I was often asked such a question in my twelve years working on China-UK cultural relations: Why does the UK spend all these money on culture and art in China – is it cultural colonization? An official answer could be that by connecting and creating international opportunities for the people in China and the UK, it builds mutual understanding. One can also understand it in this way: cultural exchange is a soft approach to build a trust, which then enables an easier dialogue in harder areas such as economy and diplomacy. A voice from the bottom of my heart sometimes would add: investment in culture is always good as long as it is grounded and can benefit or inspire individuals.
The moving train where we sit always attracts us to ‘see’ the scenery outside, and the speed of motion also removes the passengers from the sense of place, acting as a barrier. Even in a relatively slow tram, serving as a common way for commuters in a city, the windows through which they see mostly serve as utterly usual views. It shows ‘nothing’ more than a space that hosts daydreams; in this way, the moving coach is a place without any productive values. However, the project conducted by the British artists collective Circumstance, Sitting-Still-Moving – Times Museum Art on Track, aimed to change this impression and to transform the tram into a carriage that not only carries people but also brings them a novel story, or a past-cum-forgotten history regarding the local community.