Labour, Migration, Creative Industries, Risk

(forthcoming in special issue of Urban China)

By Brett Neilson

Urban China: Counter-Mapping Creative Industries Issue

Urban China – October 2008 issue
Counter-Mapping the Creative Industries

Edited by Ned Rossiter, Bert de Muynck, Mónica Carriço

Bi-lingual: Chinese/English for international distribution/readership

This issue of Urban China is framed around an experimental research platform that sought to conduct a counter-mapping of Beijing’s creative industries in the summer of 2007. With a prehistory in Australia during the early nineties and the ‘Creative Nation’ policy agenda of the Paul Keating led Labor government, the creative industries became formalized as a policy discourse in the UK during the early years of the Blair government.

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 ...

Social Inequalities in China, or, Crisis for Europe?

Readers in the West have for some time now associated the economic ascendancy of China with a proliferation of social conflicts and ongoing abuse of human rights. For those on both the Left and Right there is a logic of affirmation about such tensions: state-capitalism is at its authoritarian worst in China.

For the Left, social conflict registers as the condition or symptom of intense economic transformation. This grafts nicely with well-rehearsed humanist, if not Marxian formulations, on the inequalities inherent to capitalism. The Right, meanwhile, cannot quite reconcile the fact that increasingly open markets do not equate with the emergence of liberal democracy.

Event: background to Yuanmingyuan artist village

A walk down memory lane, Sunday July 22, 2007, from 3pm on

"With all its treasures, Notre Dame is no match for Yuanmingyuan, that enormous and magnificent museum in the East."
Victor Hugo

The following short-cut through the history of Yuanmingyuan and its role in the landscape of the Beijing artist village's is completely made up of information featured on other websites. Links to those websites can be found at the bottom of the post.

This collection serves as the background for the bei-ci excursion through Yuanmingyuan (Garden of Gardens) with Jiang Jun (editor-in-chief Urban china Magazine) on Sunday July 22, 2007.

more info on the event

Yuanmingyuan Artist Village

18th century

Interfering lines of different cities

By Shveta Sarda

We are a gathering. It's evening now. Imagine, a man walks through this
gathering with an axe. It's evening, and a man walks through the
gathering with a wheel barrow. And then, again, in this evening, a man
walks past with a spade.

All three have different searches.
All three will find different things in this same location.
All three will have different ways in which they search.
All three will be perceived differently.
All three will find themselves in a different set of relationships.
All three will find their image amongst those who behold them is different.

One will chop, one will gather, one will dig. Seeing the three
implements pass, we who watch them will have a different image of what
our tomorrow will bring. The sounds that accompany these images will
give different senses about the approach of tomorrow.

All of us live in different cities. Cities in which we carry with us

Constructing The Real (E)state of Chinese Contemporary Art

Relections on 798, in 2004

By Thomas J. Berghuis

That night in May my taxi cut through the traffic on Beijing's fourth ring road. I was on my way back from Tongxian driving towards the direction of Dashanzi. All around me it was pitch dark, which allowed me to contemplate the art scene without having to look at the way in which, almost overnight, the rest of the city is reconstructing itself into becoming an international commercial platform. I asked myself: What is it that makes Dashanzi so important as an art district? My thoughts wondered off in the night.

Three topics related to Cultural, Economic and Urban Geographies of Beijing's Creative Industries

By Danny Butt

1) Can you manufacture a creative cluster?

In the West, one of the challenges of creative cluster development is
the level to which governmental initiatives can develop creative
ecologies. Historically, creative clusters have developed informally
- artists begin the process of gentrification by moving into areas of
cheaper rent and with the space to set up studios. During the 60s-80s
the prime locations for artists were in the inner city, which had
been evacuated by the middle-classes who were in the suburbs. The
development of the creative industries has allowed some creative
practitioners to stay, but the incursion of other people keen to
enjoy the newly gentrified "creative environment" price out low-
income artists.

Perhaps the trajectory of 798 is similar to this logic, but there
seems to be a range of different approaches to art village

Harmonious Society and Creative Society

By Shaun Chang

Having achieved spectacular economic growth in the last decade based on a
manufacturing-driven economy, the Chinese Party of Communist is slowly
shifting its focus from economic growth to issues of social injustice
brought about by economic reforms. Former CPC leader Deng Xiaoping said
that the reforms can allow some people to become rich first. The government
is now facing growing anxiety from those who were left behind. Therefore,
the CPC has initiated a nationwide campaign to ‘Construct a Socialistic
Harmonious Society,’ hoping to cope with the growing gap between the rich
and poor. The internet has turned into a platform where social inequity can
be revealed by internet users through chat rooms or blogs, which can then
be picked up by traditional media.

Since the economic reforms and opening-up policies of 1978, China has
witnessed dramatic changes in many areas. But the development of cultural