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Posts tagged ‘世界主义 cosmopolitanism’


“Beijinger in New York” tells the story of WANG Qiming, a poor musician who arrives with wife in New York, full of hope for a new life. Numerous setbacks fail to discourage them, and it appears the American dream will become a reality for them. But with their success comes tragedy, as their wealth comes at a high cost for their family life.


Originally written in 1991 by Glen CAO, Pekinger in New York was the year’s #1 best seller and went on to be serialized in the Beijing Evening News. In 1993, ZHENG Xiaolong adapted the novel for TV and filming commenced in New York.



Join us Tuesdays (starting 16 October) at 20:00 as we watch all 25 episodes of the 1990s Chinese imagination of the American dream. Popcorn included.


Yŏu zhŏng jīngjì:  Global Hutong Economics

日期 date:  2012年3月24日,星期六晚上八点 / Saturday 24 March 2012, 20.00
地点 location:  家作坊 HomeShop [地图 / map


Where does the macroeconomy begin, and from whose eye-view can we understand the impossibly complex global economy? Financial analyst and reporter Eva WOO will begin her account on Beiertiao, from the point of view of what we eat, where we live and how we exchange on a daily level. As an accumulation, we can assume that those repetitive actions determine the enormous Chinese economy. But WOO will also show how the moods, the gambles and the controls of the macroeconomy come to determine our daily levels just as much. 

吴莹介绍 About Eva:

2011年夏天成为某美国对冲基金中国顾问研究员之前,吴莹大部分职业生涯都在干新闻。改行的原因?她认为自己崇拜的金融作家迈 克尔刘易斯之所以与众不同的重要原因是因为他曾在业内卧底。吴莹曾在中国为南华早报/华盛顿邮报/财经/财新/彭博新闻社工作过,在纽约为华尔街日报和商 业周刊网站工作过。作为第一个获得华尔街日报亚洲奖学金的中国记者,全球金融危机中,她恰好在纽约大学攻读商业经济报道 硕士学位。更早些时候她曾就读于北京大学和广东外语外贸大学。她最大的兴趣是用显微镜和望远镜同时观测事物,然后用大白话解释它们。


Eva WOO had been pursuing journalism for most of her career, until she became a China analyst for a U.S. based hedge fund in the summer 2011. She made the transition because she believes what makes Michael Lewis such an outstanding financial writer had to do with the fact that he used to be “one of them”.  Eva had reported for SCMP/WashingtonPost/Caijing/Caixin/Bloomberg in China, WSJ and BusinessWeek in New York. As the first Chinese reporter to be granted WSJ Asia fellowship, she did her Masters in Business and Economic Reporting at NYU right in the middle of global financial crisis. Earlier she studied in Peking University and Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies. She loves making sense of things, using both a microscope and a macro framework, and explaining them in human language.

Eva WOO has been based at the HomeShop workshare space since the autumn of 2011.

One finds oneself laughably excusing oneself before the Security Guard wearing baggy pleated shorts. At the same moment as the question emerges from the tip of my tongue (was that indignation or hesitation): Isn’t this a public space?——those wry twinges at the back of the head (very pertinent?) know all too well that a shopping mall is not a public space. What are you doing here? she asks.

Oh, hmm…uhh…I guess standing around the square and accosting people to take their pictures are not allowed. Security Guard very easily narrates her rehearsed consumer edification statement on the nature of such a “public space” as 三里屯 Sanlitun Village in East Beijing: This is the property of 太古 Taigu (Swire), and while visitors are free to regard this as a public space we do retain certain regulations and have the right to enforce them. Also inflected: consumers must be defended at all costs from anything that deters from a total shopping/dining experience, especially annoying ones like you.

Can I take your photo?

It is the perfect balance of civilised courtesy and the scenario of firm, surveyed control. We can reach the pinnacle of sophistication in an environment where we are surrounded by bourgeouis goods (I hung around to photograph one very fashionable trio, but they stayed inside Izzue for over an hour) and earphone/walkie-talkie donning young guards wearing baggy pleated shorts. It would be easy to walk away then and continue to accost Sanlitun visitors around the corner, on the other side of the square, maybe in front of the American Apparel instead of the Nike store. But you’ve been booted already, no balls, and it’s easy to begin seeing suspicious glares in all the other baggy-pleated short wearing guards that you pass every 50 meters. Go ahead and try to make friends now!

I go to an American-Italian-esque café to have a cappuccino instead. Sigh. Like my mother when she was younger, I can sit for hours on end watching people, though I wonder if my mother ever had as much longing after strangers as I do on a day like today, when I’ve been shamed for my feeble attempts at public engagement. Back then, my mother would visit the old Kai Tak airport in Kowloon Bay, and I guess I grew up in the shopping malls. It’s introductory Augé on repeat. But if these are not public spaces, perhaps we are not publics either, and I can only justifiably play fashion police as a marketing study for what trends and consumer groups should be regarded as the main influencers. To be an influencer would only then be a question of who best shines under a control scenario, under the influence of terms like ‘regime’ and ‘privatisation’ and ‘surveillance’. Is that what I like so much about the hutong still then, where life still happens under the cuff as much as it is committee-surveyed and organized for behavioural control (i.e., “文明北京人 civilised Beijinger”) as any of our more cosmopolitan world alternatives?

Maybe things are not tested as much as they could be. It felt sheepish to receive in an e-mail today: keep pushing the threshold. Playing ballsy? What does that mean, exactly? I would have liked to have written a treatise on ballsy-ness by now, but I sit instead at an American-Italian-esque café thinking too much about people who could care less. “Beyond” could be like a Badiou-ian truth, but vectorless possibilities and ballsy-ness require some form of immanence to be pushed. And where does interior exist in a control society? Are these the parameters of ‘post-privacy‘? We are all influenced. All captured and captivated and de-humanised.


关于尤莉•约翰逊 / About Ulrike Johannsen

德国出生,在维也纳生活和工作的艺术家尤莉•约翰逊的作品主要关注的是文化之间的切磋和交流,以及对于社会的集体构建。通过她一系列的装置、现成 品和纸上作品,约翰逊始终置疑着被消费向导的生活方式给人们带来的关于“幸福”的许诺。通过巧妙地利用大众传媒和挑逗文化产业中的技术性手段,她为人们揭 示出人类欲望与后资本社会之间的缝隙。

约翰逊从2008年起在中国的工作成果,呈现在她近期的作品《斯德哥尔摩综合症》以及2010年春天在Baden艺术协会策划的群展“东西 Things”中。(点击这里-见家作坊关于此次展览的作品)

Ulrike Johannsen’s work is focused upon the negotiation and communication of culture and the collective contruction of society. Employing a range from installation, objects to paper, Johanssen questions the promises of happiness offered by the consumer-oriented lifestyle. By manipulating popular media and flirting with the mechanics of the culture industry, she reveals the gaps between human desire and post-capitalist society.

Johanssen’s engagement with China since 2008 has resulted in her latest work, entitled “Stockholm Syndrome”, and the curation of the group exhibition “东西 Things” opening at the Kunstverein Baden in 2010. (See HomeShop’s contribution to the exhibition here)


吴以楠(右边)和植村絵美(左边)在家作坊门口制作“种子炸弹”,老二(中间)过来帮忙做质量控制。WU Yinan (at right) and Emi UEMURA (left) make seed bombs in front of HomeShop, Brother ZHENG (center) drops by to do quality control.



The following text is written by friend and neighbour of HomeShop WU Yinan. She was born and raised at Xiaojingchang Hutong number 6, then went away for a period to Ju’er Hutong before finally joining the great number of old Beijingers to move out of the hutongs and into a multi-story flat. After graduating from university in Huaibei she moved back to Beijing, and at the beginning of this year she renovated the old family home and came back to live there with her boyfriend. We recently found out that she maintains a blog, from which we will co-feature some of her thoughts and writings here.

In light of all the recent gossip, foreign media and NGO hype about pending demolition of parts of the Gulou area to make way for subway lines, a time museum and shopping centres galore, perhaps what we should remember is that a lot of this area is already relatively new making way for the even newer. This is of course not a form of tacit consent, but these makeovers have been happening all along. Yinan’s post is titled “First make a ruin of Houhai and then of Nanluoguxiang, Let me see what else you all will make a ruin of next”, and expresses a lot of her anger about the reek of ‘xiaozi‘ (kind of like a youthful, big-spending hipster type) that has blown into Beijing since the days of her childhood spent around Gulou and Houhai.


我出生在鼓楼东大街的一个小院儿里,童年的记忆离不开后海的轻风,地安门的繁华,钟鼓楼的端庄,锣鼓巷的素朴,后来搬到了簋街旁边,眼睁睁的看着这个地方 从一个狭窄拥挤的大排档一条街变成了一个更为拥挤油腻的饭馆街。可以说,我从小就围绕着这些现在被炒作的一塌糊涂的地方生活,深知其中变化无穷。

小时候的后海很安静,微风轻抚着柳树带来阵阵凉爽,微波粼粼的湖面让人心旷神怡,早上有老人在湖边练太极,舞剑,一群老头老太太在湖里游泳,春夏秋冬,四 季从不中断。我夏天的记忆悠闲地漂浮在后海的鸭子船里,冬天的记忆则穿着冰鞋徜徉在厚厚的什刹海冰面上,最后一个记忆的碎片就是和我最好的知心朋友坐在湖 边的石头上,一边吹着风欣赏湖面上美丽的景色,一边在柳条声的伴奏下吃着后面超市里买的凉面,那惬意劲就别提了……在外地上了四年大学回来后竟然发现后海 再也不是我儿时的那个天堂了,伴随着叮咣震耳的音乐,四射至天空的霓虹和激光束,后海貌似忽然化作一个黄头发蓝眼睛白皮肤的顽皮小孩对我说“骨德儿白”。 虽然曾经和住在这里的朋友一起寻觅过童年的印记,但是无论如何我似乎已不再认识你了……

行至今日,我搬回了鼓楼的老房子居住,很少有去逛后海的冲动,后海已经变成了城市人,外地人,外国人的后花园,可以任意的放肆,交友,娱乐,我不反对清静 之地变得喧闹不堪,只是经常可怜住在附近院子里的老头老太太们,他们再也没有清静自在的日子过了,真怕他们因此而折寿;也怕那些无耻的商人窥视着这些在此 过了一辈子的老头老太太们毕生守护的房子,想用来投机投资而让他们离开他们钟爱了一辈子的老地方。

从后海出来一定要走烟袋斜街,烟袋斜街在我小时候的印象里就是个澡堂子,里面有个华清池,每次去都很喜欢那里休息的小房间,用木板隔断,有两个床位,中间 有个桌子,桌子上还有茶杯和袋泡茶。晚上的时候澡堂会出租给住宿的人,我见过很多人涌进来搭床铺的场面,可能是挺便宜吧,住宿的人那么多……







南锣鼓巷乃是北京城平常的不能再平常,普通的不能再普通的一条胡同,只因为他串起来周边许多纵向的胡同,而这些纵向的胡同里有个把官宦和名人的府邸,就突 然这么炒热起来了……北京东西城的胡同名人官宦的府邸多了去了,这对我这个从小长在北京的人已经是稀松平常的事,那会北京城就到二环路,而且东富西贵,除 去紫禁城不能住,可不都住东西城的胡同里么!我常常怀疑,是不是这些什刹海后花园的人发现光逛个后花园不过瘾,才在旁边又弄出个南锣鼓巷来消遣。

我不反对南锣鼓巷作为一个文化和历史遗迹的标的而得以繁荣,恶心就恶心在,压根南锣鼓巷的繁华就和老北京的文化不搭界!你到酒吧里说来瓶小二,人家说我们 这里只有科罗娜,你说来碗炸酱面,人家说我们这只有三明治……等等等,还有新疆烤串,四川风味,意大利披萨,水果沙拉,青海酸奶,印度首饰,总而言之就是 没老北京味儿!文化没看到,光看到酒吧了。三五成群的老外混搭着满嘴洋文的中国小资,喝着啤酒调侃着人生。问老外你敢不敢跟我来个二窝头,老外就“no no”,就算不知道要入乡随俗,也不能让乡随了老外,临了走到尽头还建了个“贞节牌坊”上书“南锣鼓巷”,形状与“国子监”一般,一看就是个新玩意儿,什 么时候南锣鼓巷需要牌坊了,搞笑!

想起前两年去云南旅游的时候丽江古城的杯具,在北京小资心里那是个神圣的去处,如此忧愁多情之流,到了才发现城的建筑很美,但是说白了就是个酒吧纪念品饭 馆之城,同行的假小资们煞有介事的在酒吧里忧郁的品尝着美酒咖啡,表情既享受又有几分沉醉,有的还付费点一段唱走掉的音乐来彰显自己的品味,全部都是繁华 的浮躁,几乎淹没了丽江古城原始的素朴,就快要找不到曾经痕迹了,而如今的南锣鼓巷,后海,颇有步丽江后尘的意味,逐步走向小资心目中的忧愁多情交友品味 之地,外国人心目中的第二个“故乡”。




— 转载自《人生就像绕口令》,转载于2010年6月1日 / First published 1 June 2010 by WU Yinan at Life is Like a Tongue Twister.

Recently came across an interesting text on cosmopolitanisms that I think you would appreciate; it goes a lot of directions spinning off from your text in Wear, including some other frameworks for thinking about the cosmopolitan that i had not regarded before. The first part is really a very broad survey of varying positions on cosmopolitanism, from political implications to socio-geographic, institutional or philosophical. One of the misconceptions that we tend to think of, as pointed out, is an opposition of the cosmopolitan and the local, as the case on a political/institutional/corporate level, but Vertovec’s piece brings to light other possibilities, like Mary Kaldor’s concept of “cosmopolitanism from below through the activities of new transnational social movements”. This brings in  grass-roots organisations and social networking sites, to name a few, but not merely to point it out as a form of cosmopolitanism, but as a different juxtaposition of how individuals participate, with or without loyalties, guanxi and a sense of “following the rules” in the public sphere.

Did you read the recent notes on Deludology from Julian Kücklich? His last point is crucial to a lot of points in my research:

“…private and public consumption needs to be replaced by new forms of publicly private and privately public experience. This also signals a radical shift from content to context, in which the “form” of the experience becomes more important than its actual “content” (similar to the way that cheating highlights the form of the play experience rather than its content).”

The contrasts sound a bit like the idea of “cosmopolitan communitarianism” (Bellamy & Castiglione 1998), which becomes important when you think about China’s consumption of the world through piracy (absorbing western popular culture, learning English by watching “Friends” and “Sex & the City”, etc.). These collective experiences on the part of local Chinese are overhauls of content in a completely different context. New meanings are created by the Chinese translations of Western media, and while such hybridity may be regarded as one of the biggest criticisms of cultural dilution, it also points to the specificity required of our handling of culture and the Other. In other words, context.

This is just the beginning of a lot of research that i need to get into for my thesis, but my initial hypotheses want to look to China and this cruciality of context as a philosophy for negotiation between the public and the private, one that is not exemplary but perhaps, or only, a maneuvering…

[download “Fostering Cosmopolitanisms: A Conceptual Survey and Media Experiment in Berlin”, by Steven Vertovec]

A very interesting paper exploring foreigners’ attitudes in China and how identity and difference are constantly defined and negotiated. [link]

Here is an interesting journal talking about worlds/cultures. Let me know if you find any interesting paper!

“International Journal of Cultural Studies provides a lively meeting-place for international perspectives on cultural and media developments across the globe.

The journal features theoretical, empirical and historical research which is based in local and regional realities, and deals with everyday practices, identities, media, texts and cultural forms.”

[http://ics dot sagepub dot com/]