Shanghai Project inaugural event
The Shanghai Project is a hybridized international arts festival that brings together mixed teams of culture and arts practitioners from both Shanghai and abroad and from various fields—including contemporary art, film, literature, architecture, design, performance, and education. The ideas and methods generated from these teams of researchers will form the basis for exhibitions, performances, lecture series, and publication projects to be held across the city from September 5–November 13, 2016.
The Shanghai Project is also a cultural forum through which the inhabitants of Shanghai can speak to and participate in cultivating a healthy and creative cultural milieu. In particular, this first edition of the Shanghai Project will be launched to develop a network of institutions, independent spaces, collectives, and individual creators, functioning as an inclusive platform making connections and initiating projects.
The Shanghai Project will hold its inaugural event, Nihao, Shanghai!, at the Pudong Library on December 12–13. Co-organized with Shanghai University, this international conference proposes an examination of the city from different points of entry: from the daily lives of its citizens to cinematic, literary and popular representations of Shanghai old and new; from the rapid emergence of museums and cultural institutions to the architectural, social, and demographic transformations of the city; and from the production of art and design to new forms of urban spectacle. The conference is organized into four panels, scheduled over two days: “The City in Myth and History,” “Who is the Audience?,” “Culture State/State of Culture,” and “City as Image.”
The title of the conference, Nihao, Shanghai!, is derived from the Hanyu Pinyin, or official phonetic transcription, of the greeting “Hello, Shanghai!”. This conference will serve as both greeting and welcome, first to the residents of Shanghai, and then to our international guests, to explore and engage in the artistic heartbeat of this city. In the same way that “Nihao, Shanghai!” is neither English nor Mandarin Chinese, the conference is planned as a mutually legible middle ground that highlights Shanghai Project’s intended role as a nexus connecting the varied publics of Shanghai with existing cultural infrastructure both at home and abroad. Hosted by the new Pudong Library, one such cultural infrastructure, Nihao, Shanghai! will be free and open to the public—two essential components for enlisting the city’s inhabitants in Shanghai’s recent creative renaissance.
Planned as the first in-depth conversation initiated by the Shanghai Project, are invited a broad spectrum of speakers, from visual artists, writers, and architects, to educators, scholars, critics, and curators. Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Galleries, will deliver the keynote for “City as Image” and moderate the panel on “The City in Myth and History.” Also speaking on the topic will be Sue Anne Tay, writer and documentary photographer. The British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and Larys Frogier, Director of Rockbund Art Museum, will examine the various publics of Shanghai in “Who is the Audience?”, a panel moderated by writer and curator, Carol Yinghua Lu. Finally, curator, arts writer, and Executive Director of OCAT Xi’an, Karen Smith, will participate in the panel on “Culture State/State of Culture,” along with Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at NYU, Zhang Xudong.
The discussions generated from these four panels will set the ground for a yearlong investigation of Shanghai in preparation for the opening of Shanghai Project in September 2016.