variable dimension, acrylic on straw mat. 2010
A series of colourful straw mats made with people of rural Hebei. Each year in autumn, in the months of October and November, the residents of nearby villages are gathering to produce straw mats with scraps of the harvest, which are used to protect the hothouses during the winter. We added colours to the normal production process creating special pieces.
The 120KM project shifts the focus from the city to the countryside and the development set in motion since the last Five-Year Plan (2006-2011) which placed several key issues helping to elevate the conditions of farmers and rural population but radically changing at the same time secular traditions. For the first time ever in human history 50% of human population lives in cities or urban settlements. In traditionally rural China the emergency of this phenomena assumes the form of a high pace revolution, with an invasion of urban products to the countryside. The related risk is to turn upside down a whole rural culture overlapping new consumerist urban models on it. 120KM project crosses the territory of rural provinces of Hebei and Shandong, the territorial structure of which is a texture made of a fine dust fragmentation of rural villages and modern infrastructures. It composes an activity of social mediation, in the format of an open and un-planned journey carried out at different stages, involving people’s perception of changes, participatory consultation and awareness of their role in the evolution of their habitat.