ISSN: 20517041
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 3: Contemporary Art and Ecology in East Asia
Cover Date: December 2016
From Funan River to East Lake: Reflecting on environmental activism and public art in China
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Authors:  Huang Chen 
DOI: 10.1386/jcca.3.3.315_1

contemporary Chinese art,performance art,environmental activism,boundary-spanning contention,public art,public participation

This article makes a comparison between two environmental art projects: ‘Keepers of the Waters’ (1995), a public art festival aiming to raise public awareness about the pollution problems of the main river in Chengdu, and ‘Everyone’s East Lake’ (2010), a public call for art action in response to an incident of commercial development of an important lake in Wuhan. The early strategies and characteristics of environmental activism in China led to the success of the first art project, and the constrains were testified and confronted in the second project. This article will discuss the two projects in detail regarding their political stances, modes of participation and the use of artistic language. I suggest that an emerging ‘political engagement’ mode is more public and empowering than the ‘political innocence’ mode developed in the 1990s.
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