As a medium refers to site specific projects, where I as an artist interact with city development in order to create an art street that focuses on exposing local community concerns and creative processes.
Yong Kang Lu Art Street
Yongkang Lu Art Street was an ambitious goal to create an art street. I worked with local property owners and developers to create the Art Street on Yongkang Lu and use art as an integral part of the urban renewal process. Engaging with creative practitioners, I utilized otherwise unused and empty spaces on Yongkang Lu for the creation and exhibition of new art. Yongkang Lu was an undeveloped market street, acting as an unofficial wet-market in the center of the French concession, but now is a home to a cosmopolitan mix of restaurants, bars, galleries and businesses. This process of urban renewal and gentrification has created one of Shanghai’s coolest cultural hotspots. The French concession is full of other less successful and more ‘forced’ developments; areas such as Sinan Mansion, which are full of corporate brands but devoid of people. In contrast, Yongkang Lu is always busy, its new businesses are less corporate, more intimate, smaller venues run by local and international entrepreneurs.
The initial success of the project stemmed from the way the process was approached, it was organic in nature, engaging local businesses and property owners and the local arts network to build a creative buzz, thereby creating a ‘scene’ first, the development and renewal was a natural process subsequently.
However, with regards to my goal of the street maintaining an artistic nature and sustainably accruing benefits for artists in the locale, the success has turned to failure as the creative process has been squeezed out to make way for pure business.
An Urban Renewal Project on Yuyuan road in Shanghai where I managed to negotiate that a former Community Hospital could be turned into an Art Space, while maintaining the conceptual schema of the hospital by inviting artists with a ‘problem’ that needs to be brought to hospital and explored through their creative process.
Exploring Urban Renewal Exhibition Series
‘Exploring Urban Renewal’ is a concept whereby a series of six exhibitions will explore different aspects and definitions of urban renewal.
Exploring Urban Renewal
Exhibition 1: ‘Babel Me.’
The 1st exhibition, ‘Babel Me’, was set up at the Shanghai Museum of Glass, a landmark urban renewal project situated in the Baoshan Industrial Area. Twenty other artists were invited to explore the topic of what forms the urban renewal process takes and how individuals and society are affected by it. The subject of the art as such, it was also necessary to incorporate research into how the Glass museum, itself an urban renewal project, has been affecting local communities. The ‘Babel Me’ project addresses how new forms of art are able to reach the local communities.
Exploring Urban Renewal
Exhibition 2: ‘Redefining yourself – Personal Renewal?’
‘Redefining yourself – Personal Renewal?’ Currently in progress, a group of artists have been asked to define, “what is personal renewal?”