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[Nettime-nl] Discussion on Chinese Media Culture. Online and live in V2
Martijn de Waal on Wed, 22 Mar 2006 13:18:29 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] Discussion on Chinese Media Culture. Online and live in V2 rotterdam. March 30th. 19:00 hrs (CET)


An evening on emergent media culture in the People's Republic of China



Isaac Mao, activist blogger and software architect, Shanghai

Zhang Ga, media artist and curator, Beijing/New York

Karsten Giese, political scientist and sinologist, Hamburg

Guobin Jang, social scientist, New York online


moderator: Stephen Kovats, media researcher, V2_Institute

respondent: Martijn de Waal, journalist and media theorist, Amsterdam


Thursday March 30

19.00 - 21.00 (CET) 

V2_Institute for the Unstable Media

Eendrachtstraat 10/12, Rotterdam

in collaboration with IIAS (International Institute for Asian Studies,


Streamed live:

02.00 - 04.00 (Beijing, Hong Kong), 13.00 - 15.00 (New York), 10.00 - 12.00
(San Francisco)


Over the last few years, The Great Leap, has become a popular metaphor to
describe the fast-paced modernization process in China. However, in spite of
the turbulent economic growth some domains of Chinese society have changed
very little during the past two decades. Many Chinese have seen their
private freedoms increase significantly. But, critics would argue that the
official policies of 'opening up' have neither changed the political system
nor the state control of public media. Others claim that new social spaces
have emerged for citizens to voice their opinion and take action. The use of
bottom-up media such as the web, e-mail and sms have enabled people to
self-organize creating a new form of middle landscape, somewhere between the
official media landscape, and the private sphere. Minor reform rather than
total revolution marks the cautious pace of such development. 

Nowhere has this middle landscape become more clear than in the new forms of
media culture that have also exploded in China over the last few years.
Weblogs, bulletinboards, peer-to-peer distribution and chatrooms have made
the traditional sharp division between public and private lives problematic.
While most of the over 100 million Chinese citizens currently online are
using electronic networked media for mere entertainment, many employ a
number of tactics to find or distribute information outside the official
media system. In this middle landscape, or third places, news ways of
constructing identities are emerging. And while the line between political
public sphere and commercial arena for entertainment is also becoming
blurry, new landscapes for discussion are opened up. Is this the beginning
of a true civil society in China, emerging from these new middle grounds? 


Isaac Mao (co-founder Social Brain Foundation, Shanghai) is one of China's
earliest and most prolific media activists using blogs as a grassroots
voice-enabling technology and emergent democracy tool. He divides his time
between research, leading the Creative Commons China team and running China
based software technology businesses. His website <www.isaacmao.com> is now
blocked in China.


Zhang Ga (New York Institute of Technology and Research Fellow, Tsinghua
University, Beijing) is an internationally recognised media artist and
curator active in Europe, North America and China who has written on new
media art and criticism while being active in organizing exhibitions,
conferences and digital salons in China. As one of the leading proponents of
linking art and technology as a cultural practice in China, Zhang Ga works
to identify the emergent Chinese artistic and cultural media landscape. 


Karsten Giese (Institute for Asian Studies, Hamburg) heads the 'Chinese
Urban Identities in the Internet Age' research program. His works identifies
the internet as a third place, which 'exists on neutral ground' creating
conditions of social equality where conversation is the primary activity and
the major vehicle for the display and appreciation of human personality and
individuality. Such emergent interstitial spaces could play an important
role in new emerging processes of identity formation of (especially) young
urban Chinese. 



Guobin Yang (Columbia University, New York) has written extensively about
the Chinese internet as being a middle landscape which is neither a purely
political arena, nor simply a commercial space of entertainment. In his
article Mingling Politics with play Yang illustrates the role of the state
and of business in the development of a civic public sphere, a zone where
both have an ambiguous role. 


Organised by

V2 - www.v2.nl  

International Institute for Asian Studies - www.iias.nl                   


For more information, please contact


Martijn de Waal

mw {AT} dds.nl


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