Originally published in RealTime arts magazine.
You Can’t Build on an Emptiness – IFChina Original Studio
|IFChina Original Studio founder and filmmaker Jian Yi, outside the studio on the campus of Jinggangshan University. Photo: Dan Edwards|
Ji’an doesn’t look like the most auspicious place for a groundbreaking experiment in China’s budding civil society. The town doesn’t appear in any English language guidebooks, the local station platform is just a low-slung slab of concrete and, in early spring when I visited, a bone chilling mist hung over the town. Yet this minor Chinese city is home to IFChina original studio, a bold attempt to generate community participation in the arts and oral history in the heart of one of China’s poorest regions.