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The Art Shanties

When I first hear about the Art Shanties, I was amazed by how creative this whole idea is. I was even more amazed when I heard that this whole project is on ice. Peter showed us a picture taken from above, showing dice-like boxes that were actually shanties that served people for multiple purposes, such as game room or karaoke room. So several friends and I decided to go on a weekend, since we don't have a car, we called a cab.

We had a little bit difficulty finding the destination but eventually got there safely. I was shocked by the scene, we had been imagining how it would look like, but I still didn't quite expect it to be that large-scale. There were tent-like shanties, cubic shanties and other shanties of all sorts. I had experience of falling into ice lakes, so I had some worries before I stepped on it, but people as well as dogs were running happily on the ice, even cars like jeeps were parking safely on the lake which ensured me that I would be safe.

The first shanty we went in was an arts shanty. The owners were really nice. We were supposed to draw pictures one after another to form a cohesive story, I drew on the paper before I learned the rules clear enough and was more than apologetic when I learned that I was supposed to follow the previous people's picture story. Fortunately, the girl behind me said she could draw after my drawing to make a story. I think this is very important about art too, to be creative as well as being understanding, respectful and tolerant towards others. I really love how the artists are sharing and encouraging each other.

Standing on solid ice and looking down was an unforgettable experience. I looked down and tried to distinguish different layers of ice. They are like magical channels and each one has its own context. Sometimes I saw branches of water plants frozen inside the lake, just like powerful strokes that's carved within the transparent layer. Nature is such a great artist, I couldn't stop myself from taking pictures of ice, from small cracks to layers that contain leaves of plants.

We also went to a Karaoke shanty, people from all ages and all ethnics were singing happily in the warmth. No matter how well you sing, people would cheer and clap for you. There's another shanty that's made up with plastic wraps that can be seen inside envelopes, sunlight shone through them gracefully, and we took some pictures with our hands on them. There was a shanty where several bike-pedals were installed, we stepped on them and it actually moved! There were slide-like shanties that people could sit at and slide, and there were artists who dressed up as polar bears. The lake was like a huge community filled with magical people and creatures, everything was not like what they used to look like before. Art has given them new meanings. I also saw the dice-like shanties that I saw on the pictures on this blog. They were so bright and really stood out in the snow. I saw cars that were decorated with everyday subjects, they were common toys and accessories that we always saw in our lives, and sometimes they may even be considered as junks, but here they were, crowned to a car, attracting attention from everywhere. We visited shanties of bands and theatrical performers, and I really appreciate the people who were so considerate to sell cheap hot dogs and cocoa in such cold weather.

I really learned a lot from the trip. Although we had to walk and wait in the cold wind for a long time for the cab to come, it was totally worth it. We had great photos and excellent experience. I am always amazed by how crazy and original artists can go, I am even more amazed to see how daily, subtle objects can be presented as such huge, glorious performance. I also love the artists' attitude, it was not about competition and price, it was about sharing, giving and exchanging innovative ideas. This whole show was energetic, encouraging and inspiring, I feel lucky that I went to it.