene era causes climate change, environmental pollution, and ecological crises. All the measures to control these problems seem to be in vain. Human beings are unable to return to the unspoiled living environment of the past, and have become victims of their own endeavors. This work serves as a metaphor exposing the collision between Mother Nature and the accelerated development of industrialized civilization.

*Correction: an earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum as the Taipei Museum for the Fine Arts.