Counter-mappings of creative industries (Beijing, 2007)
- overview
- program
- chinese version of concept
- maps
- documentation
- credits

Urban food production (Beijing, 2008)
- program
- chinese version of concept
- maps
- documentation
- credits

Creative Industries in Beijing 2007 - Overview

1. Framing Concepts
Based on preliminary fieldwork in Beijing in 2005 and 2006 and follow-up discussions at the MyCreativity convention of international creative industries researchers held in Amsterdam, 2006, this project adopts the model of a mobile research laboratory as a framework for collaborative research on the creative industries and media education in Beijing.

This project draws on the model of Makrolab – one of the most renowned temporary sustainable laboratories mobilised around the world. Makrolab brings small groups of scientists and artists together for up to 120 days to research aesthetic, scientific and technological dimensions of local environments. But Makrolab does not, as yet, undertake research on the creative industries. Another key point of reference and inspiration is the work of Dehli-based media lab Sarai, who have long engaged the relations between urban change, social-aesthetic experience, inter-cultural teaching and research platforms and media-cultures. There are more proximate resonances with the Mobile Lab for Borderline project to be undertaken in Beijing, 22 June – 1 July, 2007.

The project in Beijing is organized around the following key vectors of research:
• migrant networks and service labour
• network ecologies of creative waste
• informational geographies vs. creative clusters
• centrality of real-estate speculation for creative economies
• import cultures & export innovations in architecture and urban design
• artist villages and market engineering

Theatre in Motion at beiLAB, Beijing
Borderline Festival/Dashanzi
Urban China Magazine, Beijing
Beijing Film Academy
MAD - an architectural design studio
Department of Chinese Language & Literature, Tsinghua University

Creative Collaboration as Constituting the Common
This project brings academics together with urban research organisations, artists, curators, media producers and policy-makers in order to undertake transdisciplinary research on Beijing’s creative industries. The project adopts the principle of collaboration, understood here as what German media activist Florian Schneider calls ‘working together with an agency with which one is not immediately connected’. Importantly, such a notion of collaboration does not assume participants share something in common; rather, it recognises the common as that which is constructed precisely through relations of difference, tension and dispute.

What, in other words, constitutes the ‘common’ of creative industries when different capacities and conflicting values and interests are brought into relation? Might these differences indeed be crucial for understanding the heterogeneity of forces and subjectivities that comprise creative industries in Beijing? Moreover, how might this inform research on the creative industries elsewhere in the world, be that Europe, UK, Japan or Australia?

Finally, what methodological lessons can be gleaned from the instantiation of a temporary research platform whose social-political sphere of practice is underscored by the logic of translating cultural divergence and social disjuncture as the common of creative industries? How, then, might research methodologies be open to conflict and the expression of difference as constituting the common of collaboration?

This project orients such questions around the production of ‘mapping documents’. It aims to make visible and bring into relation that which has become ‘partitioned’ from discourses on creativity (e.g. experiences of creative labour, service workers, etc.). Unlike the usual mapping documents on the creative industries, which are typically derived from compilations of statistics on economic growth in the sector, this project will produce an alternative map of the creative industries in terms of:

• a practice-based approach that will supplement policy mapping documents of creative industries, which can be enriched by a more extensive knowledge-base of actual conditions in the creative industries
• a rapidly transforming urban environment in Beijing and geographies of inclusion/exclusion
• real-estate speculation and its impact on demographic shifts and patterns of migration in the service sectors
• zones of concentration for artist’s studios, collectives and small enterprises as distinct from officially designated ‘creative clusters’ with high investment and national/transnational corporate actors
• creative labour as a mode of expression and organisation outside of the logic of intellectual property

Transdisciplinary Urban-Media Research
The project thus undertakes an anthropology of creative industries from the perspective of creative producers and those displaced by urban developments. By undertaking a collaborative anthropology of new institutional forms – what we term ‘organized networks’ – this project identifies the transdisciplinary dimension of creative industries in Beijing. Transdisciplinarity can be understood as an experimental research methodology and pedagogy that emerges within the logic of networks as they traverse diverse institutional forms. To this end, transdisciplinarity is a practice interested in the educational capacities of network cultures. This project investigatges how the formation of organized networks illuminates some of the material qualities and tensions of creative industries in Beijing.

The project holds the precept that transdisciplinary urban-media research is an autonomous expressive capacity that subsists within a field of translocal and supranational structural forces. This is not to suggest a form of structural determination, but it is to recognise that tensions of a particular order are inherent to media education that refuses the stagnant methods and orthodox theoretical approaches that by and large characterise the state of play, be that in Chinese universities or the rest of the world.

As the university increasingly loses its monopoly on the provision of knowledge as a result of neoliberal governance and the advent of peer-to-peer and user-producer media systems, media education is in crisis mode. Best practice is frequently found outside of university degree programs. Expertise has become distributed across a population of practioners and everyday users. How, then, might such knowledge feed back into university programs? Can formal accreditation for autonomous education be extended to non-university actors? Are such processes even desirable?

The glacial temporality of university curriculum development and subjugation of teachers by the life-depleting demands of audit cultures sets a challenge for media education programs that wish to synchronise their curricula with the speed of popular media literacies. To distinguish market and user hype from quality that makes a substantive difference is near impossible. Consensus will not be found beyond the fleeting moments of micro-adoption among A-list bloggers and their links, or whatever other community of users you care to name. Ratified standards for media education within the cultures of networks do not exist.

Through techniques and methods of creative collaboration, this project develops a ‘counter-mapping’ of creative industries in Beijing. In migrating media and urban research outside of the university, this project recomposes media education as a collaborative research process focussed on critique and analysis of urban transformations and the politics of creative and service labour.

One of the aims of the project is to gain a greater understanding of what is happening in particular creative production areas across Beijing (e.g. Dashazi Art District, Songzhuang, Tongzhou District; GBD Art District). As such, it is important that the methodology is sensitive and responsive to local phenomena.

In summary, this project aims to:
• engage postgraduate students from Beijing universities as key contributors to the production of transdisciplinary research on Beijing’s creative industries
• develop pedagogical techniques and teaching philosophy around principles of collaboration and cross-cultural translation
• build an online archive of resources that illuminate aspects of the creative industries rarely detailed in policy reports
• enrich the analytical and policy understandings of the creative industries
• collaborate with partner organisations/researchers (artists and designers, policy advisers, project consultants, software designers, research centres, existing networks) to create new institutional frameworks that address the needs, career paths, and conditions specific to the situation of creative labour
• critically develop the model of a mobile research laboratory as an independent education provider & new institutional form in an international (EU, Asia, Australia) context of outsourcing modules of study and research to the private sector
• consider the politics of translation, both in terms of the communication of a ‘common’ project and the mobilisation of resources across transnational networks interested in new modes of education provision

2. Global Context of Project
In the past few years China has joined the international rush towards creative industries. While the policy discourse on creative industries in China is similar to that in other countries in East Asia, Australasia and Europe, it would incorrect to assume that China’s engagement with the creative industries is simply a case of derivative behaviour. The special qualities of creative industries in China are not, however, to be found in policy discourse, which tends to reproduce the international hype around spectacular growth rates associated with digital ICTs and the ‘new economy’. For example, the institutional and regulatory environment surrounding the media and cultural industries, advertising, music, and urban development – some of the key sectors of the creative industries in China – does not correspond with the conditions that lead to such boosterism in the case of the UK and US in the late nineties.

With the ascendancy of the creative industries as the preferred policy model for countries around the world seeking to address problems of unemployment and urban regeneration in a post-industrial knowledge economy, there has been a curious omission of the fundamentals and complementarities that constitute networks of knowledge transfer, creativity, intellectual property, etc. Much research in the creative industries is highly speculative, interpretive and economistic, concerned with large scale industry data rather than the network of formal and informal relations that make possible creative production.

Considerable attention is given to R&D, technical infrastructure, and government support of short-term incubators, but the primary conditions of possibility and potential longevity are occluded. Research is usually produced quickly, with little detailed qualitative analysis of the structure of economic relationships creative industries’ firms operate in. In many cases, the policy discourses travel and are taken up without critical appraisal of distinctly local conditions.

Not only is this a problem of politics, it is also a problem of research methodology. The former is embodied in creative industries policy that bypasses consultation with stakeholders, migration policies, intra- and international labour mobility in an environment of partially open borders and uncertain constitution. The latter is apparent in the disconnect between the methodological borders of disciplines and the transversal nature of communication within network cultures. Communication flows, in other words, that are external to the disciplinary borders still operative in many university environments.

This project engages both these problematics as a point of departure for investigation. Key here is an understanding of creative labour as an uncertain constitution that conditions the future of network societies and informational economies.

The pilot study will provide important research data for future comparative research that examines the inter-relations between geopolitics (regional trade agreements, national and multi-lateral policies on labour mobility, security and migration, etc.) and the peculiarities of intraregional, translocal and global cultural flows within the creative industries. A comparative focus on the creative industries enables new questions to be asked about the mutually constitutive tensions between these forces, practices, histories and policies.

This project establishes a prototype for new cross-cultural educational and research institutions organised about the logic of networks. As signalled in policy milestones such as the Bologna Process (1999), scholarly monographs and OECD reports, the landscape in higher education has been undergoing gradual, and in some instances rapid, transformation toward a market model.

The Bologna Process is more complex than a simple transition toward a market model, but its modularization of educational processes should nonetheless be considered as a core dynamic of the contemporary second wave of globalization (services economy). This dynamic is also how educational changes intersect with the emergent economy of culture after the first wave (trade) has been nearly completed, which is why the Bologna Process holds important implications beyond the realm of education.

The role of universities as exclusive providers of higher education is changing as small and medium enterprises obtain government accreditation for provision of ‘educational services’. We are yet to see organisations develop out of the field of network cultures as providers of high quality research and teaching.

The project will contribute to international networks of ‘free’ or ‘open’ education, a few of which include: The Network University, Manoa Free University, Copenhagen Free University, Open Theory, Institute for Distributed Creativity, Global Classroom, Radical Education, Edu-Factory, Université Tangente, Ars Industrialis, and the current Summit of Non-Aligned Initiatives in Education Culture.

In summary, the potential impacts of this project include:
• new research on the creative industries and urban cultures in Beijing
• contributing to the collaborative invention of networks as new institutional entities engaged in transdisciplinary education practices
• serving as a model for ‘best practices’ in terms of how the experience of building social and technical networks enables the potential for the translation of educational and research resources across network cultures
• producing important resources, data and knowledge that assists in a larger study on business models for networks as educational providers

3. Method: Immanent Critique
As a collaborative project, the program of research will be jointly developed among participants.

Some key themes and activities to be explored include:
• mapping the distribution of creative industries ‘clusters’ across Beijing as defined by government policy
• map the demographic shifts accompanying the transformation of land zoned as residential, small business or urban fringe into land zoned for creative industries clusters
• map the distribution of emerging and declining artists’ collectives
• conduct interviews, produce podcast radio programs and video documentaries with new and displaced populations (‘locative media’)
• hold workshops with presentations by various participants
• investigate possibilities for ‘counter-designs’ of creative industries business and research in Beijing
• facilitate partnerships between university programs (architecture and design, new media, cultural and media studies, sociology), entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations

4. Partners and participants
Institutional partners & venues
Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
Theatre in Motion at beiLAB, Beijing
Borderline Festival/Dashanzi
Urban China Magazine, Beijing
Beijing Film Academy
MAD - an architectural design studio
Department of Chinese Language & Literature, Tsinghua University

Bert de Muynck, architect and urban researcher, Beijing
Mónica Carriço, architect and urban researcher, Beijing
Els Silvrants,Theatre in Motion at beiLAB, Beijing
Jiang Jun, Urban China
Shaun Chang, New Media, Tsinghua University
Chen Shuyu, co-founder of PLACE design and editor of MAD.exe
You Mi, independent filmmaker, Beijing
Ni Weifeng, new media researcher, Beijing
Professor Boxu Yang, New Media, Peking University
Chaos Chen, curator/cultural producer
Professor Zou Huan, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University
Erik Amir, MAD Project Architect
Binke Lenhardt and Hao Dong, crossboundaries architects
Matthew Hu, Friends of Old Beijing
Fang Tieying, OMA Beijing office
Professor Meng Yue, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University
Professpr Xu Jian, Fine Art College, Sichuan Polytech College
Dirk Eschenbacher, Ogilvy regional creative director for Asia Pacific
local postgraduate students
local designers, filmmakers, architects & urban planners, policy-makers

Regional & International
Dr Ned Rossiter, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies (Digital Media), Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney
Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney
Dr Soenke Zehle, Transcultural Anglophone Studies, University of Saarland
Dr Thomas J. Berghuis, Curator, Sydney/Beijing
Danny Butt, Suma Media Consulting, Aotearoa-New Zealand
Luka Frelih, Frida V, artist & info-mapping, Ljubljana
Dr Jon Solomon, Department of Futures Studies, Tamkang University, Taiwan
Dr Brian Holmes, writer and cultural critic, Paris
Adrian Blackwell, Artist, Architectect & Urban Designer, University of Toronto
Shveta Sarda, coordinator of Cybermohalla projects, Sarai, Dehli
Luka Frelih, Frida V, artist & info-mapping, Ljubljana
Associate Professor Shujen Wang, Emerson College/Harvard University/Beijing
Dr Daniel Jewesbury, Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

Chinese version of concept




Trans-CIB 项目以研讨会,工作坊和六个向度的调查等方式

Hungry Urbanization: Eating Beijing

University of Toronto
Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

Course Instructors
Adrian Blackwell, adrian.blackwell [at]
Xu Jian, xujian1958 [at] (Sichuan Polytechnic)

In collaboration with Meng Yue (University of Toronto + Tsinghua University) and literature students at Tsing Hua University and Ned Rossiter.

Mobile research laboratory based at beiLab and Tsing Hua University.

'The central goal of social progress became the elimination of the three great disparities: between physical and mental labour, between city and countryside, and between industrial and agricultural worlds'.
Qian Liqun describing Mao Zedong’s revolutionary program

'The rural component of Chinese civilization was more or less uniform and it extended everywhere that Chinese civilization penetrated. It, and not the cities, defined the Chinese way of life. It was like the net in which the cities and towns of China were suspended…. To extend this metaphor, Chinese cities were but knots of the same material, of one piece with the net, denser in quality but not foreign bodies resting on it'.
Frederick Mote – The Transformation of Nanking 1350-1400

'“Beyond Good and Evil, at least this does not mean: beyond good and bad.” The good is when a body directly compounds its relation to ours, and with all or part of its power, increases ours. A food, for example. For us, the bad is when a body decomposes our body’s relation, although it still combines with our parts, but in ways that do not correspond to our essence, as when a poison breaks down the blood. Hence good and bad have a primary, objective meaning, but one that is relative and partial: that which agrees with our nature or does not agree with it'.
Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy

Traditionally China has always seen itself as an agricultural economy. The role of the state was always to manage the agricultural landscape often through the implementation of large scale infrastructure projects and the maintenance of a comprehensive network of grain stores, to prevent famine. China’s arborescent political system was developed in part to accomplish these challenging tasks.

Today, there is an alarming realization that China’s grain warehouses have been left empty; a global food shortage is driving up prices of food worldwide; and global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. Beijing itself suffers from unceasing sprawl upwards and outwards, causing traffic congestion and incredible air and water pollution, which in turn poisons air, water and food. While the city hungrily eats up the agricultural land around it, Beijing citizens find themselves consuming greater and greater quantities of toxins. Still, even in the face of these incredible challenges, Beijing sees itself as a leader in Urban Agricultural practices, with a surprisingly diversified peri-urban agricultural industry.

This course will attempt to understand the city of Beijing as a complex organism, an assemblage at multiple scales that is also part of a much larger cycle of food consumption globally. Food cycles remain one of the fundamental biological, social and cultural needs that urban design and architecture necessarily facilitate. By studying the problematics and potentials of food cycles in Beijing, we will gain a better understanding of the integrated relationship urban and rural spaces.

The course will introduce students to both the historical urbanism of Chinese cities and contemporary forms of urban expansion with special attention paid to urban food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste. In addition it will familiarize students with the quotidian realities of life in contemporary Chinese urban spaces. Students should develop techniques for mapping the forces that operate in peri-urban spaces.

You will be asked to imagine the problematic of urban food at three scales:

Project 1: architecture of a meal
Examine a single meal as a way of understanding the cultural, social, ecological and biological functions of food within everyday life in Beijing.

Worth 20% of the term mark

Project 2 – food architecture of a neighbourhood
Examine your specified neighbourhood type, to find how food is produced, processed, distributed, consumed and removed.

Worth 20% of the term mark

Project 3: food architecture of the city - the form of food systems
Study the city of Beijing according to the following 6 catagories: Water systems, farming, Processing, food distribution, food consumption, and waste.

Worth 30% of the term mark

Class discussions
We will have 9 class discussions during the course. Every student is expected to present one reading each week (every second class). Three students will present each reading, one student should introduce the thesis of the article using 1-2 key illustrations, a second will explain the key concepts, and the third student should prepare 2-3 questions about the article for discussion. Each presentation should last 5 minutes maximum. Prepare a single page of writing (300 words max.) in advance and hand it out to the group for discussion.

30% for six presentations (5% each). Due in the class of the presentation.

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Graduate Grading and Evaluation Practices Policy (and how that policy is interpreted and applied in this faculty). The University of Toronto, School of Graduate Studies, 2007 - 2008 Calendar, explains that policy in detail.

All assignments are due in class at the specified time and date. Late projects may be submitted after the deadline; however they will be subject to a late penalty of 10% per week or part thereof. In the case of illness or other special circumstances, notification should be given to the instructors and the programme office as soon as possible before the deadline in question.

Chinese Spatial Systems

Seminar 1 - Tuesday May 13

Class Introduction
Classical Chinese spatial strategies
1.1 Schinz, Alfred “The Structure of Chinese Cities and Towns” in The Magic Square: Cities in Ancient China (Stuttgart / London: Edition Axel Menges, 1996) 380-421

1.2 Xu Yinong “Courtyard and Public Urban space” in The Chinese city in space and time: the development of urban form in Suzhou (Hawai’i: University of Hawai’i Press, 2000) 166-199

1.3 Zhu Jianfei. “The Social Space of the City” in Chinese Spatial Strategies: Imperial Beijing 1420-1911 (London and New York: Routledge Curzon, 2004) 45-93

1.4 Francois Jullien, “Frontal versus Oblique Attack” in Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece (New York: Zone Books, 2000) 15-53.

Seminar 2 - Friday May 16
The integrated spatiality of the Chinese Market
2.1 Kenneth Pomeranz, “The Great Divergence”, Lecture at University of Toronto, January 25, 2008

2.2 Mike Davis, “The Poor Eat Their Homes” in Late Victorian Holocausts (London, New York: Verso, 2001) 61-90.

2.3 Giovanni Arrighi, “States, Markets, and Capitalism, East and West” in Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century (London, New York: Verso, 2007) 309-350.

Seminar 3: Monday May 19, Communist Planning
3.1 Shuishan Yu, “Redefining the Axis of Beijing: Revolution and Nostalgia in the Planning of the PRC Capital”, Journal of Urban History, Vol. 34 No. 4, (May 2008) 571-608.

3.2 David Bray, “Danwei Space” in Social Space and Governance in Urban China (Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 2005) 123-156.

3.3 Duanfang Lu, “Travelling urban form: the neighbourhood unit in China”, Planning Perspectives, 21(October 2006) 369–392.

Review 1: Wednesday May 21, Architecture of the Meal

II In-between cities

Seminar 4: Friday May 23, Dispersions of Governance and Production in the period of reform
4.1 Richard Walker and Daniel Buck, “The Chinese Road,” The New Left Review 46 (2007): 62.

4.2 Wang Hui, “Depoliticized politics from East and West” in New Left Review (2007):

4.3 Brian Holmes, “One World, One Dream: China at the Risk of New Subjectivities”, Continental Drift, 2008

Seminar 5:Monday May 26, In-between the City and the countryside
5.1 John Friedman, “Urbanization of the Countryside” in China’s Urban Transition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005) 35-55

5.2 Andrew Marton, “The Lower Yangzi Delta: historical geography and contemporary patterns of change” in China’s Spatial Economic Development: Restless Landscapes in the Lower Yangzi Delta (London, New York: Routledge, 2000) 57-93.

5.3 Daniel Buck, “The Subsumption of Space and the Spatiality of Subsumption: Primitive Accumulation and the Transition to Capitalism in Shanghai, China,” Antipode (Volume 39, Number 4, September 2007), 762-764.

Seminar 6: Monday June 2, Farmers in the city
6.1 Gu Chaolin and Liu Haiyong “Social Polarization and Segregation in Beijing” in The New Chinese City John R. Logan Ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 2002) 198-211

6.2 Dutton, M.“Subaltern Tactics, Government Response” in Streetlife China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 130-158

6.3 Deng, Frederic F. and Huang Youqin, “Uneven land reform and urban sprawl in china: the case of Beijing” Progress in Planning 61 (2004) 211-236

III Organic Urban systems

Seminar 7: Wednesday June 4, Biopolitics
7.1 Maurizio Lazzarato, "From Biopower to Biopolitics" , trans. Ivan A.Ramirez, Pli 13 (2002): 99-110.

7.2 Hein Mallee, “Migration, Hukou and Resistance in Reform China” in Perry and Selden eds. Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance (New York: Routledge, 2000) 83-101

7.3 Adrian Blackwell, “Casting Nets: dispersions of governance, production and urbanization in contemporary China” in Networked Cultures: Parallel Architectures and the Politics of Space (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2008) 100-109.

Review 2: Friday June 6, Food architecture of an urban enclave

Seminar 8: Monday June 16, Environmental Systems
8.1 Elisabeth C. Economy, “The Death of the Huai River” in The River Runs Black (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004) 1-26

8.2 Alana Boland, “The Trickle-down Effect: Ideology and the Development of Premium Water Networks in China’s Cities” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 31.1 (2007): 21-40.

8.3 ARUP, “Dongtan eco-city” in Cities From Zero, Shumon Buzar ed. (London: Architectural Association, 2007) 57-69.

Seminar 9: Wednesday June 18, Urban Food Systems
9.1 J Wolf, M S van Wijk, X Cheng, Y Hu, C A van Diepen, A W Jongbloed, H van Keulen, C H Lu and R Roetter, “Urban and peri-urban agricultural production in Beijing municipality and its impact on water quality”, Environment and Urbanization 2003; 15; 141

9.2 Andre Viljoen, Katrin Bohn, Joe Howe, “More Food with Less Space: Why Bother?” in Andre Viljoen ed. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities (Oxford: Architectural Press, 2005) 19-29

9.3 Yung Ho Chang, “Yuan” in Michael Bell and Sze Tsung Leong, Slow Space (New York: Monacelli Press, 1999) 346-358.

Review 3: Friday June 20, architecture of the city - the form of food systems

Other Resources:
Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security

Transdisciplinary Research on Creative Industries in Beijing (CIB)

Mobile Research Laboratory, Beijing
28 May – 31 July, 2007
Coordinators: Ned Rossiter, Bert de Muynck, Mónica Carriço
contact: ned [at] nedrossiter [dot] org

mailing list:

This project brings international and Chinese academics together with urban research organisations, artists, curators, media producers and policy-makers in order to undertake transdisciplinary research on Beijing’s creative industries. Through collaborative practices of self-organization, one of the primary aims is to create a ‘counter-mapping’ of creative industries in Beijing. Unlike the usual mapping documents on the creative industries, which are typically derived from compilations of statistics on economic growth in the sector, this project will produce an alternative map of the creative industries in terms of the following vectors of research:

• migrant networks and service labour
• network ecologies of creative waste
• informational geographies vs. creative clusters
• centrality of real-estate speculation for creative economies
• import cultures & export innovations in architecture and urban design
• artist villages and market engineering

trans-CIB will consist of seminars, workshops and fieldwork organized around these six vectors. The research project is open to all who wish to participate in discussions, media practice, and a collaborative anthropology of Beijing’s creative industries.

Topic 1: Counter-Cartographies & Mapping Creative Industries

28 May, 4.30-7pm
Dongcheng 100007
Dongsi Shisi Tiao 93 A lou 4 ceng

Ned Rossiter, media theorist
Els Silvrants, Theatre in Motion at beiLAB, Beijing
Brian Holmes, cultural critic, Paris
Jiang Jun, Urban China

Topic 2: Methodologies of Practice for Counter-Mapping

MOCA Beijing, Songzhuang Art Village 19 June – 4-7pm
Guan-Guang Yuan, 500 Daxingzhuang Cun, Songzhuang Zhen, Tongzhou
District, Beijing 1011134

Associate Professor Shujen Wang, Director of Media Studies, Emerson
College and Research Associate, Fairbank Center for East Asian
Research, Harvard University
Danny Butt, Suma Media Consulting, Aotearoa-New Zealand
Shveta Sarda, Coordinator of Cybermohalla projects, Sarai, Delhi

Borderline Festival, Beijing, 22 June - 1 July
For Borderline Festival, trans-CIB will contribute the following two research platforms and speakers:

Topic 3: Cultural, Economic and Urban Geographies of Beijing’s Creative Industries
25 June, 5-8pm

Beijing Film Academy
International School
4# Xi Tu Cheng Road
Haidian District

Shaun Chang, New Media researcher, Tsinghua University, Beijing
Danny Butt, Suma Media Consulting, Aotearoa-New Zealand
Shveta Sarda, Coordinator of Cybermohalla projects, Sarai, Delhi
Adrian Blackwell, Artist, Architect & Urban Designer, University of Toronto, B.A.S.E. (Beijing Architecture Studio Enterprise)

Chair: Ned Rossiter

Topic 4: Network Ecologies, Counter-Anthropologies, Aesthetic Regimes
29 June, 5-8pm

Drive-in Movie Theatre park by 2kolegas bar (Inside Drive-in Movie Theater)
Liangma Qiao Road n. 21
(North side of Dong Feng Road, 300m west of Dong Feng Qiao)
Tel: 0086-10-81964820

Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney
Dr Soenke Zehle, Transcultural Anglophone Studies, University of Saarland
Dirk Eschenbacher, Ogilvy regional creative director for Asia Pacific

Chair: Ned Rossiter

Topic 5: Cartographic Methodologies for Urban Research
Thursday July 19, 7.30-9.30pm

MAD - an architectural design studio
东城区北新桥板桥南巷7号西3楼,中国北京 100007
3rd floor west tower, no.7 Banqiao Nanxiang, Beixinqiao, Beijing, China 100007
电话/tel:+86 10 64026632, 64031080

Beijing's immense urban explosion in the past decade has raised several issues about the type of city being created. Within urbanism, discussions flip between the past and present, hutongs and highrises, ringroads and Olympic venues, real-estate speculation, the peripheral urban condition and gated communities. Taking the creative clusters as a point of cartographic departure and urban analysis, we are interested in developing a method that opens new lines of inquiry for urban research.

Focussing on urban and architectural perspectives and the problematic of transdisciplinary method, this meeting seeks to broaden the horizon of debate beyond discussions about 'playgrounds' for international design fantasies and capital accumulation.

This announcement is also a call for participation. Please do post your questions and remarks on this list and we will bring them into the discussion. We will also publish fragments of postings in the Orgnets/Urban China magazine collaboration.

Binke Lenhardt and Hao Dong, crossboundaries architects

crossboundaries architects is a young, Berlin and Beijing based team of German and Chinese architects aimed at linking the professional and design experience of western architects and consultants to the challenging possibilities of the prospering Chinese economy as well as to millennia of Chinese cultural heritage and the lively, multifaceted Chinese culture. Our goal is to develop high-quality solutions, derived from Chinese culture and architectural needs, based on western know-how and experience.

Matthew Hu, Friends of Old Beijing

Friends of Old Beijing is a nine-month volunteer program jointly launched by CHP and That's Beijing magazine. The primary purpose of this program is to understand and monitor the present conditions of the old city through participants' regular walks among the hutongs. Our findings will be published on the CHP website, reported in That’s Beijing, distributed to the Chinese media, and summarized in a final report to the Office of the Mayor of Beijing Municipality and relevant departments by next June. We will also help to develop heritage trails based on walking routes, with maps and information pamphlets describing the local history and special points of interest in each of our chosen heritage conservation districts.

Interview, 'City Scene: Five Questions for ... He Shuzhong and Matthew Hu', That's Beijing, November, 2006.

Erik Amir, MAD Project Architect
MAD – Beijing 2050

The Tiananmen Square we see today does not have a long history. All the changes it witnessed in the past few decades reflect the evolution of the nation’s spirit. By 2050, a mature and democratic China will emerge, and spaces for massive political gatherings and troop processions like the Red Square may no longer be necessary. The transportation could no longer rely on the ground traffic system; it may utilize an above-ground or underground system due to changes in transportation. What will Tiananmen Square be like when it is deprived of its political and transportation functions? The ground might turn into a garden or park, and cultural facilities could be placed underground to connect to a transportation network. A national theatre is hidden inside a 'landscape mountain', diffusing its forms in what is now Zhongnanhai, the nearby Communist Party compound. In 2050, Tiananmen Square is an urban space filled with life and the biggest green area in the centre of Beijing.

Jonathan Watts, 'Why Tiananmen Square could Go from Red to Green', Guardian, May 4, 2007.

Chair: Bert de Muynck

Topic 6: Info-Geographies Workshop & Open Forum
Sunday July 22, 2007, 3-7pm

Urban China
One Way Street Library
Yuan Ming Yuan East Road, 100084 Haidian District, Beijing

圆明园店地址:北京市海淀区中关村北路 圆明园东
电话:+86 (0)10 6257 0357 传真:+86 (0)10 6257 0357 邮编:

1. workshop on info-mapping and with Luka Frelih
- bring your laptop computers in order to participate in openstreetmap

2. excursion through Yuanmingyuan (Garden of Gardens) with Jiang Jun in search of what remains of the 1990s artist village

3. open forum on Urban Cartographies, Real-Estate Bubbles, and the Creative Industries

Luka Frelih, Frida V, artist & info-mapping, Ljubljana
Jiang Jun, Urban China
Zou Huan, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University

Topic 7: Informational Geographies vs. Creative Clusters
Sunday 29 July, 2-5pm

Xinzhai (Building), Room 304
Department of Chinese Language & Literature
Tsinghua University

Direction from the Northwest Gate of Tsinghua:
After entering the gate, turn left and walk toward the East, and pass the football ground on the right. The 'Xin zhai' building is a 3-storey redbrick building on the left side (North side) - look for the two orange-coloured public phones at the front which are unique to XinZhai.

See the campus map for further details.

This final event presents research undertaken on the mapping of open wireless internet connections in Beijing. The premise of this research vector was to register the ways in which the the GPS coordinates of open wireless connections constitute a counter-mapping of the cluster model of creative industries (see the 'maps' link for examples of the latter).

Luka Frelih, Frida V, artist & info-mapping, Ljubljana
You Mi, independent filmmaker, Beijing
Ni Weifeng, new media researcher, Beijing

Chair: Ned Rossiter

Frida V. in Beijing and OpenStreetMap's First Leaps in Beijing

By Luka Frelih

About Frida V

Frida V. is a rugged and comfortable bicycle equipped for efficient, safe and enjoyable exploration and mapping of public urban spaces. The optimized-for-bike interface enables easy creation of location-tagged media, automated mapping of open wireless networks and opportunistic synchronisation with a server on the Internet.

The current version of the Frida V. system is based on a consumer available wireless router running Linux and the Arduino micro-controller system. Custom firmwares have been developed for both, integrating them into a seamless interactive device.

Technical requirements:

• needs access to power and open (no password) wireless
• location should be accessible to bicycles to enter from and leave to the street

The project was initiated as a collaboration between Ljudmila and the _V2 Society in 2004. It has since been in development as an open source hardware solution, producing two versions of the system. Among the cities explored so far are Rotterdam, Ljubljana, New York City, Maribor, München, Zagreb, Bergen, San Francisco, Manchester and Beijing. Besides being a tool for individual exploration and mapping of the digital communication landscape, it has also been well received for grass-roots mapping of cities like the community-developed OpenStreetMap project.

Frida's control panel 2006 (cc-by-sa) Luka Frelih

Frida illustration 2004 (cc-by-sa) Ciril Horjak

Frida V. in Beijing
In 2007 Frida was invited to take part in the OrgNets project on counter-mapping the creative industries in Beijing. The new system based on a usb router was used. Aside from some failing batteries and overexposure on the camera it was all working pretty well.

The experience was unforgettable. Riding one of the ‘nine million’ bicycles trough Beijing was eye-opening not just for me, but it seems for all who rode along – hong lai wai, Chinese co-researchers and local Beijingers. We went exploring the huge city grid and countless contrasts lurking inside its cellular structures. On the leather seat of the bike, we glided with, against or across the swaying sea of taxis, tried uncommon paths and serendipitous detours.

The overpowering engagement with the city left little spare attention for the blips of open wireless we stumbled upon on the way. The group ride, where everyone took along cameras (later edited by missumi into a movie), is definitely a model to be used again. Looking at recorded pictures, videos and mapping tracks I can access the buzz and smells of Beijing again. Hopefully some of them shine trough these pages to you too.

I am glad that I was not harassed or arrested for either GPS logging or operating my makeshift electronic device on these travels, as some people have recently been. I even got my bicycle lock back from the land of lost baggage. Lucky, I guess.

The GPS tracks collected with Frida are orange, tracks in OSM are cyan and under them is the OSM map data in this screen capture of the JOSM map editor.

Frida tracks, OSM data, Beijing 2008 (cc-by-sa) Luka Frelih, Frida V. and OpenStreetMap contributors

Beijing, summer 2007, from a bicycle point of view. All 2007 (cc-by-sa) Frida V.

Frida V., Hou Hai lake in google earth
Frida V., bikes, google earth
Frida V., hutong, google earth
Frida V., Beijing grid, google earth

Georeferenced images from Frida V. viewed in Google Earth

All 2008 (cc-by-sa) Luka Frelih, Frida V. and OpenStreetMap contributors and (c) Google et al.

OpenStreetMap's First Leaps in Beijing
The OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative map of the whole world. The data and maps made by the contributors are shared under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. This means anyone is free to print or use them as a base for original mapping without payment, as long as credit is given and the right to reuse is left open.

When I visited last year, the OSM had barely sketched the outlines of Beijing. I hope our two-week effort gave it a bit of a push and publicity in some right circles. In any case, looking at it now it seems to be in excellent shape. The map is growing, free and unauthorized. This huge city will take a lot of work from many people, so this writing intends to document the first steps you will have to take to start contributing.

Sign up with the project:

• Get an account for yourself at
• Set your home location appropriately. lat: 39.9 lon: 116.4
• Get an account for yourself with the wiki (optional)

This easy-to-use flash editor can be accessed from the main OSM map pages anytime by clicking on the edit tab above the map. You have to be logged in to the website to actually use it.

It is very easy to draw linear features like streets, roads and railways, or area features like lakes with it, tracing over the satellite imagery supplied. You will need local knowledge of the area to correctly assign street names and split ways where the name changes. But as these can be added by someone anytime after the initial drawing, feel free to trace the shapes even if you do not know the names.

The more capable editor, JOSM, is a Java application that can be installed on your computer. It works on all platforms. Besides drawing ways over GPS traces, JOSM also supports adding and tagging single points (nodes), needed for marking landmarks or linking to geolocated media. Don't let the look scare you, this is a powerful and versatile mapping tool, developed and optimized by and for the thousands of OSM mappers worldwide. Unfortunately, its site is blocked by the Great Firewall of China. There is a working mirror in the UK: Larted JOSM mirror where you can download it from.

Images - OpenStreetMaps of Beijing
OpenStreetMap - no. 1
OpenStreetMap - no. 2
OpenStreetMap - no. 3
Editing the OSM with Potlatch

All 2008 (cc-by-sa) OpenStreetMap contributors

Luka Frelih is an artist working with computers and networks, a computer programmer, free software hacker and web designer. He is a core member of Ljudmila – Ljubljana Digital Media Lab since its founding in 1994.

Funding and Participating Institutions and Organizations

Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
Theatre in Motion at beiLAB, Beijing
Borderline Festival/Dashanzi
Urban China Magazine, Beijing
Beijing Film Academy
MAD - an architectural design studio
Department of Chinese Language & Literature, Tsinghua University