LANGUAGELinks to Mandarin phrase books, online dictionaries and other resources. Learning even just a few simple phrases will make a huge difference in your experience.
BACKGROUNDA brief guide into the history of the Chinese people, with links to books and essays, as well as on-line sources.
Zhong_GuoZhong Guo, two of nearly 100,000 unique characters that make up the Chinese written language: zhong means center, middle; guo means country. We know it as China but to the people who have lived there for thousands of years, it's the Middle Kingdom.
RIVERSTwo rivers converging, this is the metaphor that resonates for me -- the Western river flowing down through the centuries from the Greeks and Mesoptamia meeting with the Eastern river flowing from the Shang, Zhou and Qin. That's a simplistic view, yes, because history is messy, but these turbulent days remind me of watching rip currents.
ARTMovies. Novels. Artists. Essays. And links to museums and galleries both in China and th United States.
VALUESHarmony. Diligence. Discipline. These ancient Confucian and Buddhist values seem, to me, at the core of Chinese culture today. They manifest in multiple ways, not always obviously, and not easily visible from afar, but keeping them in mind while in China will enrich the day to day experience of being there.
WHYWhy go to China? Read personal statements from artists who've recently been.
APHORISMSAphorisms can unlock the history and morals of a culture in just a few words. Some of my favorites involved "the frog in the well," "a man with a foot in two boats," and "a little confused."
LOGISTICSLinks to the necessities: Visa applications; hotels; interpreters; including a list of what not to miss while you're traveling.
WHY I WENTWhy I went to China: to explore a pictorial tradition vastly different from my own; to connect with my Asian childhood; and to look for teaching and commercial photography opportunities. It's so easy to spell it out that way, seems so neat, but the adventure took turns I could not have predicted....
BEIJINGBeijing, Northern Capital. A city of some 15 million, the capital of the People's Republic of China. On the edge of the Gobi Desert and ever expanding, Beijing is the ancient center of culture and learning, and rival to Shanghai. This-is-ChinaThis is China! A rallying cry heard from all sides meaning, variously, Move On! Keep Going! Anything can be done! Do it now! Don't ask questions! Full speed ahead! Go now, plan later! NameCardsNamecards, aka business cards, are perhaps the most important detail to take care of before you leave for China. The written name is such a hugely important aspect of Chinese culture that you can't truly be said to exist without your name neatly printed on a small rectangular card.
SHANGHAIShanghai: On the Sea. China's second city, the capital of commerce and internationalism, lies in the delta of the Yangtze River. Frenetic and new, seemingly reinventing itself daily, Shanghai is glitze and glamour to Beijing's refinement and bureaucracy. BEIJING
ArtDistrictsArts Districts: both Beijing and Shanghai, and many other cities, have stepped up efforts to support artists, galleries and museums. 798 in Beijing and MoGanShan Road in Shanghai are two of the most popular.


The Scanning China Project. Last updated: June 4, 2008.