The Bishan Commune and the Practice of Socially Engaged Art in Rural China

by Mai Corlin

Online talk and book discussion

5 May, 15:00-16:30 Copenhagen time/CEST

In recent years an increasing number of urban artists have turned towards the countryside in an attempt to revive rural areas perceived to be in a crisis. The vantage point of this book is the Bishan Commune. In 2011, artist, editor and filmmaker Ou Ning established the Bishan Commune in Bishan Village in Anhui Province; a utopian ideal of life based on anarchist Peter Kropotkin’s idea of mutual aid. The main questions of this book thus revolve around how an anarchist, utopian community unfolds to the backdrop of the political, social and historical landscape of rural China, or more directly: How do you start your own utopia in the Chinese countryside?

Mai Corlin is a Carlsberg Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.


Ou Ning, artist, China
Hai Ren, University of Arizona
Frank Vigneron, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Stephanie Sipei Lu, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
Zhou Yanhua, University of Arizona and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
Mai Corlin, University of Copenhagen

Moderator: Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen