30 Videos/30 days: CHINA


30 Videos/30 Days:CHINA, was a project I did in collaboration with Parsons New School for Design in 2010. Every year for the past three years Parsons organizes a month long trip to China in order to collaborate with a number of different Chinese Universities. The idea of this series was to create one video for every day of the trip that some how represented the experiences of the day in a creative way. For the most part the goal was achieved and actually exceeded, some days were so long and eventful there were multiple videos made and the final amount of episodes exceeded well over 30 videos. I managed to keep up the editing for the first 15 days of the trip while in Beijing, but as the trip moved to E-Arts in Shanghai the days began to get more complex. In order to compensate for these complexities, I had to shoot more video and the shoots got longer and longer. So in the interest of getting the footage, the editing had to take a backseat. The days in China were very unpredictable and I never knew which group was doing what or which group I would be following on what days. Every day was a new challenge to overcome and a new test in the endurance of producing a massive amount of content with out an chance for pre-production or planning.

The project resulted in a webseries that chronicles the experiences and exploits of 3 groups of students from Parsons School of Design. The New Media group, whose focus was on Design and Technology, while experimenting with different devices developed by the Tsinghua engineering department. The Humanitarian group, whose focus was on developing ideas and concepts dealing with Disaster Management Capacity Building (DMCB) and Migrant Youth in collaboration with Nokia and Mercy Corp. The Sight=Site group, focused on the creation of fine art under the Exquisite Corpse model. There were also non-academic days where most of the students had the day off, except for yours truly, so I went on a few adventures to make sure that I would have some interesting footage to turn into a video for that day.

Special thanks to my friends: Xuan Zhang, James Hung, & Lan Xi, without their help this series would not of been possible.


Here is the chronicle of events as they happened during the Parsons New School for Design 2010 trip to China:

DAY 01 Ep. 01 “From NYC To Beijing, China”

This is the first episode of a new sort of real time video log/ documentation of my China trip with Parsons New School for Design during the summer of 2010. Making the video is not hard, the main challenge is finding a website to post the videos, which is not blocked here in China. *(At the time of posting I moved forward by uploading them to the BlightProductions.com server so that I could post. Fortunately, my site at the time had not been blocked by China)


DAY 02 Ep. 02 “Tiananmen Square”

This is the second episode of a new video log/ documentation of my China trip with Parsons New School for Design during the summer of 2010.


DAY 03 Ep. 03 “Tsinghua University”

Here is the third installment of 30/30 where I visit Tsinghua University and meet a really cool Chinese design student. Enjoy.


DAY 04 Ep. 04 “The Sight=Site Group”

I spent the day with the Sight=Site group and this is what I found out:


DAY 5 Ep. 05 “Yuanmingyuan Park”

So, on day five I went to the amazing YuanmingYuan Park and hung out with the Sight=Site group again, this time I documented the creative processes of Jeanne Kelly and Felicia Wong,  while they drew inspiration from the environment in order to develop a work of art. I was also able to interview two more Tsinghua university students, but I did not have time to put them in this episode, look forward to their interviews soon.


DAY 06 Ep. 06 “The Dandelion School”

On day six, we visited a really interesting school designed to educate the children of migrant workers. Check it out:


DAY 07 Ep. 07 “798 Arts and a Hip-hop Battle”

On the 7th day of the Parsons China trip we went to the most amazing art’s district “798” and the an incredible Chinese MC/Break Dancing Battle. Unexpectedly in the Arts district, I ran into a beautiful exhibit by one of my favorite videos artists Tony Oursler. Then, at the dance battle, the entire Parsons crew was schooled in cultural relations when Danny Greiger (The only non hearing person in our group), jumped into the dance battle and held his own while facing off with some badass Chinese dancers.


DAY 08 Ep. 08 “The Ghost Market & Xiaolongbao”

Today we went to the “Ghost Market” and walked all over Beijing eating amazing food. Enjoy.


DAY 09 Ep. 09 “What are we doing here?”

Today’s video showcases several Chinese students and some of the Parsons faculty discussing their perspective of the 2010 Parsons China Trip.


DAY 10 Ep. 10 “Meet Some Parsons Students”

In this episode we get to learn a bit more about four very interesting Parsons MFADT students and how the China experience has effected them so far.


DAY 11 Ep. 11 “Write On Me – A Performance By Grace Lang”

So, day 11 was pretty wild. I was on my way to my Chinese lessons when I got a call from some Sight=Site students that needed help with one of their projects. I had to make this video in about three hours in order for them to use it in a presentation. I think I pulled it off pretty well. This was an interesting performance that prompted the Beijing public to write on a woman’s body. Enjoy.


DAY 12 Ep. 12 “Wuling Mountain”

We decided to see a part of China not yet experienced by us or most of our Parsons group, so that we could share a different perspective of the culture. We hopped on the bus to Wuling Mountain. The journey there was much more difficult than any one of us could have thought.

Beginning at the bus terminal in Beijing where there was an overly friendly woman that would not stop telling us where to go (even though we did not ask her for anything). She followed us like a lost puppy and was finally stopped by the bus ticket collector. Once we got on the bus, we settled in for the ride, one that we knew would be pretty long. About 2 hours into the ride, some Chinese guys began yelling at us, trying to convince us that we had arrived at our destination and that that we should get off the bus. Knowing full well that we had not traveled long enough, we remained in our seats amongst a few odd dirty looks.

We finally arrived at the end of the bus line, and exited the bus, only to be berated by two guys who wanted us to get in their car, so they could take us “where we wanted to go”. Knowing that this would be a bad idea, we walked around looking for the next bus to transfer to, while the entire time being barked at by two crazy fake taxi drivers. Having a bit of trouble finding the transfer bus we asked a security guard, who was promptly threatened by the two crazy taxi drivers and told not to inform us about where we should go.

We eventually shook off the lunatics and hopped on our next bus, with only another 3 hour ride to go until we arrived at our mountain. Eventually, we were dropped off at a small town at the base of the mountain. Not knowing that the actual hiking trail started at the top of the mountain, we began the long trek up the winding road to the top. 4 hours later we never made it to the hiking trail, but we did discover a beautiful mountain village and an amazing restaurant and hotel. After we ate, we called a cab and got back to our hotel in 2 hours. (Note: Traveling by bus in China can be its own crazy adventure). The following video features some of the visuals we encountered along our way, edited to music by my friends band THE QUALIA.


DAY 13 Ep. 13 “The Great Wall Of China”

If you have never hiked the Great Wall of China, I don’t think there is any way to clearly understand the scale of it. I think that you really need to be in a spot with nothing else around for miles except for a long winding wall that snakes through the mountains like an endless python to really understand the situation. I hope this video gives you a glimpse into what the journey was like. Beginning from the bus ride and all the drama that ensued, to the immensity of the wall and finally the setting sun, please take a walk with us.

The music used is from the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts and is licensed for use under the Creative Commons.


DAY 14 Ep. 14 “Jingshan Park & the Forbidden City”

Our time in Beijing was ending, I had not had the chance to see the Jingshan Park or the Forbidden City. So James & I trekked out there and this is what happened:

(The music used is from the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts and is licensed for use under the Creative Commons.)


DAY 15 Ep. 15 “The Silk Market”

Just before traveling to Shanghai, we checked out the Silk Market. I wanted to see if I could get either a musical instrument or a clown suit. After hearing a few horror stories about how aggressive the sales people were at the Silk Market, I was ready, unfortunately, they were not on their game the day I went.


DAY 16 Ep. 16 “Welcome To E-Arts”

Day 16 was the first official work day in Shanghai. It was a really long day full of introductions and presentations. I boiled it down to two bite sized episodes for you to enjoy. The first episode is a bit from the faculty summarizing what the students have been up to and what everyone will continue to work on and the second is three little interviews I pieced together that have students from the New Media group discussing in a bit more depth the concepts and ideas they decided to explore while in China.


DAY 16 Ep. 17 “Ideas From the New Media Group”


DAY 17 Ep. 18 “The Shanghai World Expo Part 1”

On day 17, one of the New Media groups decided to go get some inspiration from the Shanghai World Expo. They asked me to come along and shoot some video. Here is the result.

The main song through out the video is Ghosts #8 composed by NIN. The rest of the music was either captured on site or stock music.

Also note, this entire video was shot with a flip camera.


DAY 18 Ep. 19 “The Shanghai Electronics Market”

The electronic markets in China are a force to be reckoned with, apparently electronic enthusiasts are so prevalent there, they create the need for HUGE mall sized electronic markets. To me they seemed like a bloated over-sized Radio Shack on crack, but to electronic nuts, they are heavenly. I went to one in Shanghai with some fellow Parsons students and here is what I discovered:


DAY 19 Ep. 20 “Interviews About The Gobi Desert”

Day 19 was a pretty interesting day, I was finally able to track down the students and faculty that went on the Gobi desert trip, so that I could get them to talk about their experiences in the desert. You met them all previously, where they discussed what they thought the desert would be like. Now a couple of days after their return, they have had time to reflect on the experience:


DAY 19 Ep. 21 “Donkey Urine In The Gobi Desert”

DAY 19 Ep. 22 “The Sight=Site Gallery Tour”

The reason I was able to get all the Gobi desert students in one place at the same time was because their group “Sight=Site” was having an exhibition new works. After I finished with the Gobi interviews, Brendan McCarthy was kind enough to give us a tour of the show, enjoy:


DAY 20 Ep. 23 “The Shanghai World Expo Part 2”

Day 20, we went back to the Shanghai World Expo, determined to get into more than one pavilion. We got into Brazil, UK, the City of Being, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Finland, and the USA pavilions, but I shot the external facades of a ton more pavilions. Enjoy.


DAY 21 Ep. 24 “ChinaTown Shanghai Burlesque”

Day 21 in China was mostly a long academic day. I am working on editing the academic stuff into a piece, but that will take a little time, so until that gets finished, I figured I would share with you a little bit of the Shanghai nightlife.


DAY 22 Ep. 25 “The Shanghai Zoological Park”

Day 22 in Shanghai China, we decided to go to the zoo to see some pandas. This is what happened:

(The music is a public domain recording of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40)


DAY 22 Ep. 26 “Nanjing Road”

On day 22 after our little Zoo adventure we jumped on the train and took a ride over to Nanjing Road, one of the busiest shopping districts in the world. It’s commonly referred to Shanghai Times Square.

(The music is a public domain recording of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40)


DAY 23 Ep. 27 “Romance & Workshops”

Day 23 was a very long day full of workshops and presentations. In this first video of the day, we learn about mind control, the Sight=Site version of romance and traditional Chinese medicine, silent brainstorming, and physical computing. Enjoy.


DAY 23 Ep. 28 “China Academy of Arts Vs. Parsons”

During the second part of day 23, (with the assistance of translators James Hung and Xuan Zhang), Bing Fan from the Hangzhou, China Academy of Fine Arts presented his experience working with Parsons during this trip. The presentation leads to an interesting discussion with Parsons School of Design AMT Dean, Sven Travis and Parsons Faculty Raoul Rickenberg on the methods and process of complex design. Enjoy.


DAY 24 Ep. 29 “Humanitarian Interviews”

Day 24 was another challenging academic workshop day. This time I was able to get together interviews from most of the folks involved with the Humanitarian group.  I hope this gives you a nice general perspective of what they were up to. Enjoy.


DAY 24 Ep. 30 “Old Town Shanghai”

After all the workshops and interviews a group of us went searching for Shanghai’s world famous soup dumplings. This is our journey through old town Shanghai. Enjoy.


DAY 25 Ep. 31 “The Physical Computing Workshop”

The last few days at E-Arts were a bit of a blur, there was just so much going on, I was having a hard time knowing which way was up. My friend Xuan Zhang took my Flip camera into Manuel and Brett’s physical computing workshop. This video is a nice little overview of how it went. Enjoy.


DAY 26 Ep. 32 “The Shanghai Acrobat Circus”

So, the workshops finally came to an end, so James and I went out to experience a little Shanghai Circus. Here is my bootleg/promo/documentation of that experience. After the circus we got dinner in Shanghai’s World Financial Center (The tallest building in China).


DAY 27 Ep. 33 “Traveling to Hangzhou”

On day 27, the end of the trip was near and the journey to Hangzhou was upon us. Here is the video I made as James and I made our voyage to the land of West Lake and Tea.


DAY 27 Ep. 34 “Xī Hú (West Lake) Hangzhou”

Day 27 continued…

So we get to Hangzhou and everyone tells us about the lake, so we decided to go for a walk and it was bigger then we thought…

(The Music is a public domain performance of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde”)


DAY 27 Ep. 35 “Song Dynasty Town, Hangzhou”

The end of day 27…

So day 27 was a really long day, we traveled to another city, we walked a huge Lake, and finally went to Song Dynasty Town. Wow, this place as amazing it seemed to me like a really cool version of “James Town” for China. A period theme park, with blacksmiths making swords, people preparing ancient style foods, and one of the most amazing theatrical experiences I have ever seen. This town does theater like no other, from clowns to sword battles, and hundreds of the most beautiful costumed women you will ever see. Please enjoy the video I made that attempts to give you a little glimpse into the glory that is Song Dynasty Town.


DAY 28 Ep. 36 “Yin Ling Temple, Hangzhou”

Day 28 was pretty amazing, the last day we spent in Hangzhou. My friend Lan Xi took me on a tour of one of the most famous Buddhist temples in China. She also helped me translate and figure out the names of all the statues. The scale of the temples and the Buddha statues were some of the most monolithic structures I have ever experienced. I know now how dwarfed the humans in the King Kong movies felt.

(The music is also a public domain traditional Chinese song called “Autumn Moon on Lake”.)


DAY 28 Ep. 37 “Street Show Performance, Hangzhou”

Day 28, after leaving the Buddhist temples some Chinese friends showed me around the streets of Hangzhou. While we walked around looking at shops we were suddenly stopped by an amazing street performance, featuring Dragons, Jugglers, and Stilt-Walking CLOWN’S!!! Enjoy!


DAY 29 Ep. 38 “From Shanghai To NYC”

Day 29, the final day in China. I say a few last minute deliriously exhausted words before I leave the E-Arts hotel and go to the airport. I would like to thank Daniel Geiger, Corrie Lake, and Gu Jia Wei for letting me use some of their pictures in the opening bit.

Thanks to everyone that helped me along the way, and allowed me to video record their creative process.

This is the end of the Parsons China Trip 2010 series of videos.

Thanks for watching!

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