Kai Wu Studio

Spring 2022


Xi Lei

Why Sangyuan Polder?
Speculative Green Rural Construction and Alternative Directions for Future of Aquaculture

The Sangyuan polder is a large-scale water conservancy project spanning Shunde and Nanhai in Foshan, which flourished during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The traditional mulberry dike fish pond system, the main mode of agricultural production based on the ecological cycle between land and water in this area, has now been almost replaced by modern intensive aquaculture. The conflict between economy and ecology has subsequently come to the surface. As an imagination of balancing both, contemporary cultural tourism projects in Foshan have packaged the Sangyuan polder and mulberry dike fish pond mode as cultural symbols representing harmony between land and water, which is a theme park-style world-making largely disconnected from the local realities.

With this as background, this project aims to investigate how the meanings of the Sangyuan polder and the mulberry dike fish pond are currently reshaped and integrated into the storytelling of speculative green rural construction, and how this storytelling unintentionally renders the potential for critical speculation in contrast to local reality. This project also attempts to evoke attention to non-human actors through combining research and creation in order to revisit the history of Sangyuan polder and explore alternative speculative directions for the future.

About Kai Wu Studio

Kai Wu Studio is an interdisciplinary program that supports artistic innovation. There will be two editions per year, during which time participants will receive three months of studio time, as well as artwork funding. Every participant will be provided with appropriate interdisciplinary collaborators, theoretical and technical support, flexible studio space, and basic technical equipment. The chosen participants are devoted to breaking down existing disciplinary frameworks, activating traditional technologies or finding opportunities for new technologies, developing value exchange models for all things, reflecting on anthropocentric creation, and providing alternative visions and proposals for the digital future.

Curators: Jianru Wu, Guo Yun

Collaborative Networks:
New media art production partner: Shanghai Helu Expo Culture Communication Co., Ltd.
Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area International Communication Research Center of Sun Yat-sen University
Research Center for Science and Human Imagination, Southern University of Science and Technology
CUHK (Shen Zhen) University Arts Centre
Shenzhen Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Society (AIRS)
HKUST (Guangzhou) Computational Media and Arts