Over at the HomeShop blog, I’ve been invited to write about the subject of gentrification. The first part of three has just been published, and there I’m thinking about the nature of gentrification and its causes and effects on local communities. I’m focusing on two examples: HomeShop’s own situation, and my home town of New Malden (in the South-West of London) which has seen the development of Europe’s largest South Korean community.
UPDATE: All three part have now been published on the HomeShop blog:
HomeShop, Jiaodaokoubei2tiao 8, Dongcheng District, 10007 Beijing, China
A concern with the “everyday” happens to coincide for two of Beijing’s experimental spaces: both Vitamin Creative Space (whose Pavilion I addressed previously on ArtSlant) and HomeShop see it as grist to their mills. This past December, HomeShop moved into their new premises in a former Danwei dormitory in central Beijing. This move took place amidst an ongoing self-analysis of the relationship of their activities with the everyday and the sustainability of their practice.
Until recently, Beijing has mostly lacked the facilities for the growing number of people who work on their own or in small groups, without regular offices, but who see the social and inspirational value of working alongside like-minded people.
Co-working is one solution to this need. In Beijing there is now a handful of such spaces or groups, which have grown up over the past year offering facilities and community to the capital’s telecommuters.
Artists organizing events around the disparate interests of people outside the art world proper can lead to some fascinating convergences of concerns. (Of course, a deft hand is needed to satisfy the demands of such varied constituencies). Emi Uemura’s “Country Fair,” initiated last year in Beijing with Vitamin Creative Space, is a successful example. A regular event bringing together farmers, community activists, and the public in a friendly, festive space, it shows what can grow from the sharing of information, experience and perhaps most importantly, food.