What promises to be a very interesting talk by some friends of mine, open to the general public.
Tomorrow’s Parties: Shanghai Futurism
October 19th, 2012, 7 pm
Associate Mission Building, 169 Yuanmingyuan Road, 1st Floor.
UC Irvine Professor and Shanghai specialist Jeff Wasserstrom and Urbanatomy editor Dr. Nick Land
All Tomorrow’s Parties: Summoning Creativity in Shanghai
A Series of Conversations
Shanghai Studies Symposium, Rockbund Art Museum and NYU Shanghai present a series of conversations exploring urban creativity in Shanghai.
This month the series focuses on Shanghai futurism in both its contemporary and historical forms. It asks how the city can draw on its past to help it create the Metropolis of Tomorrow, today.
Conversations over the coming months will explore new media, visual arts, cinema, Buddhism and modernity, creative clusters, intellectual property, architecture, urbanism, and low-tech innovations. Invited guests include: Dr. Justin O’Connor (QUT), visual artist Qiu Zhijie, Dr. Wei Wei (ECNU), Dr. James Farrer (Sophia University, Tokyo), Dr. Sun Shaoyi (NYU/Shanghai University), curator Leo Xu.
Dr. Anna Greenspan and Dr. Francesca Tarocco of NYU Shanghai, founders of the research initiative Shanghai Studies Symposium, will host the series.
As China’s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city Shanghai envisions itself as the next great global cultural hub, a key site of China’s ‘soft power’. Having fully embraced the discourse of the creative industries, the city is busy converting heritage buildings into offices, boutiques and coffee shops; there are now close to 200 so-called ‘creative clusters’ in Shanghai. These converted warehouses and factories pay homage to the city’s industrial past whilst recognizing that industrialization is no longer enough. China seeks to move beyond its position as the world’s workshop. In the past decade, a remarkable amount of infrastructure devoted to culture has emerged. Along with the plethora of creative clusters, Shanghai is also building a whole host of new museums, concert halls and galleries.Yet, there is a deep ‘creative anxiety’ in Shanghai and a widespread awareness that the city’s creative content does not yet match its state-of-the-art infrastructure. Shanghai has the hardware but not the software.
All Tomorrow’s Parties explores contemporary Shanghai’s intellectual and cultural currents in order to investigate questions such as: Can artistic creativity and technological innovation be programmed or planned? Is the current ‘cargo-cult’ approach to the creative sphere effective or is it destined to ultimately fail? What forms might Shanghai’s particular inventiveness take? Will it make manifest the city’s unique imprint? In which ways might it root itself in the locale so that it can become the singular product of this time and place? Do novel theories and practices engage with earlier cultural traditions? Can a neo-traditionalism emerge that is also avant-garde and modern (the ‘shock of the new’)?
About the Speakers
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He specializes in the study of Shanghai. Jeff is the author of Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (1991); Global Shanghai, 1850-2010 (2009) and China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010). He has also worked as co-editor on China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance and, most recently, on Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (2012). Jeff is a regular contributor to academic journals, and has also written for a variety of general interest periodicals. He is currently working as Asia Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Nick Land works as an editor at Urbanatomy, where he has authored numerous books on Shanghai (including 3 comprehensive guide-books to the city; a guide to Expo 2010 and a family guide). Before moving to Asia, Nick was a professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick, where he was the faculty co-founder, of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU). He is the author of The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (1992) and Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007 (2011) along with various articles on art, design and cybernetic culture. Nick keeps a blog on Urban Futures at http://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/news-features/urban-future-blog
Contact details: www.shanghaistudies.net, firstname.lastname@example.org