China advisory panel: Insider guides
One of the biggest creative names on the Chinese scene, Ou Ning has the art world of the east at his feet. Famed for his seminal book on the Beijing rock scene, New Sound Of Beijing, Ou will this year curate the 2009 Shenzen and Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture
Whereabouts-in China are you originally from and where do you live now? How have theses places changed during your lifetime?
I am originally from Suixi in the Guangdong province, and I now live in Beijing. The former hasn’t changed much; the latter has begun to take the shape of a preliminary civilian society - one of the most significant changes of China in the past 20 years.
What do you find most inspiring about living in China?
The wisdom of individual, regular people in the face of urgent realities, for instance, the way of life in the so-called ’Urban Villages’, which is all about finding living space within uninhabitably tight restrictions.
Where is the most up and coming area of China, and why?
The intellectuals have been shifting their focus to more rural areas. Re-thinking agricultural and ecological issues will bring new progress to China.
If you had one piece of advice for visitors to China, what would it be?
Make sure that you read the work of Peter Hessler – you’ll understand why.
If you had a friend come to visit you for 24hours, where would you be sure to take him/her?
A small, cosy Japanese barbecue joint that I often go to with my friends – it’s very hard to leave.
What would you avoid?
Any place where they can eat Peking Duck or see Peking Opera.
Who in your opinion are the creatives in China we should be looking out for at the moment?
The next generation of designers and internet entrepreneurs.
How did you find your experience as part of the Wallpaper* advisory panel?
Wallpaper* is the embodiment of British style - established but always changing and refreshing. Reading Wallpaper* one tends to find a lot of unexpected details.