Silk and Dogs – Gansu (right click and Save As to download)
This piece, the 10th in the Provinces Project (which will conclude in September on track 12 – all will be available to download as a zip file from mid-October), is an attempt to develop a generative work based on one five-note arpeggio and its gradual collapse/build in to granular disorder. The fuzz that seemingly attached itself to the track reminded me of being on the beach at Camber Sands many years ago, and watching as the wind pulled in the dry sand from dunes in to the sea.
China, and particularly Gansu province, has a problem with both desertification, and subsequent sandstorms. A comprehensive, and expensive, programme to combat the problem through international collaboration with the Japanese, South Korea and others, has started to make a dent in the frequency of such events. Gansu province is the area where most sandstorms in the country occur, and so the PRC centred their research and anti-desertification measures there, setting up the Gansu Desert Control Research Institute (GDCRI). The institute has now started rolling out training programmes to other countries suffering from desertification, inviting panels from numerous African nations ( Egypt, DRC, Angola, Tanzania) affected by similar problems. Last year’s course was held in Minqin County in Gansu, one of the four major areas in the PRC from which sand storms originate. The county saw 14 sand storms in 2006, down almost 50% on 2005, after it brought 2,000 hectares of desert under control by encircling the sand with nets made of wheat straw and planting drought-resistant plants. Fujitsu, the Japanese electronics company, has invested over 10 million Japanese yen in various desert greening projects in China, under an agreement signed by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and the workers union of Fujitsu in 2006. This sort of cross governmental programme, along with the continuing training the GDCRI is providing to developing nations in Africa, is the only real way progress can be made, and deserts can be reclaimed.
For more information on the vibrant and eternally exciting history of anti-desertification measures in Gansu, here are some links: