Culture and Public Space in Wuhan

[Hong Kong/China. Doxa collective recently invited groups to join in a discussion on negotiating public space at HK Art 12. Below is an excerpt about one of the invitees, an autonomous space called Womenjia from Wuhan China. Womenjia discussed a case we are all familiar with,

a case where city and state officials are mobilizing to artificially pump money into the city to convert it to a cultural center, all this at the expense of public spaces where culture would otherwise develop organically. via Art Radar Asia. May 18, 2012]

Autonomous space discussion at HK Art 12 w/ Doxa and Womenjia @ Art Radar Asia

Discussion at HK Art 12 w/ Doxa, Womenjia, et al. Image: © Art Radar Asia

Womenjia Youth Autonomy Lab – China

Mai Dian is the founder of Womenjia Youth Autonomy Lab, an space that promotes open dialogue free of self-censorship. He discussed the municipal government’s recent plan to transform the city into an entertainment and cultural powerhouse, which has resulted in a significant investment in arts infrastructure. With Wuhan’s weakening manufacturing industry, officials hope to use the cultural economy as a financial buffer for the downturn.

However, this development has come at a significant price. Part of the project has called for the reclaiming of a lot previously public lands. In response, artists and activists around Wuhan including Mai Dian participated in the East Lake Project, which stages artistic interventions in spaces around the lake to protest the construction of residential complexes and an amusement park. In response to their reactions against forced demolitions, many of the artist protestors were attacked and threatened.


read the rest of the article on Art Radar Asia:
ART HK 12: Redefining the space we live in – Asia Art Archive Open Platform speakers

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