Lane 1025

by on Saturday, 29 August 2009 5994 hits Comments
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I recently moved from Chengdu to Shanghai, and I am still trying to adapt to this giant city, full of contrasts. One morning, I took the day off... In the heart of downtown Shanghai, Nanjing Avenue, there was this alley: Lane 1025. I had never crossed the gate at its entrance ... It was standing opposite the metro station that, day after day, brings me to the place I work, near a shopping center, banks and luxury boutiques.

China is a collage of innumerable micro-universes. Within the space of a lane, of a birdcage, around a chessboard, in all protected enclosures, people reconstruct the space where life is nurtured and tasted. These are privileged places where you experience the bittersweet taste of living together, as a knit-knotted community. A few neighbors, a chessboard, the friendship of a tree and a canary ... The cosmos becomes a lived reality by the mere fact of harboring men, women and children who share and manage it in their own space and their own way.

Each lane allows us to see and hear a tiny, luminous fragment of the cosmos, a fragment of the whole of China, an echo of the conversation that we entertain with ourselves (or ourselves with). This is the music of the relations we nurture with sentient beings, with a piece of sky and branches of willow; this is also the music of changing colors - blue tending to white, yellow leaning towards blue, green being lost in the water, the shadows and the wall, and also the red that has faded with the doors it was colouring.

People in China also speak through what they do not say. They leave a place on the bench to whom takes the time to travel at their own pace. They invite the passer-by to taste like them, with them, the simple and always nascent mystery that lies beneath the lane, the chessboard and the cage. And this is what I did that day, finding in busy Shanghai, an echo of the more leisurely lifestyle of my beloved Chengdu.

I should take a day off more often...

This documentary was produced by AZ Cultural Enterprise in 2010.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:33
Liang Zhun (梁准)


"Ah-zhun" (AZ) is a photographer and reporter from Canton who has lived in Sichuan for the last fifteen years, researching the ethnic minorities of southwestern China. She has taught photography in two universities of Chengdu, and is a member of the Chinese Society for Ethnographic Photography. She has volunteered in the areas devastated by the Sichuan earthquake for more than five months. She is now starting anew as the chief editor of "A-Z cultural enterprise, Shanghai", a company specializing in cultural exchange and creation.

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