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Installing a world city

Installing a world city

Chapter:
(p.117) 4 Installing a world city
Source:
Above Sea
Author(s):
Jenny Lin
Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526132604.003.0005

Chapter Four considers worlding, or the city’s positioning as a cosmopolitan center on an international stage, as a philosophical construct and tangible phenomenon tied to the development and promotion of present-day Shanghai and contemporary Chinese art. The chapter presents three Shanghai-based installations by transnational art stars Gu Wenda, Xu Bing, and Cai Guoqiang. Disrupting the East-meets-West soundbites surrounding discussions of these works, this chapter interrogates the artists’ privileged subject positions, arguing that such artworks function as branding campaigns that world Shanghai. The chapter also discusses the loaded cultural geographies of these installations’ shared sites: the Bund, once the heart of Shanghai’s British and US-controlled International Settlement, and the Pudong Skyline, considered the shining jewel of China’s post-socialist economic rise. The chapter concludes by discussing a more critical recent project by Cai Guoqiang that acknowledged the migrant labor fuelling Shanghai’s urbanization in the face of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and a related urban intervention by artist Ai Weiwei.

Keywords:   Worlding, Installation Art, Public Art, Art and Luxury, World Expo, Postcolonialism

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