Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Day 3 - Contradictions

Back to the list

  1. 'Complete' Fallout 4
  2. 'Complete Homeworld 1 and 2 HD editions
  3. Paint the remaining Raven Guard Warhammer 40k models
  4. Hang around the Games Workshop store like a nerd
  5. Go to 5 new museums or art galleries in Shanghai
  6. Gym every other day
  7. Plan teaching for the start of the new Semester. (TS unit, plus 1 week of Math + English)
  8. EPIC gaming session in Diablo 3
  9. Sort and take photos of Shanghai and other places
  10. Take care of the wife I realise this isn't exactly the best way to say whatever I intended for this point. OOPS
  11. BONUS: Trip to Hangzhou
  12. DOUBLE BONUS: Keep this blog updated

Shanghai Poster Art Museum aka. The Propaganda Museum

Shanghai and China is a bunch of contradictions. One place this is shown from a recent historical perspective is the lovely and decidedly hidden Shangai Poster and Art Museum.

Can you see the sign?
You find it at the bottom of a residential tower, in the basement, and round a corner. And it is what many consider the best museum in Shanghai. Here is a repository of posters created for the masses and also for a overt political purpose. At first this was a grass roots, centralised expression of joy - or future joy - at the expected development of society by printers and intellectuals. Later work became directed by the state.
You might not be able to see it, but this is a poster celebrating democracy.
Here is where the contradiction is interesting. The work is shown in chronological order and as much as the style develops over time from the Shanghai Girls in the 1940s-50s towards the more utilitarian and 'proletarian' of the Cultural Revolution, the messages in the posters themselves change, revolve and eclipse each other. The poster about democracy is a good example, but another is the way in which the relationship of China and Russia are expressed. Or indeed, who are the imperialists? The US certainly, but not those in the US who are campaigning for equal rights (I imagine, until the civil rights situation improved, and then they were imperialists again).

I love these contradictions as much as they make me feel uneasy. In the end, it seems to me, that it shows quite how much of an experiment in governance Communism was. Those contradictions, those sudden changes of ideals, lack the depth of experience and thus were often struck down. Towards the end of the exhibit there is a poster which uses the face of Einstein and the quote "The only source of knowledge is experience." Maybe someone, somewhere, in authority realised this.

Just keep running, running-running.

I went to the gym today, to attempt my pledge to go every other day. In some ways this seems the lest likely of the list, as I can clearly see times when it wont be achieved. But I will try, from now. I hve waited until today to start as the last time I went I suffered from some pain and shortness of breath in my chest. It was nothing. But I thought a couple of days off was a good idea.

I completed 10k in 43 minutes and 16 seconds. Pretty happy with it! My best time was in the 42 minute bracket. But 43 minutes is great!
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