Literature Review_ “Constructing The Real (E)state of Chinese Contemporary Art: Reflections on 798, in 2004” (Berghuis, 2008)

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

“These days, the experimental art scene is reinventing itself as a highly profitable and marketable, commercial cultural industry.”
– Berghuis, 2008

The main argument of Berghuis to the art district like Dashanzi is that he found the most fundamental and essential development occurring here is in deed the real estate industry more than a contemporary art industries. Though, the place like Dashanzi district started as an experimental art basement of artists’ initiative, but it now ends up a trendy cultural cluster and commercial district whose biggest beneficiaries are property dealers. The loser could be the artists who contributed to the reborn of 798 art factory but eventually have to be driven off by the increasingly raised residential rent. In fact, the distinct culture context or creativity brand helps promoting the real estate speculation and generates a compound economy of creative industries and commercial industries.

Using the creative industries as overwrap, and then packaging the commercial oriented industries into creative economics, such a development mode of creative industries was copied by a lot of followers. As in Ningbo area, we’ve observed Loft8, Creation harbour and Creative 3rd plant established one and another designed in similar way. In a first sight, such creative industries may bring instant benefit as it successfully promotes the real estate speculation. However, the more in-depth and profound effect should be  questioned and highlighted: how long could this mode of “fake” creative industries further go?


Berghuis, Thomas J(2008), ‘Constructing The Real (E)state of Chinese Contemporary Art: Reflections on 798, in 2004’ , Urban China 33 [Special Issue: ‘Creative China: Counter-Mapping Creative Industries’].

Below are some pictures took from Creative 3rd plant.

The Cluster Name: Creative 3rd plant

The location is formerly the No3. plant subordinate to Shanghai drawnwork import and export company

Building No1 is right now repacked to a hotel.

Some are lofts for design companies.

Insider there is a new-concept restaurant; about 100rmb per capital consumption.

The ceiling of restaurant keeps the original of old factory

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