i have noticed that many of the shenzhen spaces that i enjoy might be defined as semi-public. small scale spaces designed with particular publics in mind, these spaces repurpose the clunky mass architecture of most of shenzhen into interesting nooks for conversation and debate, without falling into the normative excesses of so many private homes. indeed, recently, ocat loft has extended its conversion of industrial manufacturing zones into creative cultural spaces. the newer area will be the site of the 2011 shenzhen-hong kong biannale.
importantly, cultural consumption and the gentrification of working class spaces have predicated the creation of this semi-public sphere, where individualized desires blunt the the progressive edge of public debate. and yet, if no one shops in these stores, hangs in the coffee houses, and attends gallery openings, the area will collapse and conversations displaced. such are the paradoxes of contemporary urbanization, images below.