Asia Creative Transformations | newsletter

DutchDFA Mappings on design and fashion in China | by MovingCities [2012]
DutchDFA Mappings on design and fashion in China | by MovingCities [2012]

The Asia-Pacific Creative Landing Pad is a newsletter associated with the Asia Creative Transformations (ACT)-website. This issue checks in on the booming market for creative content in Asia, has an interesting update on the Ordos100-project, and, amongst others, features a MovingCities introduction to the Design & Fashion in China Mappings [commissioned by DutchDFA, 2012] called Capturing China’s Creativity (in two reports).

Asia-Pacific Creative Landing Pad | Asia Creative Transformations [2012]
Asia-Pacific Creative Landing Pad | Asia Creative Transformations [2012]

About Asia Creative Transformations

ACT is a group of scholars and practitioners dedicated to understanding transformation in Asia (including Asia-Pacific). The acronym ACT symbolises the concept of development for change across three levels.

  • Policy and institutions examines the impact of regulations, planning and epistemic communities;
  • Networks, devices and cities looks at the changing socio-technical infrastructure, as well as the role of urban communities and globalisation;
  • Everyday use examines the effects of policy and technological systems on peoples’ day to day lives.

Our home base is the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI).

This time around, the Asia-Pacific Creative Landing Pad has a few articles related to China such as Creative land grabs in Inner Mongolia | The Ordos 100 spectacle revisited (by Michael Ulfstjerne, Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Cross Cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University), Fusion Cinema in China, Korean contributions to the local palette (by Brian Yecies, University of Wollongong) and a report on creative developments and projects in Hangzhou (by WEN Wen 温雯 , Lecturer, Institute of Cultural Industries, Shenzhen University).

Ordos100 | MovingCities Embedded Research, 2008
Ordos100 | MovingCities Embedded Research, 2008

Ordos100, 100 architects site visit | April, 2008
Ordos100, 100 architects site visit | April, 2008

Ordos100 | June, 2008
Ordos100 | June, 2008

Whatever happened to Ordos100? is a question we receive at regular basis. After our embedded stint in 2008, we kept on regular basis tracking its rumors, gossips and attempts to resurrect its intentions. The intentions were rather ego- and megalomaniac – inviting 100 international architects to a city-under-construction, asking each of the architects to design a 1000m2 villa – while its would-be implementation turned to be surrounded by silence. Read our Babel for Billionaires [Mark Magazine #15 | August/September, 2008] for a flashback.

In order to understand its present state, one great source of on-the-ground intel is Danish anthropologist Michael Ulfstjerne. With him, we co-authored Ordos: A Chinese City Constructed in the Fast Lane for the upcoming issue of the portal9journal thereby looking at the city from an urban, social, vehicular perspective – rather than from its infamous Ordos100 future ambitions – defending the thesis that while there has been much attention to the unmoving empty buildings, it is perhaps the dangerously moving automobile which more readily defines Ordos’ future. We’ll be posting on this issue soon.

In Creative land grabs in Inner Mongolia | The Ordos 100 spectacle revisited Michael Ulfstjerne writes that he was left with an impression that the whole site had been forgotten and more importantly that:

As it turns out, Jiang Yuan Culture and Creativity Industry Zone no longer belongs to Jiang Yuan Group. It was recently purchased by another developer, a local business tycoon from Ordos, Liu Manshi. The sale included 90 percent of the property, i.e. the land use-rights to develop on the land. The transfer further included the entire collection of plans, designs, documents and licenses (and several employees) and all this with none or few of the architects ever knowing about it.

Jiang Yuan Culture and Creativity Zone (June 2011) | photo by Michael Ulfstjerne
Jiang Yuan Culture and Creativity Zone (June 2011) | photo by Michael Ulfstjerne

Our contribution to the Asia-Pacific Creative Landing Pad, called Capturing China’s Creativity (in two reports), provides a selective insight into the Design & Fashion in China Mappings, we recently published – commissioned by Dutch Design Fashion Architecture [DutchDFA]. Both reports highlight fashion and design subjects, tendencies, media and networks in China – influencing today’s and tomorrow’s agenda for internationalization. A couple of quotes:

In conducting our report we avoided the traditional style of consultancy that focuses on the insatiable need for (unstable) facts and (inspiring) figures. In such reports failure to provide facts and figures is not an option. Instead, we sought to delve deeper into the mentality of designers in China.

The creative industries have gradually superseded the factories and structures of a former industrial revolution. Nationwide the effect is a multiplication of creative clusters, which pool together several ambitious generations of Chinese manufacturers, designers and consumers in various creative currents.

Unfortunately there is no magical wand to turn these empty parks and walls into creative wonderlands. Ideally, the objective is to unearth synergies among industries, to generate unexpected and unchained forms of creativity.

The sense of fatigue with the state of play of design in China was a surprise to us. Of course, we had expected resistance to the celebratory discourse of the creative industries. But there were signs everywhere. Obvious scapegoats where the heightened media interest in the industry, the mushrooming of award ceremonies and the exhausting effect of international exchange programs that focus exclusively on exhibiting the work of foreign designers for an audience of colleagues.

Mappings on design and fashion in China

DutchDFA Design in China Mapping Report | MovingCities, 2012
DutchDFA Design in China Mapping Report | MovingCities, 2012

DutchDFA Fashion in China Mapping Report | MovingCities, 2012
DutchDFA Fashion in China Mapping Report | MovingCities, 2012

thanks
Prof. Michael Keane [Principal Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) – Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane]

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