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Artsy Magazine

Stories behind the sounds

Stories behind the sounds: My Work

Shipai Village

Guangzhou in the early nineties was the frontier of reform and opening up. People from the north and the south with their different dreams, a steady stream of Guangdong, in a shy and helpless time, this packed with ordinary people in the village, with its great inclusiveness to take them in, so they can easily find a temporary place to land, a place of rest.

During that time, Shipai Village gathered men and women from all over the country, with dreams of “gold mining”, busy running for their lives. Day and night, they continue to interpret their own life stories, or vibrant, or difficult confusion, or pain and helplessness, in this settlement, which does not see the sun all day long, releasing their different feelings of various colors.

In the new century, as the pace of urbanization accelerated, villagers built buildings in all the places they could in order to rent more houses. As a result, the village of Shipai formed today's strange handshake and kissing buildings, which nourish the construction of the city and are also providing a cheap and poor living space for foreigners who come from far away to make a living.

Today's Shipai Village, Sanyuanli and Guangzhou Station are known as the three chaos in Guangzhou, and Shipai Village is the first of the three chaos, a combination of black, chaos and porn. In fact, as early as 2002, Shipai Village has been included in the scope of Guangzhou's urban village restructuring, at that time also gave a "ten-year transformation of 138 urban villages," the grand blueprint. However, like many urban villages included in the plan, Shipai Village was caught in a protracted tug-of-war. As the most commercially valuable site, the transformation is a hair-trigger, it is not difficult to imagine the contradictions and controversies.

Like the basements in Beijing and the group houses in Shanghai, Guangzhou's urban villages have been providing a place for the majority of workers to settle down for years, while providing the city with a constant supply of relatively cheap labor. The buffering effect of the urban villages is in a sense not to be underestimated as the reason why Guangzhou has been able to rank behind North, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in terms of prices and housing.

The narrow alleys do not see the sun all year round, most streets can only pass a cart, some streets are really rubbing shoulders; walking in the street, underfoot from the broken sewage pipes flowing out of the sewage, from time to time there are rats; overhead, hanging outside the window never dry clothes, has been dripping water; air, filled with a pervasive smell of decay, these, are living in the stone village people are accustomed to These are all commonplace for people living in Shipai Village. The people who live here say, "Everything else can be tolerated, but I'm afraid that the fire trucks can't get in, they can't get in at all."

The people living in the village have obvious occupational characteristics, they are mostly outsiders who work in the computer city next to the Tianhe shopping district. The village is surrounded by more than ten computer cities and high-end shopping malls, bringing countless employment opportunities. In the evening, the "ants" who have been working outside for a day, come back to the village in groups to drink, play cards, Kan Shan, the night of the village is more lively than the day, but also bright.

For a long time, a complete ecosystem has been formed in Shipai Village. There are all kinds of stores here: department stores, restaurants, clothing, gas, medical, education, beauty, etc. Most of the operators are also long-term renters here, they are the village people "do not leave the village" to solve the various needs of daily life, over time, some also formed their own "old".

The corner that lacks sunlight never lacks dreams. The people who live here are like migratory birds who fly from all directions to stay here, whether they are businessmen, or people seeking and waiting for opportunities, or people who are trapped here in helplessness, they are all busy with their own livelihoods every day for their own survival, busy with ants, leaving early and returning late, passing by in a hurry, not having time to care about each other, and never stopping to look at each other. Their only common wish is that one day they can leave here with dignity.

Like many urban villages in China's big cities, Shipai Village operates an independent ecosystem that provides a shelter from the elements for countless people from other countries who are fighting for their dreams, although it is not beautiful. The future of Shipai Village, whether it disappears or not, is still in doubt, but in any case, those who have left their hometown to fight for their dreams alone always deserve to be treated gently by the world.

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