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Online-Symposium: Critical Spatial Practices in China


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This lecture series examines critical spatial practices in China — exploring its critical and transformative potential as a practice on the interface of socially-engaged art, architecture and urbanism.

Socially-Engaged Art/ Architecture /Urbanism

The lecture focuses on practitioners and researchers working within top-down processes and artistic strategies that employ public participation as a condition to empower civil society towards spatial change. Critical spatial practices, termed by Jane Rendall, will be contextualised through a Chinese lens. Instead of redefining the term concretely, we will explore the complex dynamics at stake: social, political, cultural and ethical. We will examine the ethics of situated practices and the problematics of design neocolonialism — addressing issues of privilege, implicit biases and power as practitioners in their day-to-day work. Within Chinese state-driven urban regeneration, the navigation of the challenges of working within top-down frameworks becomes a given. A deeper investigation into the tactics developed by practitioners will provide insights into current ways of working. Furthermore, we will investigate the temporal and immaterial aesthetics of spatial practices that lean towards dialogical, situated and process-oriented rather than object-based outcomes.

4 December 2020 Friday

9:00 - 10:00 (CET) / 16:00 - 17:00 (CST)

Panel 1 Social practice art and design: navigating within its conditions, power and politics.
Guests: Dr. Zoénie Liwen Deng (Scholar), Dr. Yanki Lee (Design Researcher, Social Innovator), Dr. Meiqin Wang (Scholar)
Moderator: Virginia Lui (Social Designer)

(mid-break 30min.)

10:30 - 11:30 (CET) / 17:30 - 18:30 (CST)
Panel 2 Navigating daily challenges in community-based practices: narratives from front-line practitioners.
Guests: Jialin Yang (Micro Yuan'er), Jingyuan Huang (Artist, Writer), Yuan Zheng (27 Yuan'er)
Moderator: Aki Lee (Social Designer)

5 December 2020 Saturday

10:00 - 11:00 (CET) / 17:00 - 18:00 (CST)
Panel 3 Rethinking Aesthetics: understanding temporality and immateriality.
Guests: DEMO Studio (Magazine, Collectives), Jenny Chou (ATLAS studio), Qiuling Wu (Upbeing, Action Villager)
Moderator: Aki Lee & DEMO Studio

11:00 - 11:30 (CET)/ 18:00 - 18:30 (CST)
30min Closure

Location: Zoom live-stream
Lecture Access: TBC
Language: English