Jessie Lijiaqi


About me

Life, Memory

“You are cloud, ocean, oblivion’s misgt. And you are also all that you have lost.”

8 Stories, 8 Spaces, 8 Poems And A Vanishing Beach

26. 02. 2024

The schedule kept getting disrupted because of the weather. Eventually we got together at my living room for a  workshop about our memories and spaces.


We have one thing in common. We have chosen to leave where we used to live to start living in a brand new place. What made you choose to leave? Was it because of an opportunity or because it was something you had been working towards?

1.你来自哪里 可以介绍一下你自己么
Where are u from? Can u introduce urself?

2.父母们的家乡 如何迁移?家族迁徙的痕迹
Where your parents came from? How did they move? Did u move to somewhere else?
Traces of family migration

3.对生活在城市有什么感受 ? 为什么一直不断的离开一个地方 /旅行
How do you feel about living in the city/ London?
Why you keep leaving a place over and over again / Travelling?

Is there a specific thing or place that gives you a sense of belonging?
Do you go back to the city where you used to live? When you go back, do you feel like you can't fit in?

In what identity will we face our hometown again?

The more images we see of people, places and spaces, the more the photographs we choose to save will shape our personal memories. Do the photos we save shape our memories?


When you think back to your home or a remembered space, where is the first thing that comes to your mind? Can you picture it by drawing or writing or in any other way?
What's in here? Is this the kitchen? The living room or just a street?
Is there a window here? What do you see out the window?
What do you smell? Is it the smell of rain and humidity? Is it the aroma of rice?
What do you hear?

Stories and  photos

Before this workshop, I did interview with every partitioner one by one.  Each of them gave me some photos representing their memories the most. And I also captured some sentences from these conversation. They mentioned about their grandparents, old houses, passage of time, the noodle resterant on the corner and even a watermelon eaten in the summer. 

When others ask me "where are you from?",
I begin to realize I cannot directly answer this question.
Is it my home in London? The student dorms in Tianjin? A rented apartment in Beijing or a room in Qingdao?
I realize my memories of the past are becoming increasingly blurred. 
Yet my grandfather's presence always reminds me that there still exists a faint connection between me and some distant space.

The city has been growing fast in the past few years, but my neighbourhood hasn't kept up with that fast. A lot of elders in the alleys near my home sitting on their doorsteps, you'll see the uniforms they hang out for their grandchildren go from primairy school uniforms to high school uniforms. Even though there is no building changes in my neighbourhood, the changes of these details tell me that time is passing.

During childhood summer vacations,
After piano classes, 
Grandpa would pick me up from the music school.
I always sought thrills, pedaling my bike swiftly,
Zooming far ahead in a flash.
Grandpa would leisurely pedal his bicycle,
Following along behind me.
Usually, there would be a big watermelon
In the basket of his bicycle.
I don't know why,
But the watermelons Grandpa bought were always the sweetest.


I have selected several of Borges' poems about home, memories and space. 

Rewrite, redesign

Choose a photograph, a poem and a paragraph. Try to use them to rewrite a paragraph describing the scenery in your chosen photo. I recorded the whole process. These chats between us are very fascinating. We began to realise that our rewritten poems were a combination of memories and reflections on our past lives and a lot of explorations of our new lives and identities or confusion.

Creative Poems

I begin to realize I cannot directly answer that question,
We are already the past of what we'll become.
You'll bury the sun, moon, 
and stars of your life within my nest,
Perhaps all insights, maybe you don't possess.
Serene yet splendid, memories of yellow roses,
I'll come to understand my life's form intertwined with this place.
All commemorations, You've veiled my gloom, my solitude,
How much tender affection have you scattered upon my flowerbed?
 Without love, 
every sunset moment of my life entwines into an endless winter.

The host of clouds in the west evening
dispersing is our very image.
What can I hold you with?
lean streets,
desperate sunsets,
the bitterness we cycled all the trees.
In a courtyard that no longer exists.
We are the ones who drift away. 
who looked long and long at the lonely moon.
my dead men,
 just right down there in Perú

On the patio of some self-built, I guess.
Momeig off Watermelon, 
every black grape and too many eucalyptus oranges.
I can still remember when I was a kid 
the Chinese always said:
luxury property was the sweetest.
We are the ones who didn't get 100 marks on the test.
I am always looking for excitement.
If all that awaits us in the future is to be born and die,
I long for the exile,
I look forward to every weekend.