School of Critical Engagement MADE IN CHINA, Early Summer 2012
Application deadline is February 15, 2012.
The effect of the Chinese economy is ubiquitous to our daily lives. Most likely, we encounter at least one article manufactured in China going about living. This connection to a geography, and one that hides inside subtlety our objects of daily life, plays a significant role in our encounter with making. Best seen as a proliferation of material produced in China, our relationship to this production is culturally unidentifiable and seemingly disconnected from its origins. Moreover, the sheer magnitude of manufacturing in China, in products ranging in scale from the iPhone to the housing developments being built for future inhabitation to contain the workers of these products—vacant and lying dormant in anticipation of populous (1)—surpasses our comprehension. It is the fastest urbanization in world history. (2)
How as makers can we begin to understand political and economic infrastructures that affect and influence us on a global scale? As production has left western geographies in pursuit of cheaper and more expedient production in Asia, can we challenge our role as passive consumers of the fruits of these labors? In contrast, the west is infatuated with the Chinese art scene—it is propagating it. The juxtaposition of industries of making in China serve as a point of entrance for our work and project base.
For three weeks in the summer of 2012 (May 13 through May 31), we will base ourselves in Beijing at the China Central Academy of Fine Art and learn from Chinese students, artists, architects and local crafters about the nature of making in China. We will also travel to factories and rural villages to understand the range in scale and production. Our work will culminate in an exhibition at Where Where gallery. Other partners include HomeShop Beijing.
MADE IN CHINA is open to graduate and post-graduate level students and practitioners in art, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, film, sociology, economics, community developers, anthropology, cultural geography—to people that have a critical interest in the interaction between humans and the spaces they occupy.
1 Pictures of unused housing emerged as China announced plans to build 20 cities a year for the next 20 years.