Whenever you think of Korea or Japanese popular culture, people think of its music, dramas, celebrities, art, fashion, etc. While Japan has had a long history of cultural/artistic development, Korea has also been rapidly developing it’s art/entertainment/design culture especially within the last twenty years due to the Halyu.
But, what about Chinese creative/contemporary culture?
The images of mass production, factories, pirated goods (or cheap copies of American brands such as Nike, Apple, etc.) come up into mind. For many people I discuss about Chinese creative culture, these are the images that come up to mind.
This is the troubling thing that I find hard to discuss; as a Chinese-American, I also want to learn more about my culture and its art/design world, as well as be able to express it. Even among some Chinese / Chinese-American friends, there is very little interest in being willing to preserve or be involved in developing culture that is part of a distinct Chinese identity. If there is interest, what means do we start approaching the development of art/design in Chinese culture?
China has a very rich traditional music, painting, ceramic, architectural, theatrical, literary history. I am very for preserving this, but how do we adapt these forces for a new global audience, where everything is interconnected? We are living in a society where people want to have new experiences, and these new experiences drive what makes a good quality of life.
When I asked on Facebook if anybody was interested in Chinese youth culture wanted to talk, I got interest from at least 5 of my friends; two wanted to talk to me, but even then, the knowledge about Chinese youth culture is limited.
The photo above shows how lifestyle brand company GOD tries to promote Hong Kong culture through the products it sells (a fusion of East and West, with the energy of the city).
I would like to challenge artists, businesses, designers, chefs, and consumers to think about what is a distinct Chinese identity, a distinct brand, that people can enjoy or experience in the global arena. While globalization tends to modernize everything and make things exactly the same (Coca Cola or McDonalds), I argue that China can contribute to the diversity of experiences people in the global world have, based on his historical and strong cultural past, while adapting to the changing needs of society.