[-empyre-] localized scenes, digital arts & education

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Nov 16 05:53:15 EST 2010

Dear all, dear Edward

thanks for your recent response, and commentaries on the independent scene.

I felt a bit foolish afterwards for thinking that the website (Cindy Zeng/Lao Dan and Hart Cafe)
meant that they had expanded or changed their policy and were alive and well; I tried to
contact them directly but have not heard back, and this makes your observation
on the impact of internationalization on the local scene more poignant to me (and I was referring mostly
to the 798 Dashanzi district, which in 2004 looked thorough alternative & independent), when
i think of similar efforts to sustain grass roots or independent media labs and spaces here or elsewhere,
everywhere. How do these infrastructural and political-economic developments affect the
new media arts and performance making as such, how do they affect or influence the discourse?

You mention some alternative plaves in the "centers"?
and what kind of "new media arts" or contemporary digital performance is curated there, and what
is curated/supported for traveling /viewing outside of China? 

in the northern hemisphere (or southern - if one were to think of the chinese cultural presence in Brasil as well), 
how is contemporary chinese art met in the discourses or cracked media?

with regards

>>..Edward schrieb:

Although I don't want to take this off-topic too much, I just wanted
to chip in with some quick responses to your question about
alternative spaces, as this is one of my interests, and try to link
this to new media.

> and what happened to small independent/alternative art galleries or
> performance spaces?

As you probably know the international gallery system has been adopted
with bravado here. Admittedly it serves as a very important bridge
between the local and international participants, but at the expense
of somewhat reducing the options available for new developments, or at
least slowing these possibilities down.

New media work has suffered from this "dumbing down" (ok, that went
too far, perhaps simplification is a better word) of the scene,
probably because of it's potential complexity. I guess this is not a
new situation, either here or elsewhere.

As for "alternatives", some exist in the centers (Beijing, Shanghai,
Guangzhou, Hangzhou), their patterns often borrowed from conceptual or
institutional critique, but given the local twist there are different
possibilities for these activities and different results with
different meanings.

I've been here three years and I've not heard of the Hart Cafe. The
website looks like it's dormant and there is no address given. But
this is the way things work, people come and go, spaces open and close
without fanfare or warning. The way Hart are positioning themselves
suggests that they needed to broaden their appeal, to better position
themselves at the commercial end. This is a common and realistic tactic.

Another "tiny fragment" which this makes me think of would be Shan
Studio <http://shan-studio.com/?lang=en> set up by two artists, Sheng
Jie (Gogo) and Yang Tao to provide workshops and support for artists
working in new media. These grass-roots initiatives pop up every now
and again and are a good sign of diversity.


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