与意大利艺术家玛赛拉肯帕 和 斯蒂凡罗阿文桑尼关于北京胡同展览计划的对话
On Hutong Project,Dialogue between MARCELLA CAMPA, STEFANO AVESANI and Gan Yu
Selected Works by MARCELLA CAMPA and STEFANO AVESANI 玛赛拉和斯蒂凡罗作品选
 Instant Hutong, China Millennium Monument
Map Games: Dynamics of Change  URBAN CARPET 8 x 5
Photo from Instant Hutong Project
Welcome back bricks! 
....Beijing Map Games
Photo Images provided by MARCELLA CAMPA and STEFANO AVESANI
On Hutong Project,Dialogue between MARCELLA CAMPA, STEFANO AVESANI and Gan Yu
I’m glad to chat with you two artists about your Beijing Hutong project. Here are my questions:
1. Clearly, these artworks merged themselves with social realities. Is this your main idea that emphasizes the relationship between art and society?

We have been always fascinated by the fact that among the Hutong districts the social aspect is strongly interlaced with the physical and spatial one. The two aspects interact and influence each other and they’ve made unique the relationship of the Hutong environment with the community of people living in it. The whole Instant Hutong project has been inspired by the Hutong community and we look at our works as a way to communicate directly with this community, which we consider an ideal one.

2. What is your motivation for exploring hutongs from an artistic perspective?

It is probably our own way to react to the extensive demolitions and the fast pace disappearance of the sense of community and identity. During the Urban Carpet project we spent almost one year on the Hutong lanes creating some temporary happening with the Hutong inhabitants, hanging the carpets on the ropes commonly used by people to typically hang their clothes out to dry. Once a carpet had been hung in the alleys, local people would gather around it, recognizing their neighborhood, pinpointing familiar alleys and telling stories about their own daily life and habits in the Hutong. Each event we organized on the lanes was a chance for surprising encounters, curious face to face interactions and unexpected social adventures.

3. How long have you been staying China for exploring art and culture presentations?

We have been in Beijing for four years, coming firstly attracted by an architectural interest, that gradually turned into a social and artistic one. From this point of view, modern China offers a very inspiring environment. On one hand our works record the aspects that catch our curiosity, on the other one they are a tool we use to explore and get deeper into understanding the local culture and habits. With the series of Urban Carpet 8x5 exhibitions, which we organized recently and the last of which will take place on November 7 th, we were taking the chance of organizing this event as a way to let the visitors to be in touch with the Beijing urban culture. Five “siheyuan” courtyards were selected as location for the five exhibitions, each one representing a different way to live in downtown Beijing today.

4. Similar trends have been seen in Italy, as historic neighborhoods and architecture are now an indispensible part of modern Italy. Are there significant lessons that Beijing can learn from Italy in protecting and integrating its past with its future?

There are actually some similarities to trace between what happened in Italy and what is happening in China, although there are of course several striking differences to mark, such the size of phenomena, speed of economic development, political and cultural context. The idea itself of preservation has in Italy and in China a completely different history, so the meaning given to this word is different in the two countries. In a time of fast modernization the risk is to identify the “old” with something that must be thrown away and carelessly be changed or replaced. People in Italy live in 800 years old houses which have been upgraded with modern facilities, and we all think that this mix of old and new is a primary worth for the contemporary Italian urban landscape. New urbanization in many cases doesn’t offer the same richness in terms of human relations, proximity of services (mainly reachable by walk or by bike) and sense of identity, as the traditional districts. Furthermore demolishing your own past means refusing a knowledge which is a result of a living practice. It is not just a question of nostalgia but much more a question of richness in life.

5. Do you believe recent transformation process of urban Hotong is beneficial to cultural preservation in the long-term and is this preservation sustainable?    

Generally speaking we are much more interested in keeping alive that specific aspect of vibrant social sustainability, than in preserving the decorative elements of the old buildings. In Beijing downtown many courtyards have been renovated in the past few years, the former dwellers have been moved to the outskirts and the density of the district has been lowered down. Beside the fact that many new fake decorations have been added to make them look more traditional, the real risk is to turn the city center into a dead museum. On the other hand, in several areas of Beijing some new functions, such bars shops and other facilities, have been inserted along some Hutongs generating a process of self renovation that made those areas more attractive. These examples demonstrate that the old districts can still offer a high level of flexibility and have the capability to host and express contemporary values.

6. What upcoming projects do you have planned?
We are now working on the final events for URBAN CARPET 8x5 exhibitions, meanwhile preparing some new installations as part of the Instant Hutong project. We also are planning to have an event in cooperation with the design magazine Abitare China and an exhibition showing our works in Italy next spring. At the same time we’d like to stay in touch with the community of Xiang Yu Kou district, which is south of Qian Men in Beijing, organizing a project inside an Hutong area with the participation of the local people. Our long term project is to develop an urban strategy for downtown Beijing planning a sustainable way for the Hutong Areas.
Thank you very much indeed !I will recommend our audiences to visit www.instanthutong.com
Xiexie nin!
Gan Yu, eChinaArt.com
Please note: From Nov 14 to 27, eight pieces of URBAN CARPET 都市地毯 are on display in Sanlitun Dong Er Jie, Beijing 北京市三里屯东二街2号. Please click here to visit.
与意大利艺术家MARCELLA CAMPA and STEFANO AVESANI关于北京胡同展览计划的对话



答:我们一直对胡同区内居民们之间那种特有的社会生活空间和物质生活空间相互交织所形成的文化现象很感兴趣。这些现象相互影响和依存,形成一种别开生面的胡同社区生活环境与人际关系。我们的整个“瞬间胡同Instant Hutong Project”展览计划是受到了这种特殊的社区文化的启发而形成。我们把自己的作品看作是一种与胡同社区居民直接沟的理想渠道。




答:我们己在北京住了四年。起初仅仅是对这里的建筑感兴趣,以后逐渐扩展到对社会与艺术层面的探索。从这亇观点看,现代中国向世界提供了极富启迪的环境。一方面,我们的作品表露了作者对陌生文化的好奇心;另一方面,它们又是我们去探索和深入挖掘研究地方文化和及生活方式的工具。在我们(9月19日至11月7日)组办的“都市地毯Urban Carpet” 8 x 5系列展览项目里,我们试着让观众触摸北京的都市文化。我们选择了五个四合院作为展览地点,它们每一个都代表着北京现代城市生活的不同特征。





6. 你们下一步的创作计划是什么?

我们现在正为“都市地毯”8X5的最后一个展览计划而忙碌,同时也在准备一些新的装饰作品。这些作品亦是“瞬间胡同”总策划的一个部分。我们还与设计杂志Abitare China共同筹办于明年春天在意大利举行的作品展览。与此同时,我们正在和北京的地方政府联系争取在前门以南地区的胡同内组织一次邀清当地居民一同参与的作品展出活动。我们的长期计划是发展出一套对北京市区的胡同得以持久生存的可行策略。

谢谢!我将向我们的观众推荐 www.instanthutong.com

答: 谢谢您。

英文采访者: 喻干,中华文化艺术网

(中文翻译: 喻干)

Background Info 背景资料
MARCELLA CAMPA和STEFANO AVESANI从2003年起,致力于中国大城市的发展。2005年他们在国际性的杂志AREA第78期合作编辑了关于中国当代视觉艺术和建筑的论著。因为合作关于北京中心和上海历史性的城区双方协调的项目,他们曾经获得在苏格兰的格拉斯哥的国际性的建筑大奖。2005年10月搬到中国,开始“瞬间胡同”项目。自2007年起,陆续参加了中国和国外的几个展览。现在Marcella和Stefano工作和生活在北京。
一 秦唐府7号院 - 北京市东城区前鼓楼苑胡同7号,2009年9月19日
二 里九外七 - 北京市西城区西安门大街光明胡同互助巷8号,2009年10月14日
三 AND-HOUSE - 北京市东城区南锣鼓巷帽儿胡同14号,2009年10月17日
四 社区庭院 - 北京市崇文区鲜鱼口地区草厂头条17号,2009年10月25日
五 私人地住宅院子 - 北京市西城区鼓楼西大街诸钟胡同56号,2009年11月7日
All images and text © the authors MARCELLA CAMPA and STEFANO AVESANI

MARCELLA CAMPA and STEFANO AVESANI have been interested in the urban growth of Chinese cities and their transformation since 2003. In 2005 they co-edited the n.78 monographic issue of the international magazine AREA about Chinese contemporary visual art and architecture. They have been awarded with the international Archiprix prize in Glasgow for a double coordinated project for historical districts in downtown Beijing and Shanghai. They moved to China in October 2005 and started working on the Instant Hutong project. Since 2007 their work took part in several exhibitions in China and abroad. Marcella and Stefano currently live and work in Beijing.

Instant Hutong is an art project created to record as well as draw people’s attention onto traditional patterns of neighbourhoods, courtyards and lanes in Beijing, all of which are threatened by construction development. This work explores both spatial and social aspects of the traditional Hutong urban tissue and the community of people living in it. It is organized as a series of art pieces and installations on the border between art, social investigation and urban research with the aim of generating and stimulating an open debate. The work currently involves issues such as density, gentrification, human relationships and the concept of physical space, as well as property speculation and the fast pace disappearance of the sense of community and identity. These issues are expressed through merging the social sphere with the aesthetic one.



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