“Kunshan-Under Construction, an intervention-style research project marrying art and society, began in 2010. The project observes and investigates China’s New Countryside program of rural construction. The specific locale is Kunshan New Village in Chengdu’s Shuangliu County. The multi-dimensional, integrated art intervention has included field research, on-site creative projects, short-term themed workshops, interdisciplinary symposia, themed exhibitions, and more. The spontaneous origins of the project have created two parallel channels for discourse: a reality and history-based critical intervention, and a constructed system of reflexive artistic practice”. Continue reading.
Ai Weiwei (Part 2)
Part 2 of a three-part interview series with renowned China creative, Ai Weiwei.
In a special three-part interview, Design China talks to internationally-celebrated, China-based creative Ai Weiwei about Caochangdi Village, his thoughts on Beijing Design Week and what young, local creatives need to do in order to survive here.
Francis Lam (or dbdbking) is an interactive designer based in Shanghai, founder of db-db.com, and owner of furniture studio-store Origin Woodwork (O.WW), which he runs with his wife. He is also creative director at W+K Shanghai. Design China’s Lynn Zhang sat down with Francis to discuss how his background in computer science opened up opportunities to realise his interests in art and design, as well as his career journey to date.
“Caochangdi is a microcosm of 21st-century China. Rural migrants come from the provinces — historic Hubei, impoverished Anhui, subtropical Sichuan — in search of opportunity in the big cities, but a lack of marketable skills and the inability to gain an urban hukou, or residency status, limit their access to housing and prevent them from obtaining social services like education and health care. They can’t afford to live in the expensive new neighbourhoods in the center, so they live on the margins, where they remain in a legal gray zone until money and luck run out, or the demolition trucks roll in”. Continue reading.
Caochangdi Open Call
The Community at Caochangdi (CCD) is “the newest and most awaited addition to…BJDW. Debuting [in 2012], CCD - The Community is a creative incubator playing host to a research-driven program [that aims to] re-think synergies across art, design and technology, and to shape unprecedented encounters among intersecting communities of local and international players, professional visionaries, and innovative makers and thinkers”. Apply for the open call.
Professor Hang Jian
Professor Hang Jian is Vice Dean of the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Originally from Zhejiang Province, he was former editor-in-chief for Zhuangshi magazine and has played an active role in the education scene, including acting as Associate Dean of the Cheung Kong School of Art & Design, Shantou University and as a senior visiting scholar of the City & Regional Planning Program, Cornell University. I managed to catch Professor Hang Jian in his studio before his most recent visit to Tibet to discuss more.
HomeShop began as a storefront residence and artist initiative in Beijing, 2008. Located in an old hutong alleyway, the space and its window front are used to examine ways of relaying between the public and private”. The space allows artists, designers and thinkers to come together through a variety of interwoven activities, interventions and documentary gestures, whilst also serving as an open platform to question existing models of economic and creative production. Here, “daily life, work and the community become explorations of micropolitical possibility, and of working together”.
Based at Tsinghua University in Beijing, architect Li Xiaodong believes in striving for “the highest order of the human environment”. His working process aims as little as possible to follow an architectural style, which “limits the potential to be unique and creative”, and adopts a careful consideration of context and culture instead. Pictured is his completed Liyuan Library project found in the small village of Huairou (on the outskirts of Beijing).