I: project space, China Residencies and underground Beijing party crew The Neighbourhood are looking for artists to lead “the discourses on and fusion of visual art and nightclub culture" in the Chinese capital in 2018. By Josh Feola
This Nightlife Residency is currently seeking “DJs, producers, artists, and performers to work in Beijing for a fully funded two month residency in February and March 2018, in the ever growing and increasingly idiosyncratic nightclub and electronic music communities in Beijing and China”.
Factors like incessant urban redevelopment and incremental ideological tightening have put a damper on underground after-hours affairs in the Chinese capital over the last few years. Nevertheless, there remains a vibrant class of DJs, producers and visual artists percolating through Beijing’s nightlife scene, and a recently launched project aims to catalyse this latent energy while introducing an international element into the mix. Beijing gallery and residency I: project space, international nonprofit China Residencies and local DJ crew The Neighbourhood have teamed up to offer a two month Nightlife Residency in February and March 2018 in Beijing.
For I: project space, the residency is an outgrowth of cross-disciplinary interests that have seen founders Antonie Angerer and Anna Eschbach engage more and more with Beijing’s club scene. “We see club culture as a super important starting point and breeding ground for art in general, and wanted to do something with the community in Beijing,” they say. Over the last two years, they have hosted talks and performances for figures straddling the international art and club worlds, Juliana Huxtable and Elysia Crampton among them.
One person that I: project space has worked with in this capacity is Lhaga Koondhor, co-organiser of Zurich venue House Of Mixed Emotions and an artist and DJ who performs under the name Asian Eyez. Koondhor completed her first China tour in 2016, and relocated permanently in March. “I was ready to get out of my safe zone, to be inspired by a new, rapid-changing environment, to be challenged by a new language and to learn myself better,” she says. “I knew my next step would be China, since I'm coming from a Tibetan diaspora, and wanted to give this past a new path with no boundaries and new connections and relations through music.”
Over the summer, Koondhor connected with Tom Mouna, a British DJ and writer who has lived in China since 2015. After noting a shared taste in music and a desire to use this to build new relationships at the underground community level, the two formed The Neighbourhood “to connect with people who are serious about nightclubs and electronic music as spaces worthy of investigation”, according to Mouna. He continues, “Advanced visual elements, discussions, workshops, lectures and experiments beyond the norm are all things that we are aiming to move towards, and this nightlife residency is a prime example of this.”
China Residencies, a nonprofit set-up that maintains a network of artist residencies and cultural spaces across China and Hong Kong, acts as the glue holding this initiative together, providing crucial logistical and funding support. “We’re glad to be able to provide time, space, money and support to DJs, VJs, producers, performers, and artists drawn to nightlife,” says director and co-founder Kira Simon-Kennedy. “No one seems to have explicitly been supporting this kind of work.”
This year, the chosen resident will receive a round-trip flight to Beijing, two months’ accommodation and workspace, a US $1000 stipend, introductions to local collaborators, project support from three supporting organisations and access to events including open studios, resident nights at nightclubs, and spaces to perform or exhibit across Beijing.
Interested parties can apply at the China Residencies website.