The following article on the nature of Qingdao past, present, and future also appears in Arteffect No. 13.
1. to change the place or position of; push, carry, or pull from one place or position to another
2. to arouse or stir the emotions, passions, or sympathies of
from Webster’s New World College Dictionary
Qingdao is a city of movement. One of the most striking features of the new Qingdao is the May Winds sculpture that signifies the May 4th movement, which itself was a response to the movement of control of Qingdao from Germans to Japanese in 1919.
A quaint little village which once was a small garrison moved and drew the attention of those on boats moving along the shore. The missionaries moved to compel the animus filled to move their hearts and be still. Those missionaries paid for that in flowing blood, and the response began the ping pong.
German-Japanese-Chinese-Japanese-Nationalist/US-New China. Qingdao bounced around and never actually moved itself other than to take in the newcomers and flush out their waste. Liberation was a movement, nationwide, and Qingdao didn’t escape, though many used the portal to do just that, as Qingdaohua is heard in the mountains of Taiwan. People come and people go, generations move mountains, and Qingdao remains the same, though many things have changed.
The constant change is movement, build and destroy and build again. Up and down go the buildings, in and out goes the flesh and vegetables. Earthquakes have not been able to destroy Qingdao, though Earthlings seem intent on doing so. It’s a pretty city now, and really always was, rolling hills undulating, twisting streets slightly prancing and mostly moving out of the way of the turning earth.
From dust we have come and to dust we return – constant construction the prelude and coda to deafening destruction – the symphony of Qindao spins steadily on the turntable. The waltz of time records the changes though they aren’t really visible unless we stand in one place and look for them.
One of the most striking features of the new Qingdao is the May Winds sculpture that signifies the May 4th movement, which itself was a response to the movement of control of Qingdao from Germans to Japanese in 1919.
The city called Qingdao has moved: as the century prepared to flip, the center shifted from Yishui Lu to Hong Kong Middle Road, from Bavarian steadiness to American glassiness, built by Chinese who moved here from somewhere else. Earlier the snaking columns of British and Japanese from Yangkou to Jinkou displaced one furry invader with another, and we are all invaders now, barbarians eating and drinking of Qingdao’s meat and mead, enjoying the dance of a thousand nights, the tale of a thousand sunsets.
Chairman Mao sailed into town, but not to stay – he left, as did Chiang Kai-shek, Lao She, Shen Congwen – even Yu Dafu couldn’t sink here, moving on to meet his fate on another island. The sea envelops Qingdao as the candle meets the flame, one shifting and one shafting, rising up and burning down, but the wax is always there, waiting for the sands of time to wash away.
Qingdao is a city of movement. People move here and are moved. Men and women move mountains of materials from here to there, from ground to sky, up. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and that constant is the absolute need to grow, in any direction. Keep on truckin’.