A growing movement of soft cultural activism spearheaded by artists, curators and art critics who believe that art has a responsibility to engage directly with Chinese social reality
Over the past couple of years, Maria Roszkowska, Clément Renaud and Nicolas Maigret from DISNOVATION.ORG have been quietly smuggling odd-looking phones from China to Europe. They’ve got a phone that doubles up as a stun gun, one that’s shaped like a big strawberry, one you can use to light up your cigarette, one that will assist you in your religious rituals, etc.
Make+ is a Shanghai-based programme that stimulates collaborations between art and science. Its main motivation is to ‘make ideas happen’.
The recipe is quite simple: an individual comes with an idea, a team forms around it, mentors join in and guide the team along the way. At the end of the process, the idea is made reality. Participants come with all types of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. They can be fashion designers, hardware engineers or painters
Zhenhan Hao explored China’s copy culture in an attempt to go beyond the ‘illegal’, ‘vile’ and ‘evil’ epithets that are usually associated with the practice. In China, the artist/designer proposed a new production model for craftspeople in Dafen village and Jingdezhen, ‘the porcelain capital of China’, to imitate and create at the same time. The result is a series of improvised products that sought to inspire the imitators to explore their imagination and creativity
A new work by Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen in which a product was designed especially to be made in China. The object’s only function is to choreograph a dance performed by the labourers manufacturing it. By shifting the purpose of the labourer’s actions from the efficient production of objects to the performance of choreographed acts, mechanical movement is reinterpreted into dance. What is the value of this artefact that only exists to support the performance of its own creation? As the product dictates the movement, does it become the subject, rendering the worker the object?
The works exhibited by the 9 participating artists are extremely strong. As much as i admire Ai Weiwei and his opinion of the show, i do believe that artists can create meaningful, valid works even if they are not openly criticizing their country’s politics. Besides, some of the works exhibited did comment on political issues such as censorship and international relationships. Ai Weiwei is probably right though when he writes that “The Chinese art world does not exist.” At least probably not in a uniformed, self-conscious fashion
Designer Lisa Ma traveled to a joystick factory located in one of the suburbs of Shenzhen. She spent several weeks with the factory workers, sleeping in dorms, sharing their meals in the canteen, making friends.
Because most of these young factory workers come from a farming background and because joysticks might well become obsolete soon, she proposed to the factory owners that they would allow the joystick makers to work part-time in a nearby farm. She called the experiment ‘Farmification’ – using farming to keep the factory community together when work dwindles
The movie that received most attention from both the public and the members of the File Prix Lux is War of Internet Addiction, a machinima advocacy production that voices the concerns of the mainland Chinese World of Warcraft community. Although the machinima was created with WoW players in mind, the video strikes a chord with the broader public by pointing the finger to the lack of Internet freedom in the country and conveying a general feeling of helplessness
A White Elephant is shedding its skin only to reveal an even older, uneven skin underneath
Xiong Wenyun’s “Moving Rainbow” series incorporates the colors of Tibetan prayer flags into landscape photography, and engages with environmental and social issues related to China’s development in its western provinces
A spectacular exhibition currently on view at the CCCB in Barcelona gives an overview of the recent processes of construction and implacable deconstruction that China is undergoing. The contemporary urban design, architecture, landscape and infrastructure of various Chinese cities is analyzed in the light of the country history and culture
A new generation of architects in a country whose building rhythm over the last decade has been unstoppable, as China’s architects are making their mark within the backdrop of an avalanche of world class architecture stars
Everyone will tell you that the quality of art you can see or buy at the 798 art area in Beijing is getting scarcer by the day. Yet, the ex-factory district remains a unique and irresistible place. There’s even a new media art gallery
The last two themes of the Beijing exhibition are questioning technologically-mediated reality and tackling the issues raised by the network
Beijing is the capital of media arts this month. Among the events organized is a show which has been dubbed “the biggest exhibition of new media art in the world.” That’s the kind of superlative that rubs me the wrong way. The exhibition nevertheless turned out to be a wonderful panorama of contemporary media art practice
Three independent curators from china offer a critical reflection on the ‘China phenomenon’, the current cultural production and on the impact it has on the international art system
and it is dedicated to new media art in China. Hurray!
An exhibition in Berlin examines how contemporary artists around the world re-invent the image we might have of Asia and the way in which the post-colonial production of knowledge is challenging Euro-centric concepts of art
Where i realize i like gunpowder shows, atomic mushrooms, feng shui’d military base but am totally underwhelmed by stuffed wolves
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XU is the editor of we-need-money-not-art, the Chinese version of wmmna. He studied Computer Science and his love […]