Living in Heaven

Translate :Luis Siva

Living in Heaven – Half-Field Land Development and Real Estate Expo – Cai Guo-jie Solo Exhibition

Text: Lu Zhengyuan artist, curator. Teacher of Central Academy of Fine Arts, deputy director of Installation Art Committee of China Urban Sculptor Association, member of Chinese Sculpture Society.

Maps, proposals, charts, building models, a virtual island… upon entering the exhibition hall one wonders whether this is an art exhibition or a real estate sales pitch. Where is the artist? Where are the works? Everything here, however, constitutes a especial site carefully constructed by the artist, one that lies somewhere between reality and fiction. It represents the most tangible reality, but also an escape from it. Here, the artist is not displaying his art in a conventional manner, but he’s rather playing with the rules of capital. Through subverting the conventional definition of an art exhibition, he expects every visitor to discover the ambiguous transactional manipulations behind ‘having a comfort home’.

The first exhibition hall, Beautiful Scenery, displays maps of Macao’s New Eight Scenic Spots. It is also the function venue for property sales seminar and academic seminar, featuring suggestion boxes to collect opinions on the urban planning of different districts. The second hall, Land Inventory, explores future land developments, presents developers’ ideas on land development and future planning models, as well as development proposals for a “new island” in Macao. The third hall, Transaction Done, is where the actual real estate expo takes place, inviting property developers for on-site promotions and the media for coverage, to create a bustling scene of property dealings. The fourth exhibition hall, Extracts, situates the Ban-tian Project Office, presenting extracted documents from the artist’s previous art projects and it’s where the Ban-tian Project briefing is held. 

Population explosion and economic prosperity created a greater demand for home buying, which in turn has fostered robust development in real estate business. Property projects are now offering more livability, environmental protection, high tech elements and higher quality, trying to create the ‘perfect dream home’ sought by people in pursuit of a beautiful life. On the minus side, the mortgage pressure faced by most, if not all, means heavier financial burden and struggle in life. In order to ‘Live in Heaven’ as promised by the developers, we have to live with financial burden, overwhelmed by anxiety.

And why all this? For the personal aim of having a “home” – a basic human need – or the consumerism fuelled by modern society, or the mirage of material possessions?

Is home-buying an intrinsic act of personal demand, or is it imposed on us by socioeconomic factors? These are the issues behind the vigorous real estate sales market, and this exhibition invites every viewer to develop his/her own answers, so as to understand the acute point behind rationality and reflect on whether material things can bring us a peaceful home for the soul.

The artist does not avoid the crucial issues of today, nor confronts the pressures on life resulting from urban development, or even try to use rules to combat rules. By aptly

exercising the right of using temporarily the exhibition site and leasing it to the developers, he just subverts power relations, creating a space intermingling art and property deals. In doing so, the artist opens a gap in the cold-hearted market rules allowing the audience and himself to escape albeit briefly from the overpowering capital. 

If Land “Is” Not Land

Text: Wu Jiarui Translate :Xu Caiyan

Ph.D. in Arts Phenomenology and Contemporary Art, The Institute for Collaborative Innovation in Chinese Visual Studies, China Academy of Art

When We Raise Questions About Land

Land, what on earth is land? By raising such a question we try to investigate or understand land’s existence.  To answer it, we have to start with the physicality of land – all things have form. When we look at land, firstly we eye on its appearance (“eidos” in ancient Greek). We always give it a form when we observe a land plot (although it’s inaccurate to describe such). Take for instance the lands sold by the Half-Field Planning Bureau. These could be an interspace, a space between two areas/borders; the thick separation between two floors of a building; or even the old walls wrapped by the new walls in a residence…and so on. We like to give land a form upon seeing it, as if the natural land did not exist – even though it could be presented in an articulated linguistic system, just as those lands sold by the Half-Field Planning Bureau mentioned above. However, it is still difficult to directly arouse the mental image of “land itself” in people’s subjective consciousness, and therefore it is hard to experience this.

If we switch the perspective and focus on the functions of land, we understand that land is certainly useful: nutrient-rich soil is suitable for cultivation (such as black soil in northeast China); as the base of buildings, foundations are built upon it; as a commodity land can be traded among real estate developers and even individuals for various purposes, and in the hands of land artists it becomes a creative material… All these show how the function of land as a material is defined by its form. In the end land always “serves some purpose”. This may be attributed to land’s inherent nature but in its own usability land itself tenaciously avoids being captured by thought; in the process of daily use “the usefulness itself has become useless, gradually wearing off, becoming tedious.” By contrast, near swamps, tundra, and seismic zones where its usability is compromised, land itself has the opportunity to manifest in human thoughts and inspire creations.

These and similar customary definitions represent popular understanding of land being land. The natural land in its original sense continues to be lost in conventional experience.

How Can Land “Be” Land

The truth of being is automatically set into works of art. When we talk about the truth of being, we mean that our knowledge of some thing conforms to the facts, or, that being has reached the truth (aletheia) of its own existence. In Cai Guojie’s works, the always self-enclosed natural land is comprehensible.

This understanding may come from voiding land’s usefulness in his Half-Field Plan. Whether it’s Le Murate in Florence, Yongkang Street in Taipei, or the Luxury Flats by Mountain Parks in Hong Kong, the land sold is to some extent invisible or unusable. The way the artist managed this type of land/space helped create a vacuum in land’s usefulness and reliability, so that the land made itself present on the site, and the truth of land’s existence was auto-set into these works.

The skilled manipulation/use of land by urban planners, real estate developers, landscape artists, and general consumers has long obscured land’s original state. Land as a resource becomes useless and transparent as it is continuously being used, so much so that it will never manifest itself unless disastrous natural events (landslides, earthquakes, soil exhaustion, etc.) take place. It is undeniable that “land” as a conceptual entity does not seem to mean much to humans, but pondering this issue is speculating on the relationship between humans and nature.

Under capitalism, it seems that modern man’s life goal is to complete the logic of consumption – consuming things and ruining lands discovered. The land purchased at the “Half-Field Planning Bureau” and the owner identity resulting (becoming) therefrom was originally a virtual space and virtual identity, respectively; yet, even though it consumed the buyer’s money (very little) and time, it is still unusable and even invisible. Despite the fact that in the latest exhibition, the artist presented these invisible lands through 3D scanning and printing technology, such concrete yet insufficient representation still points to this kind of land’s unusability, for the existence or essence of land is only imagined by the subject (observer), suspending in the subject’s thought about his/her own relationship with land or nature.

Upon seeing the works, viewers could not help asking, “Is this real land?” “Is it really mine?”, “What can I do with it?”, “How did he discover these lands?” … Then, what kind of land is considered “real”? And how does man measure his own value? Capitalists build a business empire to prove themselves; real estate developers claim to have provided dream homes to many; the middle class buy a number of properties just to feel more secured, and some others come to Guojie’s Half-Field Planning Bureau to spend money on a virtual space. What else possibilities are there for humans to satisfy their desires? Has the model of human desires been stereotyped by mainstream narratives? Is there any space (physical or psychological) that will not become a target for consumption? What is the buyer buying? The land itself or the consumerism itself? Or maybe both? All these questions hit the viewers during the artist’s creative activity, which all began with what is land.

According to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, every creative act is an act of resistance, but such an act is only able to endure if it has the power to “create” in order to “remove” the facts. Otherwise, no resistance is possible and the facts will always be more powerful. The land sold by Half-Field Planning Bureau is something whose usefulness has been voided. The sale of an “interspace” can be regarded as an act to “disclose” the land. When a customer buys and when a bystander watches the transaction being done, this virtual transaction actually breaks the experiencer’s perception of reality. That, according to Jean-François Lyotard, is an “absence”, or a “negative presentation” in Kant’s words. What exactly have we bought? How to tell we actually get it? Did such a transaction really happen?

After all, in the popular mind, the attribute of land – its usability – is no longer present, which rather makes possible the presence of land itself, that is, the presence of the original actual land, where land is being land itself. How can land really “be” itself, and as how it is intricically? The artist’s 3D-printed “Monument of Error” could be a symbol of the original real land that kick starts viewers’ thinking about the original truth of land. Real transaction, real land plot, its unusability and unpresentability. When “usability” – the most important attribute of land that defines how land is land – is taken way, how does the owner own the land? What kind of ownership is it? What is land? What is ownership? Amid this non-availability and non-presentability, these questions come up in the mind of the buyer/owner. Perhaps it is the aim of modern art to stimulate a person’s proactive thinking by providing a void of meaning.

As a shelter for land, the Half-Field Planning Bureau presents land in its original state, impacting the transparency of land in daily life, and allowing humans (as subjects) an opportunity to ponder about self.

We Defend the Honor of Difference

In Cai Guojie’s latest exhibition, the artist transcended his original identity,  participating in Macao’s urban planning by constructing the 9th New  Scenic Spot and introducting real estate developers into the art space, while switching their roles from developers to tenants. What he did can be seen as an act of “deterritorializing” and “reterritorializing” according to Deleuze’s vocabulary.  The artist discovered the borderlines and sold the interspaces in between; such acts were like forfeiting borders and deterritorializing identities: the artist became a real estate agent, and the real estate developers – providers of spaces – now became renters, and in face of refugee visitors, the artist morphed into a buyer who bought spaces from them … Here, the seamless land has become the mobile land, as the gap (forfeited as a result of the sale of the interspace) underwent a deterritorializing movement and thus created new space and new role, whose social identity is no longer static but constantly changing, looking for new forms of existence.

The artist mentioned that Macao is a society with many associations. Different associations are like clusters of societal clouds, each  responsible for their respective “micro-narratives”. Such a social structure implies the disintegration of metanarratives, just as what Jean-François Lyotard referred as “the best way to resist capitalist globalization is to increase the intensity of fragmentation of language games”. Both associative activities and artists’ deterritorializing creative efforts are increasing such fragmentation, emphasizing the differences. They may trigger the collapse of traditional justice, culture, and identity, while also enabling different languages to become legal on a wider scale, which in turn makes society more and more open and diverse.

We should embrace the glory of difference, dare to challenge mainstream definitions, and “activate the differences and save the honor of the name??”.

Cai Guojie’s Half-Field Planning Bureau is a sanctuary for land. By infusing in land the nature of “non-land”, he gives himself ‘the power to “create” to “remove” the facts’. This kind of interference offers strong individuals a chance for self-reflection, while also maintaining the legitimacy of differences. It is a most vivid, powerful example of an artist resisting mediocrity with creation.

December 3, 2019 in Hangzhou, China

“Homeland” and Belonging

“Homeland” and Belonging

Text:Li Lingzhi

This is not a dissertation, not even an article, but just a casual essay.

I’m not used to paying attention to trivial things. Occasionally I go to art exhibitions – in most cases just on an impulse, without deliberately understanding the background of the featured artist. Even if I decided to visit a contemporary art exhibition, I rarely read its promotional texts, which, of course, are supposed to be excellent articles. But for someone like me who have little exposure to contemporary art the vocabulary of the art field is rather cryptic. Therefore, being a super laid back person I preferred to engage directly with artworks but with Cai Guojie’s Half-Field Plan series it happened otherwise.

If not familiar with him, you can’t feel the intertwining contradictions in his works as well his love for the common people. He doesn’t present himself as such a persona but his subconscious is revealed through the works.

Touched by the Point and Language of Cai Guojie’s Half-Field Plan

Art is also a cultural issue but few young artists look at art from that perspective. Today’s youth suffer from anxiety and pains while growing up, but contemporary works rarely address these. Having little contact with society’s grassroots, artists inevitably end up creating works without spiritual vision, depth and the feeling of pains. In our era art requires languages from a deeper well. Cai Guojie reveals, in a philosophical framing, the suffering of the contemporary youth. The series of exhibitions of the Half-Field Plan and their meaningful language exposes a mental crisis brought by land ownership.

Mother Earth created humans with yellow earth, and they reproduce exponentially, either survive or get trampled. Meanwhile, the cloud of smoke created by mankind and the pressure of survival has never let go the grasses as humble as yellow earth, and has never given freedom to sentient beings as low as yellow earth. We are constantly struggling to obtain living space under our self-created pressures. While plants and trees thrive and wither, none of which can escape the cycle of life, and the earth, like a philosopher, beholds all these in silence, never uttering a word.

Currently living in Macao, Cai Guojie grew up in Taiwan living through a net of mixed forces, hence he did not get enough warmth and sufficient identity recognition, which has led to his weak sense of belonging. Additionally, anxiety and an unstable environment in his growth, made him very concerned about land and land ownership. Focusing on the issue of land ownership his Half-Field Plan presents step by step the entire land operation mechanism involving parties from the government to the developer, hoping that the visitors can feel the sharp issues behind the exhibitions while inviting their deep reflection on “who I am”.

Cai Guojie did not depict the contradictory manifestations of the human versus nature relationship, such as degraded ecological safety, tight resources, and environmental pollution. Instead, with a soft yet sharp approach he pointed straight to the reasons behind the complex relationship between man and land. Obviously he took a long time to ponder each step to be taken in the Half-Field Plan. Man is the active factor in the ‘man-land system’, and also the influencer of that relationship. Cai Guojie attracted the public into the space he had created, intending to guide them to reflect on the reasons behind the man-land relationship.

The Half-Field Plan explores the “power field” concept in art, involving a transfer of power from (abstract) concept to physical entity that exposes the issues of distribution of land and space in cities. Half-Field Plan takes interspace as the object on ownership agreement signed (with exhibition visitor), thus conducting a space/land sales activity. On the other hand, in order to pursue freedom missing in real life, the public is willing to purchase from the artist the borderline land between fantasy and reality, as a way to escape from reality.

Cai Guojie started to conceive the Half-Field Plan in 2004. It all began with his conceptual thought on the boundaries of lands. He exhibited works first in Taiwan, and later in Macao, Italy, Hong Kong, France, Beijing, with the concept gradually evolving into maturity.

When Cai Guojie elaborates his creative ideas, he likes to use languages from his true inner, yet absolutely well thought and refined. A first read of his article gave me a feel that he was using an ethereal language, inaccessible, one that was as if traveling through time and space. But it is definitely not composed of abstruse vocabularies. Once delving into it slowly, one would find it particularly flavorful. Words used by Cai Guojie are well honed and pertinent, in a way similar to how Tang poet Jia Dao pondered over the choice of every single word.

What Is Land Meant to Humans?

Land nurtures lives; land is from where we came and to which we belong. The legend that man was created out of earth is not a scientific truth, but rather a philosophical truth.

Everything in the world is evolving, in constant change and that applies to the relationship between man and land too. The history of man-land relationship is also that of human society. As interpersonal relationship and relationships between humans and land and between this and that land waded and waxed, a dynamic evolution in man-land relation has taken place. Essentially, the evolution of human-land relationship is a process where elements like humans and land contest with each other for development space. Rapid economic and social development and intensive resources exploitation have originated frequent conflicts between mankind and land on overloaded lands/spaces. As a result, man-land relationship has deviated from the smooth evolutionary path with a history of several thousand years, becoming more and more complicated.

At present, “land” appears sick due to humans’ over development, and as such there is an obstacle to sustainable development. Mankind has begun to seek coordinated development with land by vacating spaces used for other purposes for development while developing virtual spaces. However, can sustainable development be realized by such policies? What are the goals of sustainable development? For humans, land is life, yet can we own land even if more spaces are developed? And do we thus get any freedom?

Through the Half-Field Plan, Cai Guojie sheds light on the issue of land ownership, re-presenting the contradictious game of buying-and-selling land ownership. He fully reveals the land ownership mechanism operated by the government, land developers and real estate developers, resisting rules with rules themselves and hoping people to reflect on “who I am”.

“Homeland” Made Me Feel Awe And Yet More Pain

In 2019, Cai Guojie hosted the “Homeland” activity in Paris, France, where he bought from participating refugees the borderlines of their original residences. He invited the refugees to recall and draw pictures of their hometown houses and map the adjacent streets. The artist then purchased from these refugees ownership of margins of error (occurring when dividing land and floor spaces) and signed agreements with them.

In my view, Cai Guojie’s “Homeland” in the Half-Field Plan series created an impact able to touch the heart immensely. Like an acupuncturist, he cured patients in a very calm, accurate yet strong way. The sketches of the homes drawn by the refugees made me feel awe, or, I actually felt more pain than awe.

I don’t know how other visitors felt. When I learnt about this exhibition and read the programme, I just felt sad, for the artist, for the refugees, and for all the struggling people. Cai Guojie’s experience is the inspiration source for his creation and also the basis for his value judgment. I believe that he must have experienced some inner struggles when planning this event. For Cai, recalling homeland with the refugees could easily cause pain. Perhaps, as an expatriate, when he saw the refugees map their homes, his heart was crying.

While coming to understand what inspired Cai Guojie’s Half-Field Plan, while reading the works on display, I never felt ease in his exhibition. His works are not lively at all, despite that we were surrounded by visitors and that there might be exciting discussions brought about by the borderline transactions. Appreciating his work, I still felt lonely and painful, feelings that I only had had in exhibitions reminiscent of history. Cai Guojie’s artwork made me finally understand that, for us, the helpless ones, it will be so sad to just look forward to the future.

Questions Raised by “Homeland”

Whether in art appreciation or creation, memory is a very important factor. For Cai Guojie himself, for the refugees, and for the general public, original feelings and love for the homeland always remain there.  Awe for land, nostalgia for homeland, commitment to life, and yearning for freedom. These are what drive all civilizations’ development.

In “Homeland”, Cai Guojie reconstructed a scene mixing together memories and in-depth thinking, which served to attract public attention to land ownership. Yet, what he truly hoped was that the public would explore the reasons behind this issue.

Why do some people become refugees?

As a refugee, am I still entitled to land ownership?

Can I really sell land to the artist?

Why can’t I?

Where did my land go?

It was my land, isn’t it still mine now?

Who gave me land ownership?

Who deprived me of my land ownership?

Why does my land ownership have to be given?

Shouldn’t Iand be a birthright?

Who am I? ? ?

Why “Homeland” Chose The Refugee Community

‘International refugees’ generally refer to people who have been forced into exile, due to natural disasters, wars, or political persecution and refugee problem is now an acute cross-border international issue with millions of refugees from Eastern European countries, Africa and Asian countries having swarmed into Western Europe.

The refugee issue is always tangled with politics and politics is an eternal topic of contemporary art. When art deals with politics, it will certainly be sharp and pungent in confronting the world’s power establishment. Cai Guojie did not rush into the political topic, however, using the refugees as a reference he demonstrated and explored the issue of land ownership. Doing so, he prompted us to think anew: are we not also refugees?

Syrian refugees were required to provide property ownership certificates while the war was still going on. Their plight is still fresh. When millions of Syrians were forced to abandon their homes during the war, President Assad issued a new decree requiring residents to register (with the government) their residences within one month. Failing to do so would mean that properties would be confiscated. To the millions of Syrian refugees who were displaced, this politically charged decree would make them lose their homes forever. Refugees who have been forced into exile would lose the land, which means life to them. They have to live in a new country or a new place, without a sense of belonging, with a worsening identity crisis.

We and refugees both need a sense of belonging. Maslow, a known American humanistic psychologist, proposed the theories of hierarchy of needs in his work Motivation and Personality. He believed that “the needs for love/belonging ” are important psychological needs of humans, and “self-actualization” can only be fulfilled by meeting those needs. People’s sense of belonging reflects the indivisible relationship between individuals and the cultural world. Sense of belonging is the basis of individual spiritual needs and is the mother of all meanings. An individual’s missing the basic sense of belonging would give rise to loneliness. Human beings always strive to regain a sense of belonging by all means.

The Call for Returning to Land and for Freedom

The history of man-land relationship evolution is also a history of human development and of the formation of humanistic nature. Mankind’s infinite demand and pursuit in regard to survival and development is the potential main thread in the evolution of man-land relationship. Only by rebuilding a sense of cultural belonging and a spiritual connection between man and land, returning to land, respecting, treating well, and adapting to land, can we fundamentally improve cultural identity and identity recognition. Returning to land means returning to it in its widest sense, not just in economic or other senses. Real freedom can only be attained by understanding land anew and rebuilding a harmonious man-land relationship.

Stories about refugees are as long and as rich as human history. For every country, every people, every person, at a certain place or time, we could all be the refugees. Cai Guojie is a stubborn and brave fighter, a pioneer on his own. It is not difficult to dare to challenge, but he does so on a universal dimension and raises in-depth questions about land ownership on behalf of all struggling people. He introduces people to the reality and thus makes his work more soul-stirring.

Enclosed is a note of my feelings:

Why I always have tears in my eyes?

Because I love this land so deeply…

“The Second Scene”——Basic Position on Event Art

“The Second Scene”——Basic Position on Event Art.

By Shi WanWan

In 2004, Cai Guojie started his imaginative “Land boundary selling plan”at the corner stores in Taipei. In the following ten years, Cai Guojie continued to sell his land all over the world: The boundary line between the two pieces of land, a ” Land without owner” hidden between various power spaces. As long as you like, you can buy the world’s borders from the artist. This later officially named “Half-Field plan”, which proposed an artist-style land reform: land reform in the power gap. This is a typical event art, also known as the art of   creation in the ground.

Event art is not aimed at creating images, shapes and forms. Most of them occur in public environments or public issues. They are one-time creations, and works cannot leave the actual context and cannot be copied. The works can only present the “event process” through a comprehensive medium such as images, documents, sounds and physical evidence. Therefore, formalist artists do not like event art, first because event art cannot provide “formal aesthetics”, and this is precisely an aesthetic experience that is very important in art. In the eyes of modernist artists, the vividness of a work is done by form, and form is art. At the end of the 19th century, British art critic Clive Bell once said: “Art is a meaningful form.” Form is not a reproduction of meaning, the form itself is all. So we can see that many modernist works take form innovation as the most important goal, and the exhibition hall becomes the form of space scene, which is the “theatre” pointed out by Michael Fried.

In fact, we can now see that this “theatre” – the exhibition space is facing a trend of standardization and homogenization, due to the identity of the space, the exhibition hall is becoming the “space production”, which is pointed out by Henri Lefebvre: the space is constantly copied and reproduced under the circumstance of instrumental rationality and consumerism. For example, the Super Gallery, the New York showroom and the Hong Kong showroom are homogeneous in time and space. In this sense, space has wiped out time and space has lost its scene. Art needs to escape from the exhibition hall and find a new place where the “event” takes place – a scene that resists identity and space production, that is, grounded creation.

Second, when the event becomes art, the controversy is even more: Is the event a simple material for art production? Is the artist consuming the event? The potential implication is: Do you still need art in front of the event? The French philosopher Alain Badiou said: “Events are the way to the truth,” and events occur only in certain areas and under certain conditions. There are four such areas: art, science, love, and politics. “Events” cannot be in a constant place, only in unstable “situations”, and “the event itself cannot be (directly) represented”

In the year from 2016 to 2017, artist Ma Yujiang completed his 《How Heavy is the Night》by collecting the consumer credentials of the homeless in Hong Kong. These extremely short bills displayed in the works reveal the constraints on the living space of these bottom-level workers in Hong Kong. This work has displayed the highly developed capitalist in Hong Kong and its special side: on the one hand, the international urban space squeezes the living space of the bottom laborers; on the other hand, consumption and business become the most basic ethical logic of human-to-human interaction. Homeless people get the basic reason to stay overnight at McDonald’s through minimum spending, not just sympathy and charity help.

Alan Badiou believes that “there can be event field in the historical context.” In Ma Yujiang’s works, the survival needs of the homeless and the nighttime McDonald’s space game constitute the first scene (fact) of the event. The works created by the artist constitute the “appearance” of the “facts” – events. The ground-based scene and the exhibition hall constitute an important structural relationship: the facts in the historical scene (situation) and the events that are revealed, that is, the first scene and the second scene.

The basic attributes of the work are established, that is, the second scene of the event, the first scene can be complete, and the event is “historic.” On the other hand, there is no second scene, the first scene is only a general natural situation, a neutral situation. Alan Badiou believes that the occurrence of events is not the inevitable result of historical laws. The historical law (the so-called objective truth) is precisely the product of the retrospective construction of events. It is not overnight that McDonald’s can explain Ma Yujiang’《How Heavy is the Night》, but the work 《How Heavy is the Night》 makes ” Overnight at McDonald’s ” become understandable. The “artistic” of the work is to reveal the first scene to the greatest extent and to establish a path to “truth”. This is the basic standpoint of “event art” and “art in the ground” as the second scene, and the full meaning of the “truth” of art.

August 18, 2019.

In Suzhou

Tak Chun Art Garden

“Tak Chun Art Garden”

– Cai Guojie’s solo exhibition

Preface

“Conceiving philosophy as a conceptual generation, and art as an emotional generation is to be in the field of mobility, placement, and distribution.”

– Gilles Deleuze

The “Half-Field Project” is an imaginative art project by artist Cai Guojie. Starting from the “Linear Store” implemented in Taipei in 2004, Cai Guojie borrowed the land development and sales model to sell the boundary line between the land sections in the world. It is a borderline that is a mixture between various “spaces of power” and “spaces of consumption”. In the game of selling the borderline, the “Half-Field Project” suggests a solemn concept: the space of power and the jurisdictional boundary.

What is space? What is the space of power? After the French philosopher Henry Lefebvre published “The Production of Space” in the 1970s, the academic understanding of space gradually shifted from ontology to practice, recognizing that in the developed capitalist world, capital ruled our lives with space. There is a “turn to space” that took place: in developed capitalist society, capital is no longer satisfied through profit from producing goods, and space becomes the object of production and the object of reproduction. In the same era of Space Production Theory, the French philosophers Deleuze and Guattali proposed the theory of “Jurisdiction of Space” and “Deterritorialisation.”

“Jurisdiction of Space” and ” Deterritorialisation” are aesthetic concepts proposed by Deleuze and Guattari by means of geography theory, which actually refers to the process of people fleeing from the existing space of desire (Guattari called it De-coding, De-jurisdictionalisation). That is to say, if we understand the present space as the composition of various spaces of power and consumption, and that these spaces rule our lives and control our thoughts, then escaping from the jurisdiction of space becomes a necessary means to get rid of control. Therefore, we can see that with the help of the “Half-Field Project”, Cai Guojie discovered in art practice that there is a boundary between various spaces of power and consumption in real life. This boundary is hidden in the gaps and misplacement of spaces. This boundary has the characteristics of “non-ownership” and “differentiation”. These characteristics make it possible for us to escape from the rule of space. Deleuze called this important way of “Deterritorialisation ” as an “escape line.”

Different from his previous “Half-Field Project”, the artist’s current solo exhibition “Tak Chun Art Garden” in the Macau Art For All Society records and exhibits the continuous re-circulation process after the sale of “a land line” in front of the Tak Chun Macau Art Garden. “Tak Chun Art Garden” is a brand new attempt in the entire “Half-Field Project”. The artist gives up the production control of the work and makes the work flow and spread in nature. As long as humans recognize the exchange of such forms, this project will continue to circulate over time, self-generating, never ending, and is “nomadic” in its nature: the flow of decentralization (de-centering) process and the breeding of aesthetic characteristics. This flowing line in “Tak Chun Art Garden” has become the artist’s determination to resist the structure of the old rule of space, “Deterritorialising” in nomadism, flowing and spreading. This is a new and profound aesthetic attempt.

Shi Wanwan

August 16th, 2019 in Nantong

Curatorial Text of the ” Half-Field Plan ” in Florence


Curator, text: Livia Dubon

Guo Jie Cai’s conceptual and performative work questions the idea of “belonging” related to the concept of ownership. The artist is thus linked to all the literature, starting with Deleuze and Guattari (1972), which sees in capitalist societies the imposition of the market abstract values against more concrete needs. Moving away from this capitalist logic, by “de-territorializing”, the meaning of ‘land’ can change: it is no longer an abstraction, an agreement on a map, but a series of actions that we perform, in response to what surrounds us, stimulated by material necessities. Perhaps it is not the land that belongs to us, but us to her. Like the concept of “de-colonization”, “deterritorialization” aims to remind us of the relativity of these values and the origin of these concepts: they are a product of the Global North. For Cai, the West has a history characterized by continuous mutilation, violence, and reunification in the name of abstract and political borders. With his work, he wants to remind us of the ‘natural’ state and the need to ‘de-territorialize’ so as to see the land as seamless space, free from the desire of ownership. For this reason, Cai explores the cadastral maps, looking for hiatuses of free ownership which, however small, symbolize a different value. The virtual sale of these spaces, reiterating the process of “re-territorialization” of capitalism, aims to mimic and, at the same time, to challenge the action of institutions which represent this process: states and real estate companies.

Contribution of Real Estate Industry to Social Development in Macau

Zhong Xiaojian

President, Macau General Association of Real Estate

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and the 20th anniversary of the return to the motherland. Reviewing the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the development process since the return, with the strong support of the Central Government and the joint efforts of the Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region (Macau SAR Government), Macau achieves stable political environment, prosperous economy, social harmony, and improvement of people’s living standard that are witnessed by world’s attention. The leaping development has written a new chapter in the successful practice of “one country, two systems.”

Macau’s economic growth has promoted the development of the city. In the 20 years since its return, the real estate industry has played a significant role in the rapid development of Macau’s economy and the improvement of urban functions. It has opened a huge market, for the only 30 square kilometers land in Macau. It can maintain leaping development and is inseparable from the return and Reform and Opening. The society and the economy have fell across the new phase of the fastest development period in history. It has experienced enormous changes in the past 20 years, and residents have rewarded a sense of happiness and gain. Macau’s overall economy has achieved leapfrogging development, with per capita GDP reach to the top in Asia and the second in the world.

Macau ’s GDP, fiscal revenue, and social security expenditures have all continued to increase significantly. Macau ’s residents ’welfare and safeguards have continued to improve, and the unemployment rates have declined year by year. In the World Economic Outlook reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August 2018, Macau will become the world’s highest per capita GDP city by 2020 and will be the world’s richest region. In recent years, with the return of Macao, the in-depth Reform and Opening of the Mainland, the development of gambling operation rights, the signing and implementation of CEPA, and the launch of the Mainland Hong Kong and Macau Free Travel Policy, Macau’s tourism and real estate industries have achieved rapid growth. Macau’s own market is limited, and it needs to rely on external markets. Macau has a narrow land and wants greater development. It needs to deepen its cooperation with the mainland, in order to boost its development potential and strengthen its development dynamic in regional cooperation.

China has undergone more than 40 years of Reform and Opening and has become the second largest economy in the world. The prosperity of Hong Kong and Macau is increasingly integrated and linked with the Mainland. After Macau’s return, customs clearance at the port was facilitated, and the transportation network was well-developed. It achieved the maximum smooth flow of capital, people, and information between the Mainland and Macau. It extended a huge external market for Macau and accelerated the development of various industries including the real estate industry. The impact of the real estate industry on the economic development of Macau is the home of the country, and housing is the material condition of the home for residents. As long as solving the housing problem, to build a stable and harmonious society. The housing problem has become a big problem in China, including Macau.

Currently, the real estate industry is the second largest pillar industry in Macau, after the gambling industry. Gambling tax has contributed the most to Macau’s fiscal revenue, with contributions exceeding 50% over the years. However, the real estate industry in Macau cannot be underestimated. Taxes related to the real estate industry are an important part of Macau’s fiscal revenue, as early as 2011, the Macau real estate industry had already employed 56,200 people. Therefore, it has a strong ability to boost employment, effectively easing employment pressure in Macau; the real estate industry also has an important role in promoting other industries.

The real estate industry is the foundation of all economic activities investment, and its development reflects the quality of life of Macau residents. In addition, Macau’s real estate industry associations have actively cooperated with various government policies over the years, it has done a lot of accomplishments in housing and urban reconstruction. In order to promote the upgrading of the local housing industry and enhance the competitiveness of the city, Macau actively promulgated relate policies of the real estate industry.

Macau is committed to developing into a smart tourism city to meet the current development trend of the global tourism industry. Therefore, the Macau real estate industry cooperates with the SAR government to actively develop the tourism real estate industry in a more diversified and higher quality direction. The Macau Real Estate Associations, in conjunction with the economic development and land planning formulated by the SAR government, are improving service facilities and the living environment of residents based on improving land utilization. At the same time, Macau is a place where Chinese and Western cultures gather. Macau’s real estate focuses on seeking common ground while reserving differences. The architectures display the characteristics of cultural exchanges, maintaining and highlighting the atmosphere of harmony and diversity.

There are considerable prospects of Macau’s real estate industry. It is expected that the real estate industry is an important part of the national economy, and it occupies a very important position in the development of Macau’s economy. Macao is a narrow and densely populated area with scarce land resources. Land has been, in the past, and even the future, the most precious resource of Macau. Looking at the development process of the Macau real estate market, we can find that it has maintained a good development trend in general, and it is greatly affected by the supply and demand relationship of the Macau market, and social and economic encouragements from the Mainland.

In recent years, the overall tone of the tightening of real estate regulation in Macau has remained unchanged, and the intensity of macro-control will continue to strengthen. At the same time, as the property market enters the period of stocks and the downward pressure on the overall profitability of the real estate industry, it is necessary to excite the vibrancy of real estate industry. In addition, it needs to innovate the land use, optimize land allocation, promote intensive and efficient land use, to accelerate the development of Macau.

Judging from the total number of per capita property transactions per year from Macau real estate brokers in recent years, the situation of real estate agency in Macau continues to struggle, but the real estate market in Macau will continue to develop steadily. Despite the pressure of the real estate market in Macau in the next few years, since Macau’s economy has a solid foundation, it’s enabled to maintain healthy and stable development. At the same time, this year’s government establishes a number of initiatives involving the real estate industry, outlines the development prospects of the pension industry, urban renewal and other fields, to provides a direction for the diversified transformation of real estate industry. Therefore, the future of Macau’s real estate industry is still promising.

Luxury Flats, -Cai Guo-jie Solo Exhibition by Chen Kuang-yi

Luxury Flats by Mountain Parks

– Cai Guo-jie Solo Exhibition

Text: Chen Kuang-yi

PhD holder in Contemporary Art History from Paris X Nanterre (University of Paris X Nanterre); Professor of the Graduate School of Fine Arts and Dean of the College of Fine Arts at National Taiwan University of Arts

Liminal

Cai Guo-jie’s ” Half-Field Plan “, originally a site-specific art project on different urban locations, has been going on for more than 10 years -with exhibitions evolving from the Yong Kang Street, Taipei in 2004, the Warehouse No. 20, Taichung in 2005, to the Macao Ox Warehouse in 2015 and the Post-ox Warehouse Experimental Site and the Tap Seac Gallery in Macao in 2018, and then from Florence, Italy the same year to the NIDO Asia gallery in Hong Kong this time.

These maps from Cai, though looking completely different from his previous colourful paintings of cityscapes, originate from the same idea: urban tranformation results in decentralisation, deconstruction and loss of functionality of the city while hindering spatial readability and generating nostalgia among other things. Therefore the maps evoke viewers’ memories about transformations and reconstructions, while also triggering relevant imaginations. It does not matter if they are drawings or a project.

The exhibition shows cadastral maps, city maps and other big maps along with pictures of buildings instead of landscape paintings. This technique of urban depiction was based on a train of thought related to mapping, triggered by Charles Beaudelaire’s concept of flânerie and Guy Debord’s theory of Dérive. These ideas were further developed by Robert Smithson, who had built a system of “sites” and “non-sites”: “sites” refer to specific places in the world characterised as panoramic, borderless, decentralised and incomprehensible territories in which all historical and cultural concepts are nullified; “non-sites” are the museum-based displays of the materials, photographs, maps, survey diagrams, etc. of these specific places, which collectively summarised these geographic sites in an abstract manner.

Early modern artists often regarded maps as a symbol of power. “Maps give men and women the power of gods and captains,” said Robert Storr while curating the exhibition Mapping at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1994. Meanwhile, the global geopolitical instability and the emergence of urban politics have led artists to use cartography to try to visualise gradual power shifts.

In his attempt, Cai Guo-jie does not only address the dialectic relationship between sites and non-sites but also clearly focus on territorial power and ownership rights. The artist presents a large number of cadastral maps (most related to the exhibition location) used in land sales, land contracts and notices of land sales. Moreover, he sets up an office table on which virtual deals could be made, with simulated land purchase contracts being signed between himself /real estate agent and any visitors. As soon as the ‘deal’ is inked, the sold plots would be marked on the maps exhibited. Such ‘performance’, taking place in Hong Kong, a place known for its land shortage and high housing costs, will undoubtedly attract huge public attention, as it addresses thorny local issues like stratospheric home prices, revitalization of old blocks, allocation of public housing and deteriorating living conditions.

However, how can an artist have land resources for sale? Does he have the right to sell them? How does art reveal or expose the issue of urban space allocation, and “show, interpret, work out and reconstruct the power across media and space?” – just as what the artist has proudly claimed.

In my opinion, Cai has cleverly answered this crucial question by introducing the concept of liminality. This anthropological term developed by Victor Turner has been used widely in different senses: in psychology, it means being at a sensory threshold or barely perceptible to the senses; in describing a person, it refers to someone living in between two identities. A liminal space is yet-to-be-defined, contradictory, transitional and in between two things (entre-deux). As a self-dubbed borderline manager, Cai sells “interspaces”, a designation he gives to areas that arise from the inevitable margins of error occurring when dividing land and floor spaces. His act may seem rather absurd and ridiculous, but the idea of selling these barely perceptible, indefinite and transitional spaces as someone in between an artist and real estate agent in a venue that is half-gallery, half-real estate agency makes it poetic, even if it is raising important issues about ownership of urban spaces and the art market economy. The visitors welcome it with open arms because at little cost they can get an imagined space to escape from reality.

Finally, notwithstanding the artist’s performance art and visitors’ participation, it is noteworthy that all the cadastral maps, floor plans and survey diagrams.

《房地產業對澳門社會發展的貢獻》

澳門地產業總商會 會長 鍾小健

今年是新中國成立 70 周年及澳門回歸祖國 20 周年的標誌性一年。回 顧中國特色社會主義建設及回歸以來的發展歷程,在中央政府的大力 支持下,在澳門特別行政區政府的共同努力下,澳門政治穩定、經濟 繁榮、社會和諧、民生改善,已經實現了讓世人矚目的跨越式發展, 譜寫了“一國兩制”成功實踐的新篇章。澳門的經濟發展促進了城市 的建設,回歸 20 年來,房地產業在澳門經濟的高速發展與城市功能 完善方面,扮演了重要的角色。
回歸祖國為澳門打開巨大市場 面積只有 30 多平方公里的澳門,能夠保持跨越式發展,與回歸和改 革開放密不可分。澳門回歸後,社會和經濟迎來了歷史上發展最快的 時期,過去 20 年的變化翻天覆地,居民也得到了實實在在的幸福感 和獲得感。澳門整體經濟實現跨越式發展,人均 GDP 躍居亞洲第一、 世界第二。澳門本地生產總值、財政收入和社會保障支出均持續大幅 度增長,澳門居民福利和保障措施不斷完善且居民失業率則逐年下降。 國際貨幣基金組織(IMF)在 2018 年 8 月發表的《全球經濟展望》中 預測,到 2020 年澳門將成為全球人均 GDP 最高的城市,登上全球最 富地區寶座。 近年來 , 隨著澳門回歸、內地改革開放的深入、博彩經營權的開發、 CEPA 的簽訂實施、內地港澳自由行政策的推出 , 使得澳門的旅遊業、 地產業都實現了快速發展。 澳門自身的市場有限,需要依靠外部市場。澳門地域狹窄,想有更大 的發展,需要深化同內地的合作,在區域合作中拓寬自身發展空間, 增強自身發展動力。中國經歷了 40 餘年的改革開放 , 已經位居世界第 二大經濟體 , 港澳的繁榮越來越與內地相融合、相聯繫。澳門回歸後, 口岸通關便利,交通網絡順暢,實現了內地和澳門之間資金流、人流、 信息流的最大限度暢通,為澳門打開了巨大的外部市場,帶動了包括 房地產業在內的各個行業的發展。
房地產業對澳門經濟發展的影響 家為國之本,房屋是家的物質條件。解決居民的住房問題,才能建立 穩定和諧的社會。住房問題已經成為包括澳門在內的中國的一個大問 題。 目前房地產業是澳門的第二大支柱產業,僅次於博彩業。博彩稅對澳 門財政收入的貢獻最大,歷年貢獻均超過了 50%。但是澳門房地產業 也不可小覷,與房地產業相關的稅收是澳門財政收入中重要的組成部 分;早在 2011 年澳門房地產業已經吸納就業人口 5.62 萬人。所以, 澳門房地產業具有強大的吸納就業人口的能力,有效緩解了澳門的就 業壓力;房地產業拉動澳門經濟增長,也對其他行業具有重要的推動 作用;房地產業是澳門各項經濟活動的基礎性投資,它的發展情況體 現澳門居民生活質素。
此外,澳門各房地產行業協會 , 多年來積極配合政府各項政策,在住 房和城市改造建設方面做了大量卓有成效的工作。為了推動當地房產 業提質升級並增強城市競爭力,澳門積極出臺房地產業創新相關政策。 澳門致力於發展成為一個智慧旅遊城市,以適應當前全球旅遊業的發 展趨勢。所以,澳門房地產業配合特區政府積極將旅遊地產業往更多 元、更優質的方向發展;澳門各房地產協會協同特區政府制定的經濟 發展及土地的規劃,在完善服務設施及重視改善居民居住環境的基礎 上,致力於提升土地的利用率。與此同時,澳門是中西文化薈萃之地, 澳門房地產注重求同存異,在建築形式上亦表現出文化融合的特徵, 維持並彰顯了交融和諧的氛圍。
澳門房地產業前景可期 房地產業是國民經濟重要的組成部分,澳門房地產業在澳門經濟發展 中佔有相當重要的地位。澳門是一個地狹人稠的地區,土地資源稀缺, 土地在過去、現在乃至將來,都是澳門最寶貴的發展資源。 綜觀澳門房地產市場的發展過程,可以發現其總體上保持了良好的發 展勢頭,且其受內地社會經濟環境和本澳市場供求關係的影響很大。 近幾年,澳門房地產調控收緊總基調保持不變,宏觀調控力度將持續 加強;同時,隨著樓市進入存量時代、房地產行業整體盈利水平存在 下行壓力的背景下,需要加大產業地產佈局力度。此外,還需創新土 地利用方式,優化土地配置,促進土地的集約高效利用,為澳門發展 提供活力。 從近幾年的澳門房地產經紀全年人均住宅成交總數看,澳門房地產仲 介行業經營繼續舉步維艱,但是澳門房地產市場仍會平穩發展。未來 幾年雖然存在澳門房地產市場危與機並存的壓力,但本澳經濟根基穩 健,令澳門房地產業可以保持健康穩定發展。同時,今年的政府工作 報告有多項舉措涉及房地產行業,勾勒出養老產業、城市更新等領域 的發展前景,為房地產企業的多元化轉型提供了方向。所以,澳門房 地產行業的未來依然可期。


澳門地產業總商會 會長

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