Nothing Lasts Forever, a new project by Shanghai-based artist Shi Qing takes place in various locations throughout Jianchang Hutong over the next two months. Nothing Lasts Forever uses the physical site of Jianchang Hutong as a space for dissemination—not of ideas or information—but of raw materials. For this work Shi Qing has designed and built eight different types of road blockades reminiscent of makeshift barriers often found on battlefields or in besieged urban areas. Each is customized with different abstract markings and carefully constructed to fit across specific entry and exit points in the hutong. However these blockades will not be reassembled as full structures at any point in Jianchang Hutong nor will there be any visual reference to the blockades at Arrow Factory. Instead, stacks of the pre-cut and pre-painted lumber will be left outdoors at various public locations in Jianchang Hutong and made available for re-purposing.
Nothing Lasts Forever ‘s associations with notions of turmoil and unrest are far from inadvertent, and yet they are carefully effaced in the presence of a more dominant gesture: generosity. As these disassembled roadblocks appear unannounced on the street in the form of haphazard stacks of mixed lumber, they lose their connection to authority and power and freely dissolve into the neighboring community as basic usable materials. In Nothing Lasts Forever the slow dissolution of such loaded items enacts a process of transformation, even if questionably registered by the surrounding locale.