Toilets and trashy motel rooms in a new arts magazine

April-May 2009

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):

O'ZINE is a cross-current creative magazine full of energy and personality, which blends elements of photography, graphic design, music and visual communication together. With each issue the magazine will challenge and redefine the communication design philosophy. Layout and the graphic creation of imagery will be the key invention of the magazine and an as fundamental and innovative feature as the content of the magazine which will be both read and viewed as an art piece in its own right. Each issue will be designed by a different artist to create a unique design concept that will be complimented by the work of the international contributors and supported by the editorial team to ensure that the high quality of the magazine is maintained and that it remains faithful to its discerning readership. The result will be unimagined. The designs and the images will activate the audience's reading nerve, by overthrowing conventional visual definitions, and will create a talented and brave concept. We are ready to be futurists, to raise a revolution in the magazine culture through our powerful visual effects.

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:

Beijing, Sometime in the Future

Olympic Village
Cyborg WQ-6317 (Pluto)
473 years old

Is it a toilet or a time portal? Is it a shoe or a telephone? What looks like a phone is actually a razor. Technology advances so fast, who knows what the future will be like? (to be cont'd....)

What was your initial impression of Chinese toilets? What do you feel to be the different between the best and worst toilets you've visited in China?

What do you look for in a toilet? What do you find most intolerable about Chinese toilets?

Has anything particularly interesting or funny happened to you in a Chinese toilet?

What do you think the differences are between Chinese toilets and those in your own country?

If you were given the chance to built a toilet in China, what would it be like?

Ah, good. Thank you.

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).

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There are currently 7 Comments for Toilets and trashy motel rooms in a new arts magazine.

Comments on Toilets and trashy motel rooms in a new arts magazine

All I have to say is What sort of new f***king drug did these people invent to come up with this trash? I want some!!! Trash is the future man.

And another thing, just WTF is the girl on the cover doing???

All I can say is people are insane coming up with these trashy crap.

A shame that even the artistic types have this "China" thing at the front of their heads—"Super China".

This demonstrates the depth of the brainwashing that the locals have undergone. And, unfortunately, why they are no longer capable of democratic rule.

"O'Zine" reminds me of the late lamented O'Kim's, the ersatz Irish Pub at the Chosun Hotel in Seoul:

The name derived from combining Ireland’s most common family name ‘O’, and Korea’s most common family name ‘Kim’.

Oh my, this magazine sounds wild. Do you think I can find it in Nanjing?

Nice try.
I mean,in all seriousness,I'm glad someone tries to fill the blank after the Cultural Revolution sufficiently render us brain dead culture wise.
But they need something better than such bizzare stunts to actually get the job done.Such artifacts do nothing more than attract some cheap lolz,WTFs and idling attention(maybe this is what they originally intended).
But anyway, maybe this can produce some laugh between the endless ka-chins of those walking cash registers.

All the cover girls for that mag make that same mouth shape, saw it on a link somewhere...

This is positively the weirdest thing i've ever seen. That new toilet looks painful or at least uncomftable, why would anyone use it?

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