Saturday, September 22, 2012

Beijing Arts District 798, Mr Jones?

I'm reputedly in 'fine shape'; In Whattabore DDs conference Roberto classified me as from Pleistocene. Which is kind, that is as recent as 11,700 years ago, he could have had me in Cambrian, half a billion years ago.

I loved Beijing Arts District
798 - there might be lots of SoHo kind of schlock for people with money, but the art there is more vital and inventive than anything in Europe or US. The painters are only 30! When they were born there was no art in China! My totally uniformed and based on nothing guess is that today 20% of China is middle class. Which is only 300 million. NY Times says there are 400 million bloggers. You have to be literate to some extent to be a blogger. Try to find 75 million bloggers in US? 

All in all, I'm blown away by the vitality of Beijing - Americans and Oy-ro-peens have no conception of what is going on in Asia. The Confucian empire is back, courtiers and mandarins are in charge, the most recent crazy Emperor is only an image on the Gate of Heavenly Peace. It is amazing and it is unstoppable, unless the generals fuck it all up, and they get into wars again... Which is always a possibility, the idiocy of generals of peoples armies should not be underestimated.

Erik says: It is a fascinating place, but impossible to understand without knowing the language. You can just scratch a little bit on the surface. In Sweden and Finland it is rather so that people and the government think too much and too positively about China. There are delegations from my university to/from China all the time, with wide-eyed Swedes knowing even less about China than I do pushing "the great East" for all they are worth. Volvo was sold to the Chinese, and Saab almost was also.

The food is fantastic, and I have never in my life met so many happy and optimistic colleagues (not in the US, not in Europe, not in Russia, not anywhere). America in the 40ies and the 50ies at the height of the brain drain must have been something like that.

Katrin says: Shanghai is probably even more amazing. I've never been to a place like this. It combines Paris, London, Venice, and NYC in one place.

"Something is happening here / But you don't know what it is / Do you, Mr Jones?"

1 comment:

Mason said...

I spent 3 weeks in Shanghai 2 years ago, and it was definitely much more exciting than being in Europe. I've had two other trips as well --- to Taiwan and to Korea --- and I want to spend a lot more time in Asia.