shangwei: the other artist village

Shenzhen has more art-adjacent villages than one might think. There’s Dafen, Aohu, Wutongshan, and Shangwei (上围). There’s also Baoyuan, which is not an art village per se but located next to the F518 space. So. You decide. 4? 5? Do we also include any of the villages that have veered into creative industries? Guimiao, the village next to Shenzhen University and now crumbling to the excavators of progress, for example, was once home to artists and bibliophiles. Anyway. Shangwei.

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good bye OCAT

By now you probably know that the Overseas Chinese Town Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) has closed, marking the end of an era and no doubt (in retrospect we will discover) the beginning of another. Those of us who were here when OCAT opened in 2005, remember it as contemporaneous with the first Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Architecture\Urbanism (UABB). Indeed, three of the first four biennales were held in Overseas Chinese Town, a massive endeavor that was facilitated by OCAT and its influential first director, Huang Zhuan. Circa 2005, OCAT was an important signal, a sign that Shenzhen was thinking about urbanization in relation to a diversity of urbanisms and futures.

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biennale update

For those interested in the 2013 edition of the biennale, here’s the website. Alas, many of the pictures are distorted, but upside? Fat Bird’s Urban Village Fetish / Baishizhou is featured today!

bienniale graffiti

graffiti in shenzhen: high-end, high-concept, art

today walking around the biennale grounds, i noticed a graffiti exhibition. so again, as at tianmian (and it seems that some of the same graffiti artists have been commissioned here as a there), high quality graffiti gets shown in shenzhen as art, but does not exist throughout the city, which favors overpainting everything. this version of high-concept high-art urbanism is increasingly reshaping older industrial areas in the sez (关内). it is a version of shenzhen that grows out of and confirms the priority of architecture to the city’s self-representation. it also reiterates the importance of commercial art to the kind of culture that the city sponsors at the annual china (shenzhen) international cultural industry fair . it also fits that many of the folks at the bienniale are young and hip and artistic. i’m not sure if they represent a new kind of global elite, or it’s simply the case that the young hip and artistic global elite has finally landed in shenshen. graffiti pics here