Arts and Culture
Co-Authors: Jian Lin - MA, University of Amsterdam
When thinking about the creative class one tends to think of an urban elite, an educated group of predominantly young people that work in the cultural industries, who gather in hipster bars with their Macbooks, dressed in the latest fashion by local and cosmopolitan designer brands. But the creative industries in China also offer opportunities for the lower educated, rural population. In our paper, we want to investigate this emerging yet unlikely creative class in China, and into the, sometimes, unlikely aesthetics of their work. Labelled by Chinese mainstream media as ‘revitalizing Chinese rural culture’ (Liu 2017), video platform kuaishou (快手) attracts hundreds of millions of Chinese from the countryside and the second and third tier cities. As we will show, based on interviews with makers and an aesthetic analysis of the video’s, Kuaishou’s contents moves far beyond those of the state controlled media, they give us insight into the complexities, absurdities and perversities of Xi Jinping’s China Dream. A dream that then is bound to implode into multiple dreams, ranging from the aspiration to have a fancy car to that of getting a new and sharper nose. By focusing on places beyond the first tier cities in China, and on unlikely creative workers that are not part of a higher educated urban class, and the unlikely aesthetics they produce, this paper ventures towards the mediated eventfulness of the banality of everyday life.