Bishan Project : Restarting the Rural Reconstruction Movement


  • ‘Our cities are insufferable’ : Chinese artists go back to the land | Art and design | The Guardian
    Un projet qui tend à revitaliser la vie dans les campagnes chinoises en y ancrant des activités artistiques. Une #utopie qui doit trouver son équilibre pour éviter de devenir une forme de #gentrification ou une #attraction_touristique

    Nor is it a place you would expect to find Ou. An anarchist music promoter from Shenzhen, turned underground publisher in Beijing, turned architectural curator and now country hermit, he moved to Bishan two years ago, driven by an urge to connect with rural life. The bookstore – which he convinced the owner of the trendy Librairie Avant-Garde, housed in a converted car park in Nanjing, to open here – is the latest chapter in his #Bishan_Project, an ambitious plan to create a prototype for China’s rural revival.

    “Chinese cities have become insufferable,” he says, sitting in the courtyard of his grand old merchant’s house, which he has spent the last two years restoring from a derelict state. “They are growing at an unstoppable pace, being built at an inhuman scale and becoming ever more polluted. And they are killing off the villages in the process.”

    Bishan Project :
    Restarting the Rural Reconstruction Movement

    The Bishan Project is one such project resulting from the history outlined above. In 2011, Zuo Jing and I chose Bishan Village in Anhui Province’s Yixian County as the site for Bishan Commune, which is our experiment in rural reconstruction and living. In the first year we invited artists, architects, designers, musician, film directors, writers and student volunteers from around China to visit the Bishan area and survey local society. Based on this foundation, we started planning for the first Bishan Harvestival in cooperation with the villagers. Festival activities centered on the presentation of village history, protection and revitalization of housing, design of traditional crafts, staging of traditional regional opera and music performances, production and screening of documentaries about the villages, and conducting forums where rural reconstruction workers who advocate different schools of thought and practice in various areas can share their experiences. For our second festival held in 2012, the Yixian County government entrusted us with the planning of the seventh Yixian International Photo Festival, which included participants from Asia, Europe and North America and focused on themes of environmental protection, community-supported agriculture, rural economic cooperatives and community colleges.