TALK ABOUT BEIJING

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Qi Xin (齐欣), architect

Architect and director of “QiXin architects and engineers”. He studied architecture at Qinghua University in Beijing. In 1984 he left China for France, where he studied urban architecture in Paris and remained some ten years before relocating to Beijing, his hometown. Following this, Qi Xin worked for Norman Foster in Hong Kong until 1997. He was professor/lecturer at Qinghua University until 1999 and founded his agency in may 2002. The scope of “QiXin architects and engineers” covers architecture, structure and M&E design services and documentation on city planning, architecture, landscape, and interior management. Qi Xin has been awarded as “Architecte diplômé par le gouvernement” in France (1992), “Senior architect” in the Uk (1994) and “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres”, in France again (2004).

Here’s his design philosophy: «The specific Chinese history and the actual urban situation create no identifiable and stable physical surrounding, to relay on by designing contemporary architecture. Nevertheless, without the tangible context, it not only makes the architects’ design difficult, but also leaves the new architecture without foundation. Therefore, how to seek a potential physical, spiritual or cultural environment beyond the material, becomes a sticking point for the architect “creating from nothing”. Catching the tangible architecture in the invisible air is like pealing off in anthropology or fission and fusion in physiology, the key point is picking and choosing the right messages in the air, in order to finally get to a chemical transformation. The collision between history and contemporary, between China and the rest of the world, even between today and the future will bounce off scene after scene of “Guan Gong – Qin Qiong’s fight (two historical generals from different dynasties)”, repositioning the time and the space after a radical chaos.»

http://www.qixinatelier.com/

 

Eugenia Murialdo, architect

Eugenia Murialdo is an architect graduated at the Università degli Studi di Genova. She also studied at the Institut Français d’Urbanisme (IFU) and at the Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris Belleville (ENSA-PB). From 2004 to 2008 she served as Project Architect at Archea Associati in Genoa and Beijing. From 2009 to 2010 she became Chief Architect at Archea Associati in Beijing. She cooperated with Area China magazine. In 2011 she became partner at Modourbano, leading Beijing office.

http://www.modourbano.it

 

Zheng Kuo (郑阔), film director

Zheng Kuo graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of BUAA and the College of Ad of Beijing Union University. After having joined the army as military artist for five years, he worked in the fields of magazine, advertising and curatorial, and from 2007 onwards he has been the curator of several projects for the Beijing 798 Art Festival. He finished his first documentary “798 station” in 2010, and it was during this production that he came to the field of the “Warm Winter Plan” by chance, thus made his second documentary “The Cold Winter” in 2011, which follows the artist demonstrations against the demolition of art districts surrounding Beijing’s 798 art zone. It won the “Best 10 Documentary” award at China Independent Film Festival 2011 and the “Best Picture” award at Beijing New Youth Film Festival. His forthcoming movie is a story of prostitution.

http://blog.sina.com.cn/zhengkuofilm

 

Stefano Avesani (思凡诺), designer

Stefano Avesani graduated at Venice Institute of Architecture, Italy, and since 2003 has been studying the urban growth of contemporary cities and their transformation. He works with his partner Marcella Campa and they won in 2005 the international Archiprix prize in Glasgow for a double coordinated project for historical districts in downtown Beijing and Shanghai. In 2005 they moved to China where they started working on the Instant Hutong project, which was taking part in several exhibitions in China and abroad. Their research work engages in a process of investigation of the rapid urbanization in China, exploring relations between social and physical aspects of everyday environment and defining ways for people to reinterpret the urban landscape. The urban analysis provides the starting pretext for a deeper and street related urban approach involving inhabitants and their lifestyle, in which experience, time, paths, observations, encounters and ideas become eventually as important as the built environment. They like to refer to their work using the concept of “microurbanism interactions”, which combines the sense of small scale urban spaces with the possibility to temporarily use them as a public stage on which the audience’ response becomes the main event. They currently live in Beijing.

www.instanthutong.com

 

Bai Tongdong (白彤东), professor and Confucian scholar

Bai Tongdong is a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai. He holds a BS degree (nuclear physics) and an MA degree (philosophy of science) from Peking University, and a PhD degree (philosophy) from Boston University. He was an associate professor of philosophy at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He is on the editorial board in two leading journals in Chinese philosophy, and has written many articles in English and Chinese. His most recent books are (both in Chinese): A New Mission of an Old State: Classical Confucian Political Philosophy in a Contemporary and Comparative Context and Tension of Reality: Einstein, Bohr, and Pauli in the EPR Debates. China: The middle way of the Middle Kingdom is forthcoming by Zed Books in the Global Political Theory Series. His research is focused on the contemporary relevance of Confucian political philosophy and he has been invited to speak at many academic institutions all over the world.

 

Daniel A. Bell (贝淡宁), professor and Confucian scholar

Daniel A. Bell is professor of ethics and political philosophy and director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is also Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Arts and Humanities, Shanghai Jiaotong University. He was born in Montreal, educated at McGill and Oxford, has taught in Singapore and Hong Kong, and has held research fellowships at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values and Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is the author of numerous books including The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age[coauthored with Avner de-Shalit] (2011), China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society (2010), Beyond Liberal Democracy: Political Thinking for an East Asian Context (2006), and East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia (2000), all published by Princeton University Press. He is also the author of Communitarianism and Its Critics (Oxford, 1993). He is the series editor of a translation series by Princeton University Press that aims to translate the most influential and original works of Chinese scholars (the first book, Yan Xuetong’s Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power, is to be published in 2011). He is also the editor of Confucian Political Ethics (Princeton University Press) and the coeditor of six books. He writes widely on Chinese politics and philosophy for the media including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Global Times, Du Shu, Newsweek, the Globe and Mail, and the Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, and he has been interviewed on CNN, CCTV, BBC, and CBC.  His articles and books have been translated in Chinese and twenty-two other languages.

http://danielabell.com/

 

Cheng Lesong (程乐松), professor of religious studies

Cheng Lesong is a professor at the Department of Philosophy and of Religious Studies, Peking University. His research is focused on the history of ideas, thoughts and beliefs based on the ancient Chinese society context, and the interpretation of the classic Taoist text history and characteristics. He also focuses on the contemporary relevance of Taoism. His main courses in recent years: “History of Taoism”, “Taoism and folk religions”, “Taoist Overseas Sinology”, “Religious principles”.

 

Ou Ning (欧宁), cultural worker

The self-definition of “cultural worker” is probably the only encompassing concept reflecting the multiple disciplines Ou Ning deals with. As an activist, he founded U-thèque, an independent film and video organization, and Bishan Commune, an intellectual group who devote themselves to rural reconstruction movement in China. As an editor and graphic designer, he is known for his seminal book New Sound of Beijing. As a curator, he initiated the biennale exhibition Get It Louder in 2005, 2007, and 2010. Additional curator duties have involved launching the sound project in China Power Station, co-organized by Serpentine Gallery and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. As an artist, he is known for the urban research projects such as San Yuan Li, commissioned by 50th Venice Biennale (2003), and Da Zha Lan, commissioned by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. He is a frequent contributor of various magazines, books and exhibition catalogues and has lectured around the world. In 2009, he was appointed the chief curator of 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture and was chosen to be the jury member of the 8th Benesse Prize at the 53rd Venice Biennale. He is now the curator of The Solutions: Design and Social Engineering for the 2011 Chengdu Biennale, and the founder of a new literary bi-monthly magazine Chutzpah (Tian Nan in Chinese) which launched its first issue on April 2011. He’s based in Beijing, and is the director of Shao Foundation and member of Asian Art Council 2011 at Guggenheim Museum.

http://www.alternativearchive.com/ouning/

 

Xu Xing (徐星), writer and filmmaker

Born in Beijing in 1956 from an intellectual family, Xu Xing travelled wide and wild through China and is known as “the Chinese Jack Kerouac”. He originally gained fame as a writer during the 1980s, when he was a prominent member of the literary revival that followed the end of the Cultural Revolution. In his two main literary works, Variations Without a Theme (Wu zhuti bianzou, 1985) and You Can Have Whatever’s Left (Chenxia de dou shuyu ni de, 1996), his fierce irony and readiness to champion the downtrodden are rare, almost unfashionable traits. Despite his puckish humor, he is one of the few public figures in China still capable of real outrage. He emigrated to Germany in 1989, and didn’t return for four years. He currently lives in Beijing and is working both as a writer and a documentary filmmaker. In the movie Five plus Five (Wu jia wu, 2011, with Andrea Cavazzuti) he tells some stories of the art district of Songzhuang through a taxi driver’s point of view. He’s actually working on a documentary about the country people prosecuted during the cultural revolution.

 http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1725977311

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