This ephemeral graffiti street art performance responds to gentrification and the growing presence of American corporations in China. At this time, I was an American expat living in Shanghai. My neighborhood was rapidly gentrifying and I observed many local communities and small businesses demolished and replaced with American corporate chains.
I was influenced by observing Chinese people in my neighborhood who painted traditional poems directly onto the sidewalk using a calligraphy brush and water. The poems they would paint were temporary and evaporated over time. In the tradition of outdoor Chinese water calligraphy, I painted the names of popular American conglomerates on the demolished remains of local Chinese businesses. ≠I stood in a pile of rubble which was the demolished remains of local homes and businesses. In the style of Chinese water calligraphy, I used a brush and water to paint the names and logos of American corporations: Apple, Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks, and KFC directly onto the demolished remains of the independent Chinese businesses: a reflection on my national presence in this place as well as the transient nature of time, life, construction, and economy. After my painting was finished, I stood on the sidewalk with a few passersby who had gathered to watch. We silently observed the corporate water marks gradually disappear.
The ephemeral nature of evaporating water alludes to the transience of all things, including the organic and the economic.