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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Art + Village + City in the Pearl River Delta (2015)


Art + Village + City in the Pearl River Delta is a publication produced by the Global Urban Humanities Research Studio, University of California, Berkeley.

Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at University of California, Berkeley.

This exhibition is the product of a research studio focusing on the interactions between art, villages and cities in China’s Pearl River Delta. It is the second in a series of three research studios sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley. Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project is a collaboration between the College of Environmental Design and the Arts & Humanities division of the College of Letters and Sciences. Initiated and co-taught by Margaret Crawford (Architecture) and Winnie Wong (Rhetoric) during the spring semester of 2015, the studio critically investigated a wide range of urban art villages in the Pearl River Delta, exploring their historical development, current state, and future potential. These sites ranged from Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, which exports hundreds of thousands of trade paintings around the world, to Xiaozhou Village in Guangzhou, where local artists and art teachers transformed village houses into studios and galleries, and to the collaborative architectural project of Japanese architect Fujimoto and Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou. During a spring break trip through the region, students documented and analyzed the ways in which villagers, artists, officials, migrants, developers and entrepreneurs leverage art practices in order to reimagine urban life and urban citizenship. Students and faculty then spent the summer transforming these research materials into an exhibition. The exhibition aims to communicate complex narratives without being reductive and to convey the physical reality of our sites through multiple media including video, dioramas, largescale maps, models, ephemera and objects.

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