Covid-19 vs. DIY Cultural Diplomacy

As soon as the Covid-19 situation in China made headlines back in January, I followed it closely since I had planned to be there in March. That trip was cancelled in February. The ambition was to get familiar with music scenes in at least Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu; to map the terrain of producers, rappers, DJs, venues and other stakeholders in an open-ended fashion. This would be the first of two trips to China, whereas the second one was planned for late July or beginning of August – in the end of the project. Why China? – you might ask. There are two fundamental reasons that I will elaborate on in another entry. Hopefully, I will be able to go there at some point this year, but it is very hard to predict when.

The process running up to the finalizing trip was, and still is, about developing an intellectual and political confidence, a network and an aesthetic or enough cultural leverage to announce the appropriation process complete. I am using the word aesthetic to describe a broad spectrum of produced and curated cultural content. But having potential interactions limited to the virtual realm makes the appropriation process significantly different. Amongst the cancelled events that I had very much looked forward to attend are:

Not being able to attend these events and rely on the contingencies they arrange complicates appropriation. I am quite eager to share some of the knowledge that is behind this reasoning, but in due time. It involves the meaning of space in appropriation and commentary on the locations of cultural diplomacy.

What now?

Well, culture doesn’t stop. People are experimenting with ways of sharing their art, creativity, feelings and experiences. All of this unfolds in a virtual geography. Some of these observations are shared on the blog and others go directly into the archive, which is in development. Read about it here.

I have signed a music distribution deal with ALOADED. Expect some heat!

Apart from accumulating, arranging and producing cultural content, time is inevitably devoted to figuring out how to maneuver in this new predicament, as it modifies institutionalized routines, expectations and possibilities on a day-to-day basis. It demands that we adjust, but for how long? At what point does adjusting become change? These are question to be discussed another time. For now, I can say that the project has been extended, beyond its intended ending on August 31st. What this means, time will tell.

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