Dragon for the village:
A Future Festival

#local engagement #participatory #happening

"Dragon for the village: A Future Festival " was supposed to be a performance by _ao_ao_ing for the opening of the Nature Education Forum held by Qingshan Village in Yuhang, but it later developed into a local event that attracted much more attention. Caught in the tension among different local forces, it was integrated in the village’s history and became an “actual” festival there, being celebrated regularly at Duanwu Festivals each year.

A "future village 未来乡村" is China’s political concept, an upgrade of the construction of a "beautiful village 美丽乡村", and one of the focuses of China's rural construction in the current stage, while Qingshan Village in Yuhang is an experimental field to implement this concept. Outsiders and all kinds of new comers in the village are called "future people" by the old secretary of the village.

With the help of local bamboo craftsman, we made bamboo dragon body parts and let the local residents decorated these parts

We , the"future people" come to the rural area as fresh comers and seek for an experience different from modern urban festivals. However, the absence of festival rituals and a series of encounters with "future" construction made us realize that this kind of modern countryside may also be just another kind of external organs of the city and an extension of capital.
We modern outsiders have a fractured imagination of the countryside. This fracture is like a gap between modernity and tradition, a middle zone that is constantly being erased. So we let the "imagination take the power", and decided to implement our fantasy of a festival with an action of festival that makes people get together again.

Photos taken on the day of happening in 2020

If "place making" is turning a community, town, or city that you want to leave as soon as possible into a place you would like to stay forever, then we summarize the action of this project as "festival making", or "doing festival", which means celerating the festival in the local Wu dialect. Therefore, a traditional festival was held in a village without history in the name of a "future festival" to respond to this "future village" whose construction is in full swing.

From a community event initiated by an artistic residency to the building of a local government IP, "Dragon for the Village: A Future Festival" is difficult to define and impossible to conclude at the moment. It has surpassed the original context of artistic creation and needs time to justify and analyze its complexity as a dynamic sample for the observation of the ongoing rural construction in China.

Photo taken at the signature Qingshan Water Reservoir in 2020



Concept / Created by
_ao_ao_ing ensemble (Selena Lu, July Yang, Eva, Danteng Fang)

Collaborating weavers
Chen Keng, Jin Zengke

Dragon head design and fabrication
Wild Workshop 野工坊 (Jiajun, Xiaocun)

Dragon body design and fabrication
Buqiucao 不秋草 (Yu Caigen)

Village residents and organizations who participated in the dragon parade
Wen Yongzhen, Shen Yunqin, Zhao Yufang, Qian Meili, Shen Juzhen, Feng Xiaying, Zhang Yongzhen, Yu Yinghong, Shen Jianmei, Ding Xiaofang, Ye Jinya, Chen Xuemei, Household of Chenxi, Zhang Aihua, Yang Yuhang, Sister Juanzi, Yu Yuping, Lu Xiuqin, Jin Wennan, Cai Jincai, Aunty Xiaoqian, Sister Xia, Sister Qin, Nicole, Maimang Sports, Rong Design Library, Hangzhou Qingshan Nature School, Nature Education Forum, etc...

Special thanks to
Jin Chen, Zhang Haijiang, Jill of Hangzhou Qingshan Nature School, Fuzi; Secretary Lin, Xiaolan and others from Village Council; Xiaoye for photography; Yang Fei, Lao Gao, Xiang Ge from Maimang Sports; Wang Junwei, Yang Liqin, Shen Zixuan, Yang Renjing, Pan Chenxi for playing the Five Poisons characters; Driver Lao Lao; Hotel Six Senses for providing the drone; Li and other six people for carrying the tail of the dragon; Uncle Ligen for transporting supplies; Xiaolan’s Uncle; Volunteering aunties on the day of ceremony...

Organized by China Nature Education Network (residency commissioner), Qingshan Nature School, Qingshan Village Committee


Concept / Created by
_ao_ao_ing ensemble (Selena Lu, July Yang, Danteng Fang, Wang Yinyuan)

Dragon head design and fabrication
Qingshan Workshop 青山工坊 (Bai Kefei, Xiaocun)

Dragon body design and fabrication
Buqiucao 不秋草 (Yu Caigen)


Duanwu Festival of 2020 & 2021
@ Qingshan Village (Hangzhou, Zhejiang)


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