Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM
A series of staged photographs set in a fleabag motel has captured the attention of Chinese Internet over the past two weeks. The photos, which had circulated without any information as to their creator, turned out to be part of a feature from the April-May "Super China" issue of O'ZINE, a new Beijing-based magazine aimed at creative types.
"Super China" is the third issue of the magazine (motto: Lead Yourself: You are your own leader). Here's how it describes itself (its translation):
Danwei speculated in a previous post that the individual scenes were interconnected. The magazine's presentation makes that explicit with photo captions that offer snippets of conversation to accompany the photographs.
The hotel photo series, "Red Star Motel," is just one part of the Super China cover feature. Cover model Chun Xiao appears in ten different guises to illustrate a feature on various subcultures, from punk to fan to SM mistress to window-washer.
Using Beijing's future toilets
Another photo series in the set is "Fang Bian Fang Bian in Beijing," a photo/interview series about Beijing toilets through the ages. An American working in finance is pictured with 1970s-era toilets, a Danish freelancer represents the 80s, a Japanese punk rocker illustrates the 90s through an homage to Trainspotting and Gravity's Rainbow, and a Russian freelancer shows off the stylish toilets of Sanlitun Village in 2009.
Then there are the toilets of the future. You've got to hand it to a magazine that can print an interview like this:
O'ZINE is published using the periodical license of Great Stage (大舞台, CN13-1004/J), a Hebei-based monthly magazine focused on the dramatic arts. The magazine's real title can be found on the cover next to the bar code. The sponsoring organization was apparently changed close to publication of this issue; a mock-up has the title and ISSN of 音乐大观, a music magazine whose most well-known title these days is Not Only Music (非音乐).
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.