Tag Archives: beijing olympics

Has China been an architects’ test field for too long?

Has China been an architects’ test field for too long?

As the New York Times and Xinhua report, president  Xi Jinping has shared some opinions about on the desirable path that Chinese “art” scene should follow at a symposium in Beijing. Some of these tips were more obvious, like that artists should not be “slaves” of the market or “lose themselves in the tide of market economy nor go astray while answering the question of whom to serve” (Andy Warhol would disagree on this one). Or that Chinese artists should “disseminate contemporary Chinese values, embody traditional Chinese culture and reflect Chinese people’s aesthetic pursuit” and avoid “plagiarism, mechanization and fast-food style...
Context is God. Try to understand this before building your China monument

Context is God. Try to understand this before building your China monument

Two days ago while I was on a cab ride through Beijing Haidian district, I noticed a glittery gate of a newly constructed compound with geometric decorations on its surface. It is common in Beijing, as in most of Chinese cities, to enclose residential 大院 compounds in walls. Usually the higher is the value of the compound, the stricter is the security at the compound’s gates. This reminds me of how castles in medieval Europe were built. The opposition between the rationality of the human-built environment and the chaos of the outside world, with the uncontrolled mess of a still frightening...
Young punks and flowery monks

Young punks and flowery monks

Only ten years ago policemen in certain areas of China would question young men with tattoos since they were usually regarded as punks looking for trouble. But today, like photography, tattoos are a way for Chinese people to express their personal emancipation and hopes about life. With a rising middle class, the Chinese have more disposable income than ever, giving them the ability to spend more on leisure and personal expenditures such as body art. While American tattoo culture has evolved over the last 150 years, from the sailors and soldiers who marked their skin as a rite of passage...