Before I saw Tom Olden's video, I heard reactions to it. It was described as a "leap off the deep end" with an "ISIS vibe," featuring a "headless girl in the background chopping carrots on an ironing board... PUA-style 'burns' on manhood, and, of course, that Jigsaw voice." That's crazy, I thought. Does the carrot represent neutered sexuality? Is the headless woman some self-aware avowal of misogyny? And what of the knife, that weapon-turned-tool of domesticity, scything away? Is the video menacing or ironic?
In honor of Cyber Security Week in China -- that's this week, whereupon "China's Internet police are stepping into the light," according to WSJ -- I thought we'd take a glimpse at the state of Chinese Internet smut through the lens of a recent happening, photographer Wang Dong's now-infamous Forbidden City photo shoot featuring nude models.
The first Uyghur contemporary art exhibition was launched at Xinjiang Contemporary Art Museum on May 16, attended by several hundred people from across the province, including most of the represented artists. Since the majority of the painters were teachers or professors, many leading administrators from local universities were also present. Aside from them and a few Han painters from local art schools that the museum’s leading curator, Zeng Chunkai, had invited for the opening, nearly everyone was Uyghur. Even a famous Uyghur public intellectual, Yalkun Rozi, came and praised the artists – although he clearly didn’t understand contemporary art.
Last year was the 25th anniversary of the “June 4 Incident,” as it is officially known. State security went full bore over the ultra-sensitive date, harassing journalists and activists, detaining anyone who sneezed on the subject.
Do you know what is considered pornographic? Can you differentiate between sexual and sexually explicit? Do you have experience looking at a lot of porn? Because there might be a 200,000 RMB job for you.
A year after leaving China and five years after publishing his first book (China Cuckoo: How I Lost a Fortune and Found a Life in China), Mark Kitto has a follow-up, That's China, technically a prequel that traces the beginning of his That's magazine franchise and looks underneath the fingernail of Chinese publishing. Kitto wrote the following column for Prospect, republished here with the author's permission -- with a freshly appended postscript.
If you’ve read a story about China in the last couple of years that sounded just too good to be true – that smelled, in fact, more like sweet, sweet horse manure – chances are it came from CEN, a European-based “news agency” whose bluff just got called in exhaustive length by BuzzFeed investigative reporters.
Although their offices and staff are in Vienna, CEN’s scope is worldwide – Russia, Argentina, India, Macedonia and the PRC, where it regularly elbows Xinhua aside to publish the least likely version of events.
A few weeks ago when talking to a Uyghur acquaintance, I was told: “One the biggest problems among Uyghurs today is the rate of divorce. I think it is as high as 70 percent. Most of it is the fault of women. They have misunderstood what women’s equality is all about. They think that it means that they should be equal to men in every way; or that men should be just like them. They try to control men, stop them from going to bars. They order men to do housework, and then spend all of their money. They don’t understand that that is not their place. If they would be encouraging to men, than men would never cheat on them.”
I understand the HeForShe movement is a global initiative spotlighting men (officially, "a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half"), but holding a gender equality discussion without inviting any women kind of makes for bad optics. Also, men clearly need more appreciation:
In the short film Rahime, the Uyghur ethnomusicologist and filmmaker Mukaddas Mijit portrays a moment in the life of her grandmother. When she was coming up with the theme for the short film, Mukaddas was feeling dismayed by the many events happening in the world around her. Since she herself was born in an Islamic culture, she felt it her obligation to frame that world in a way to give voice to the humanity and wisdom of that world. She felt that her 88 year-old grandmother could do this by drawing out the richness of her knowledge of Sufi mysticism.
Something for the weekend, sir? With Chinese cadres under official instruction to behave themselves for, perhaps, ever, the kind folks at Ccln.gov.cn, a website operated by the Central Communist Party School, have offered them a replacement entertainment to getting lobster-faced on baijiu, vomiting down their suit and curling up with a dead-eyed mistress.
The classics-quoting, picture-rich, cutting-edge “Learning China" app was launched yesterday, and is set to blow your mind – or your phone. Just three minutes after I opened the app, my two-year-old HTC had frozen up – like its owner, it was obviously having a hard time processing all the fun.
One of the driving forces in the Uyghur film scene is a filmmaker and poet named Tahir Hamut. A graduate of Beijing’s National Minorities University, Tahir began his academic career as one of the premier Uyghur critics of Western Modernist literature. Throughout the 1990s he, along with Perhat Tursun and others, were the leaders of a Uyghur avant garde poetry movement. Then in 1998 he turned his attention to filmmaking. Now Tahir serves as one of the principle instructors in the Film Department of the Xinjiang Arts Institute in Ürümchi.
The consumption power of Chinese travelers once again grabbed headlines during the Spring Festival holiday. But instead of luxury watches or baby formulas, it’s Japanese toilet seats that have tourists going wild.
One of the emerging trends among young Uyghur film directors is a new attention to documentary filmmaking. This approach has long been a part of Uyghur cinema, but previously it was often part of a larger public relations presentation sponsored by the Chinese Culture Ministry. These new documentary short films are independently produced on limited budgets by young filmmakers who have an intimate knowledge of their subjects.
Here's the classic story of a man who lost his phone in New York's East Village only to discover -- due to a stranger's pictures appearing on his photo stream -- that the phone is still alive, though halfway across the world. This is undoubtedly the cross-culture social media story of the year, featuring Avril Lavigne, firework pics (iPhones have amazing cameras, never forget), and a human flesh engine search initiated by Chinese netizens.
For you: a very special Sindicator. Using the sino-indicator of PM2.5 I show how air pollution can really fuck with your emotions. A bit more gravitas in this, a short film documenting a day in shit air, but with a kitschy sci-fi mood and a bit of dark humor.