Urban Imaginaries: Contemporary art and urban transformations in China since 2001

Mirra, Federica (2022) Urban Imaginaries: Contemporary art and urban transformations in China since 2001. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

This interdisciplinary and discursive PhD thesis investigates how urban aesthetics and imaginaries can actively grasp, shape, and foresee urban space-making in Mainland China since 2001. After four decades of rapid urban and economic development, the pace and scale of China’s growth have contributed to the emergence of a thriving urban aesthetics. Whereas artists have produced multiple representations and imaginings of urban space and perhaps even encouraged the rise of a more conscious civil society, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has fostered one official narrative, the China Dream. Although this dominant narrative has come to shape urban space and the whole of China, this thesis analyses visual arts and a host of different practices, including real estate billboards, and architectural projects, to identify different urban actors and imaginaries in China. Artists’ urban experiences and re-imaginings, juxtaposed to top-down urban planning and architectural practices, can articulate the complexities behind space-making and point towards more inclusive and sustainable urban visions. This research collates together fieldnotes, literary sources, interviews with artists and other experts in the field, as well as online primary and secondary data. This study is situated across China’s five major metropolises, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chongqing. Each chapter is dedicated to one aspect of the China Dream, respectively focussing on an internationally strong, socially fair, ecological, and culturally rich China. Overall, this PhD thesis concludes that there are bilateral interlinkages between visual arts and space-making that are regulated by the everchanging dynamics between artists and state-power.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Dates:
DateEvent
18 November 2021Submitted
8 April 2022Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: contemporary art, China, urban imaginaries, visual arts, China Dream, city
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 11:18
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2022 11:18
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13429

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