798: The Stage for China's Dreams
- April 6, 2017
- Mathers Museum of World Cultures
- 416 N. Indiana Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47408
- 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Wenhong Luo, Assistant Curator of Yunnan Nationalities Museum and co-curator of Beijing's 798 Art Zone, will talk about the cultural space during an informal brownbag discussion at teh Mathers Museum. In a group of 60 year-old decommissioned electronic components factories in Dashanzi, in Chaoyang District of Beijing, an art zone rises and thrives. Called 798, this art colony has become one of the "calling cards" of Beijing, a cultural landmark, a popular showcase of contemporary Chinese art, a booming locale of creative industries, and an important public space for citizens and visitors.
Luo notes: "Ever since the 1950's grand Bauhaus-style factory buildings were constructed, this area has been bounded up with the vieissitude of history. First, an embodiment of the state plan for industrializing new China in the communist international, the district was a political star, exemplifying the socialist life. Later it was transformed into a forgotten relic in the social shifts of the Reform and Opening-up period (since 1978 to this day), then becoming a secluded "peach blossom spring" for liberal artists/intellectuals, a community of avant-garde artists, an underground window toward Western world. It has now become a boom town for creative industries, businesses, and capital, an advertisement for Chinese creativity and "cultural soft power," a trendy SoHo, a tourist attraction, a fairground...This place has been the hotbed for the various creators and dreamers of their time, there passions and fanaticisms ebb and flow. Some of their dreams were realized, some failed, some vanished in the flows of change...but stories were written, legends have been told far and wide, landscapes have been changed---798 area is not only a witness, but also a stage for a kind of Chinese dream play that has been taking shape since the 1950's---not the type of dream with clear aims and visions, but a more psychological revealing dream, which "imitate[s] the incoherent but ostensibly logical form of our dreams. anything can happen; everything is possible and probable........", in which "working with some insignificant real events as a background, the imagination spins out its thread of thoughts and weaves them into new patterns---a mixture of memories, experiences, spontaneous ideas, impossibilities, and improbabilities (Strindberg, 1901)."
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