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happening by Yuyu Zhao

curated by Eleonora Savorelli

25th March 2023

area Tempus
darsena di Ravenna,
ex Consorzio Agrario

organised by marte

Tempus Fugit
Project Flow People

Mah Jong, or Magiò in the dialect of Romagna, originates in China in the late 19th century. It spreads to Italy, and particularly to the province of Ravenna, Romagna, in the 1920s thanks to the presence of Chinese street vendors. Landing at the port, a bustling commercial center at the time, they occupy their free time playing on the sides of the streets.

"Mah Jong" literally means "hemp sparrowhawk," but also "squabbling bird". Some trace the name of the game to the sound of the tiles, which, as they shuffle, resemble chirping.

Zhao moves to Ravenna in 2016, where she studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. Specializing in micromosaic, her most recent project involves the artist reproducing 144 Mah Jong tiles through this technique.

Mah Jong links Ravenna and China, blending two extremely different cultures. For Zhao, this game is the result of the fusion of her two souls: one anchored in her nation of birth, the other deeply rooted in Romagna.

This action is designed with the aim of activating the Magiò tiles in the version created by the artist, bringing them to life through a series of games. The board game is here cast in the context of the Ravenna dockyard and port, the context that saw it born and circulate.

Four players from Romagna will compete in the space of an hour, following which anyone can play a game: a social moment that will lead to the creation of a micro-community.

Magiò returns to the place where it all began. Without losing the meaning of what it was, but acquiring an additional one, which immerses it in the present.