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Bird’s Nest Good Times

May 29, 2008

My lovely cousin Ying is a student at Beijing Normal University and was chosen to be a volunteer for the upcoming games. Since we won’t be there in August, she was kind enough to give me a sneak preview of the interior of the Bird’s Nest during the Good Luck Beijing 2008 China Athletics Open. Below are photos she and her friends took during the competition.

Some comfortable-looking chairs in what appears to be the VIP section of the bleachers. As everything is “VIP” in China, it will be interesting to see how far they take things. Super VIP?

Interesting ceiling at the entrance.

My cousin, her friend and another view of the stadium, this time with less comfortable-looking seating.

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Planet Shanghai

May 28, 2008

Justin Guariglia’s new book, Planet Shanghai, follows the topological archive format that has become quite popular with attempts to address visual culture in Asia. He offers dozens of images of bike visors, nylon socks, outdoor pajamas, street vendors, food stalls, owners with their dogs, rubble and high rises. His eye for composition and uniform presentation pull it all together nicely. Lots of images at his site.

Justin Guariglia, from Planet Shanghai, 2008.

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Salon in Beijing

May 27, 2008

Andre is hosting the 20th (!) Salon at his apartment this week and it looks like it will be an interesting one, with a Hollywood writer/director as the guest lecturer.

This week Thursday, May 29th, 9pm.

Join Sam Auster, a Writer/Producer/Director from Los Angeles California for a shocking confessional, a lurid tell-all and a harrowing journey into the heart of darkness that is the development process for an independent feature film in today’s Hollywood snake pit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer.


The salon is a trading place for knowledge, information and opinion. People who are having a special interest in any field of art or science, music or what ever and who are interested in sharing their passion with others are invited to talk. All others are invited to listen and discuss…

BY: Andre Schmidt, 13718590833
LOCATION: China Central Place, 6-1502, Jian Guo Lu 89, Chao Yang district, Beijing
TIME: 9pm.
DRINKS: sure, sometimes snacks as well

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Permanent Resident

May 21, 2008

I’m happy to hear that Christoph Keller‘s KIOSK project, a traveling exhibition of nearly 6,000 publications by about 400 independent publishers, will soon have a permanent home in Berlin! Christoph has been developing and exhibiting the archive internationally for 8 years, but the increasing cost and logistic difficulty of moving around 2.5 tons of books led to the decision to find them a proper home. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin one of Germany’s leading art book archives has agreed to take on the KIOSK project as a special collection. They will continue to develop the collection until 2010. Following 2010, the archive will stand as a record of global independent publishing from the first decade of the 21st century. I’m happy that Historical Fiction Press and our Dead Animals book will be part of it!

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Food + Art

Shane Waltener, one of the artists from our book By Hand, is involved in the GNAM – Gastronomia nell’arte moderna (Gastronomy in Modern Art) project. Funded by the European Union, the aim of the project is to “promote inter-cultural dialogue through trans-national circulation of art works and cultural products.” Translation, art will bring us together! This year’s theme is food, and it looks like Shane’s project involves edible art.

Sweet Graffiti
Performance by Shane Waltener

Teatro al Parco
3.30 pm

The British artist Shane Waltener makes sweet graffiti using sugar, sweets and confectionery in general which, decorated and shaped, can be fixed anywhere using a sugar glaze or icing. Using these particular technique, all the little artists that are taking part in the performance can decorate walls and communicate all sorts of messages, and even calm and placate their parent’s bad moods. The graffiti can then simply be removed and eaten!

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May 20, 2008

My most recent fascination has become the eastern region of Mitte from Alexander Platz to Strausberer Platz, between Moll Strasse and the Spree. This quarter is composed primarily of prefab, Modernist plattenbau, except for the Socialist Neo Classical buildings that line the imposing Karl-Marx-Allee. The entire 2km stretch of Karl-Marx-Allee (known as Stalinallee until Stalin’s death) was constructed between 1952–1960 according to a detailed master plan. The landmark domed towers that cap the street’s uninterrupted course from one end at Frankfurter Tor to the circle at Strausberger Platz were designed by Hermann Henselmann, who was appointed head architect of Berlin in 1953. It’s the shorter distance between Strausberger Plz. and Otto-Braun Strasse, however, that I most admire. Here one encounters some compelling modernist-inflected examples of Soviet-styled architecture that, I would guess, made their way onto the Allee’s roster toward the end of its construction period in the early 60s. Josef Kaiser and Herbert Aust seem to be responsible for most of what I’m referring to here—the monumental Kino International, the Art Deco-influenced Cafe Moskau (by Kaiser and Werner Dutschke) and several freestanding, open-plan and largely glass-walled retail structures that front the street (Karl-Marks-Allee 45, for example, which is currently doing duty as a pop-up gallery for Bombay Sapphire, and was recently announced as the site for Friedrich Petzel’s new venture, Capitain and Petzel).

Kino International, Josef Kaiser and Herbert Aust

Kino International, rear view

Cafe Moskau

Karl-Marx-Allee 45

aging plattenbau


Alex Back Shop, Otto-Braun Str.

coffee cup sign, Otto-Braun Str.

There are some interesting photos of this same area from the early 1960s here.

Also, a nice comparison of Karl-Marx-Allee, the East’s major ideo-architectural statement of the period, with the Interbau 57 site in the West is available at architectureinberlin (great blog, well worth spending some time).

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History of In-game Advertising

May 19, 2008

Adverlab‘s Ilya Vedrashko offers an enlightening look at early examples of in-game marketing. Coke-centric Space Invaders, Kool-Aid Man vs. the Thristies and J&J’s Tooth Protector are a few of my favorites. You can download the entire chapter from his thesis paper here.

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We are thinking of you.

May 18, 2008

All photos from AP

When I spoke to my mom this afternoon, she was tearful and distressed by the earthquake in Sichuan and the thousands of innocent people who have died. Even though we don’t have family there, she believes “We are all Chinese and we feel their suffering as strongly as if they were related to us.” With an estimated 30,000 dead and more than 5 million homeless, this is a disaster of epic proportions. China has declared three days of mourning beginning tomorrow at 1428 (0628 GMT).

The ChinaSquare Galleryin NYC is having a fundraising event this Thursday, with proceeds going to The Red Cross.

There are also several Red Cross funds that have been set up.

There’s an interesting website called Fundable, that lets people set up funds for different causes.

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The future is stupid

May 17, 2008

It seems that Jenny Holzer has gone all web 2.0 and made herself a Twitter page.

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China’s Wild West

May 16, 2008

We make money not art points to a great photo essay by Paolo Woods about China’s increasing involvement in Africa. More than 500,000 Chinese have emigrated to Africa, leading the country’s effort to build the infrastructure of places like Angola, Nigeria and Congo.

Paolo Woods, Nigeria, Lagos, 2007

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