Chinese residents of New York City are about to get a little homesick — or perhaps they will just be reminded of why they left China in the first place. Beginning October 20, New York based Brazilian artist Solange Fabiao will project her street scene videos of Shanghai and Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China, on a building facade on Canal and Centre Streets in New York City’s Chinatown. Called Transitio, Fabiao’s “city within a city” project will run through October 31 with nightly showings at 6:30 pm and 11 pm. Fabiao has been doing these Transitio things for a few years now, including one about New York (and Shanghai and Nanning) last year in Beirut.
This story says the Shanghai/Nanning piece is a “40-minute unedited, non-narrative film” shot mostly from moving cars. Sounds kind of like Shanghaiist’s last taxi ride to Hongqiao — not too exciting — which is likely the reaction most people who have spent any amount of time living in today’s China would have about the project. But despite the way it seems on any given afternoon outside the Portman Ritz Carlton, most New York residents have never been to Shanghai. So, a random cab ride — even a second-hand one — will likely feel pretty exotic. Remember your first cab ride here?
“There is no storyboard,” Fabiao said. “It is all about the interaction. When you see the video, maybe you are going to see one of the multiple stories that unfold.”
Fabiao said she is interested in promoting “a global dialogue” and in prompting viewers to consider their city’s relationship to its counterparts across the world.
The project’s arrival to Chinatown, further complicates the nuance. Residents of and visitors to Chinatown will experience a “parallel present” by catching glimpses of Shanghai and Nanning citizens going about their day, just as they do half a world away, Fabiao said.
Fabiao added that the video may bring a view of the city to those who are unable to visit China, and perhaps “it will be emotional, they will have to tell me,” she said.
Shanghaiist was curious whether a typical Shanghai resident would stop and watch a similarly random film about New York if it happened to be showing on the side of a building here. So we asked a typical Shanghai resident. “That’d be interesting,” he said. “I’d stop and look. It’s a new place I have never been to.”
Transitio installments in L.A., Beijing and Rio de Janeiro are planned for 2006.
Pause for a peek: See visions of China on a wall in Chinatown (New York Daily News)