Talk: Copy, Creativity and the Design Culture in China
Conference: The Low End Theory
Date: Day 2 – 13:30
Location: E-Werk Kesselsaal, Weimar
This presentation draws on findings from an explorative survey on the emergence of design as a discipline of the growing creative industries in China. It compares the notions of creativity and intellectual property rooted in Western modernity with the local Chinese values embedded in a confucian and socialist tradition. Research on contemporary design culture in China and an analysis of Chinese traditional philosophy question the stability of the terms ‘creativity’ and ‘copy’ as seemingly solid definitions and ends.
Examples collected from the field provide insights into the “Shanzhai” phenomenon as well as the controversial statements about design and copy by the key players of the Chinese creative industries. A comparative study of the relevant historical and philosophical backgrounds project these cases onto the canvas of transition and change. Ultimately, the transitional space offered by the intertwined relationship between imitation and innovation challenges the conventional understanding of design creativity as an elitist, singular and mystified concept.