Urban China - Counter-Mapping Creative Industries (Special Issue)

Special Issue: Mónica Carriço, Bert de Muynck, Ned Rossiter (eds) 'Creative China: Counter-Mapping the Creative Industries', Urban China 33 (November, 2008).

Designed by Hendrik-Jan Grievink

Frida tracks, OSM data, Beijing

Frida tracks, OSM data, Beijing

2008 (cc-by-sa) Luka Frelih, Frida V. and OpenStreetMap contributors

Other Kinds of Ambitions: From Artist Villages to Art Districts

By Alex Pasternack

Beijing's modern creative geography began, fittingly, with the closure of its artist districts. In 1995 police descended upon a village near the ruins of the old summer palace at Yuanmingyuan, in the northwest of the city, to evict the painters, writers and musicians that had taken up residence there. Like Dong Cun, or East Village, which had been raided a year earlier, the neighborhood had become a refuge for creative types from around China after the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989, a place to evade the bustle of the city if not the eyes of the authorities. Artists like Fang Lijun, Zhang Huiping and Yue Minjun, who would later command millions of dollars at auction, held exhibitions in which paintings hung from trees. ‘We were young, had no self-censorship’, performance artist Zhang Nian said in 2004. ‘The moment a creative idea popped up we put it into action. In a sense we felt we had found the destination of our ideal and faith’.

Inverting the Cultural Map: Peripheral Geographies of Beijing’s Creative Production

By Adrian Blackwell

Inside-out City
In the North American and European imagination, artists live downtown, in older working class or industrial neighbourhoods. In Beijing, they live in villages at the edge of the city. Unlike the new creative clusters that are gentrifying North American downtowns, the emergent cultural geography of Beijing is highly dispersed, inverting preconceptions of what constitutes a properly cultural space. Many of its most important creative clusters sit beyond Beijing’s fifth ring road, existing as islands outside the line which until recently signified the boundary of the city’s outward urbanization.

Migrant Workers, Collaborative Research and Spatial Pressures: An Interview with Meng Yue

By Ned Rossiter and Meng Yue

In July last year I had the opportunity to interview Meng Yue, literary scholar and author of Shanghai and the Edges of Empire (2006). Meng Yue has been collaborating with Toronto-based architect and artist Adrian Blackwell for a number of years, with their students from literature and architecture undertaking highly interesting research on the peripheral zones of Beijing. Questions of peri-urban food production, land use, resource distribution and the multiplication of labour skills have framed these investigations. The interview below is extracted from a considerably longer discussion we had in Beijing during the late summer of 2007, half of which was lost to the faulty battery of an ipod (the rest remains to be transcribed from video…).

Network Ecologies: Documenting Depletion, Exhausting Exposure

By Soenke Zehle

Creative Industries or Wasteful Ones?

By Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller

The much-acclaimed creative industries are supposedly clean and green post-manufacturing utopias. The by-products are electronic code rather than sickening smoke. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? But what about electronic waste (e-waste) from televisions, computers, cell phones and so on – the fastest-growing element in First-World municipal dumps? Aren’t they part of the ‘creative industries?’

Labour, Migration, Creative Industries, Risk

(forthcoming in special issue of Urban China)

By Brett Neilson

A Hierarchy of Networks?, or, Geo-Culturally Differentiated Networks and the Limits of Collaboration

Earlier this year the edu-factory organizers invited me to comment on the passage from hierarchisation to autonomous institutions. Indeed, I think it appropriate to maintain the connection between hierarchy and autonomy. This constitutive tension is apparent in the political economy and social-technical dimensions of both open source and proprietary software that provides the architecture for communicative relations. And it manifests on multiple fronts in the modalities of organization that attend the creation of autonomous spaces and times of radical or alternative research and education projects, experiments and agendas. There is no absolute autonomy, but rather a complex field of forces and relations that hold the potential for partial autonomy, or 'the difference which makes a difference' (Bateson).

The challenge of working at the time of network: Interview by Il Manifesto with Ned Rossiter

Alessandro Delfanti and Ned Rossiter, ‘La sfida del lavoro al tempo della rete [The challenge of working at the time of network: Interview with Ned Rossiter]’, Il Manifesto, 1 May, 2008. Italian version available here.

Alessandro Delfanti: What's the best way to rebuild labour organizations in the network society? The anti-globalisation movement (a network-based movement) is dead and unions are incapable to intercept the needs of precarious and cognitive workers ...