Long March- Chinatown


Long March Project


Long March - Chinatown


Key Terms

Globalization / Immigration / Chineseness / Post-Nationalism / Self Colonization / Region / New Social Movements / Historicization / History in action / Site / Cross border / Movement / Translation / Transplantation / Mobile Contexts / Regionalism / Repetition and Differentiation / Imagination of Asia / Consumption of Identity / Relationships of Cultural Production


10 things Chinatown is not

  1. Chinatown is not an exhibition of Chinese art.
  2. Chinatown is not a topic assignment
  3. Chinatown is not "made in China"
  4. Chinatown is not a symbol of China
  5. Chinatown is not nationalism
  6. Chinatown is not post-colonialism
  7. Chinatown is not differentiation
  8. Chinatown is not about sociology
  9. Chinatown is not an ethnographic turn
  10. Chinatown is not the combination of theory and practice


Regarding the Exhibition

The second leg of the The Long March - A Walking Visual Display, Chinatown, has officially begun. This project was initiated by Lu Jie in 1999 at the same time as the first portion of the Long March project, and has undergone five years of preparation. Similar to the first segment of the Long March, this is a developing process, a movement between different countries and regions, and their different histories, geographies, and cultures. Chinatown sites currently in the planning that will be realized from 2005-2006 include Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Also planned are future sites in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America.

Similar to when the Long March first started out, Chinatown must first respond to misreadings. "This is just another made in China project that is selling Chinese symbols." Other misreadings include a post-colonialist or nationalist critique. It is exactly these types of narrow understandings that the Chinatown project is interested in addressing. We want to widen and expand the methodological understanding of the history and geography of visual culture initiated by the first segment of the Long March to include specific works within specific contexts. The narrative set forth by the globalization of Chinatown is about the repetition of return and departure, and how each process invariably is linked and turns into the other. We are always re-arriving, but in different forms. 

This strengthening of borderless regions is the highest expression of democracy that comes from the non-regionalized grassroots. As Arif Dirlik notes, "the diffusion of certain epistemologies globally does not result in a so called "global village," but on the contrary disguises the recolonization of the world under the guise of globalism. On the other hand, in the particular manner in which they represent difference, in terms of destructured differences, postmodernism and postcolonialism are complicit in the defusion of collective resistance to structured inequalities." In this regard, understanding the process of cultural translation in human history through the historicization of "Chineseness" is demanded by the personal experiences of dislocation.

"Chinatown" can take place in the public spaces of any Chinatown around the world, museum or biennale spaces, it can be an extension of large scale international exhibitions; extending the traditional artspaces into the lives of the general public. Chinatown can take place in an artist's studio, or in the private happenings of a notebook. It can be a cooperation between Chinese and international artists, it can be a collective collaboration, an individual artist, or an assemblage of individual works. It is not limited to any topic, medium, or form.