Is there Really Space for Creativity?

By Lothar Spree and Davide Quadrio

In the realm of contemporary visual art everything seems to be about the products and the market. In our conversation with many artists in China, one particular expression stood out: the education system in China reflects what is defined as a ‘circular system’, repeating over and over a standardized educational framework. But if this is the system in place how can we respond to the call by the Government in China to foster ‘creativity’?

There are a range of informal models that address this problematic. Many emerge from the thriving scene of creative clusters and districts in Shanghai and Beijing. Numerous organizations, especially in visual art, have endeavoured to support creativity – the e-Art adventure of the city of Shanghai is a notable example. But in order to support educational structures that facilitate creativity it is necessary to find places where art can generate creativity. This is not easy since most venues are designed as exhibition spaces, and not places of development or production.

Now is the occasion to build platforms for encounters between professionals, businessmen, architects, artists, academics, politicians and foundations to achieve, with a strong Asian perspective, creativity in all its forms. But who will be up to this task and, more importantly, how can such platforms be created and supported both by the private and public sector?

* A longer version of this text can be found here.

Lothar Spree is currently Professor and Dean for the Film, TV and Media Art Department, College of Communication & Art, Tongji University, Shanghai, China. At present, Lothar is returning to his personal film and media art production, but continues teaching film, TV, scriptwriting and media art in the tradition of the Bauhaus, focusing on teaching creativity.

Davide Quadrio managed BizArt Art Centre in Shanghai, the first not for profit independent creative lab in China for a decade, and in 2007 created Arthub, a platform to support artistic endeavors in Asia. Davide is the curator of public art for the Eart festival, October 2008 in Shanghai.