Samantha Culp

Leica x Swire Hotels Photo Contest: Beijing/HK

(by Madi Ju)

It’s not too late to submit your most striking snapshots of Beijing or Hong Kong to the Leica x Swire Hotels photography contest. Organized by my frequent collaborator Juliana Loh, the project invited four of greater China’s most talented young photographers (my friends Madi Ju and Xue Tan among them) to shoot Swire’s main hotels in Beijing and HK – the Opposite House and Upper House, respectively. They will then be judging public photo submissions for prizes like Leica cameras and hotel stays. Also important to note: “Entries from all over the world are accepted as long as they fit into the theme shot in Beijing or Hong Kong, photos do not have to be taken with a Leica Camera.”

Full details here and on their Facebook page, and hurry up to get your snaps in by November 30.

Terms and conditions:
-One photo entry per person, 300dpi, 1280 x1024, send to
-Name + email address + contact number + Facebook / 微博 username.
-Photos have to be taken in either Beijing or Hong Kong under respective city’s themes.

(by Xue Tan)

(by Han Chao)

(by Mandy Yeung)

View the full set here

Mild Gathering – Madi Ju & friends exhibition in Shanghai

Madi Ju has brought “Wild Gathering” to Shanghai but it is now a “Mild Gathering” – in the wake of recent bleak times in Japan, Yunnan, Beijing and beyond. Let’s gather, mildly, for some beautiful photographs and humble creations from Madi and friends, from April 7 at Aegis shop in Shanghai.

MILD GATHERING – art, music, photo, conversations
6-9pm, April 7th
at our friend Winston’s shop – Aegis
777 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu, Shanghai
5403 9869

Featuring photographers Madi Ju and Peter Sutherland, and Japanese fashion designer Hiro Sawatari


3 friends
3 professions
3 countries
3 exhibition parties

Closely linked by photography, music, art, design and now – some sadness about Japan, China and Thailand earth quakes and their people’s difficulties and pains.

3 shows will happen in 3 years…

Show 2010 was Wild Gathering in Beijing, 350 people attended our party, we partied happy and wild, looked at artworks, listened to our djing, spoke about everything and nothing.

and as were planning show number 2 in Shanghai – Wilder Gathering on April 7th, because of the sadness and grey mood around us, we have decided to continue, not call it Wilder, but simply call it MILD GATHERING.

Click here for (more…)

Creators Project Beijing (Vice + Intel)

From September 17-19, The Creators Project set up shop at Beijing’s 798 Art District for a grand finale to its multi-city international tour. The project is a collaboration of Vice and Intel to highlight young, global creators (much better term than “creatives” in my opinion) who work at the intersection of art and technology, via an extensive website and events in New York, London, Sao Paulo and Seoul. As the last stop, Beijing’s event featured art installations spread across 798 Art District, as well as workshops, film screenings, and a night of live performances from the likes of Sulumi, White+, New Pants, DJ Wordy, and Major Lazer.

In case you missed it, here are the Beijing-related posts on the blog, including mine:

Creators Project Kicks Off in Beijing

A Night of Neon, Beats, Fog & Some Major Lazer…

Peng Lei Speaks

Chirping with Joao Vasco Paiva

Travel back in time to have a peek at the Creators Project English Twitter and their Chinese-language Weibo

As photographer Matthew Niederhauser put it, “Hopefully we will see more specialized projects focusing on fringe media and artists with big corporate sponsorship behind it in the future. Gotta pay the bills somehow.”

Here’s a nice video from Matt that captures some of the madness:

Vice in Beijing: Creators Project – 798 Art District, Beijing, China – 2010/09/18 from Matthew Niederhauser on Vimeo.

More coverage:
Some fashionable snaps from Beijing Stylites:

Pang Kuan
Pang Kuan Smashing an Apple Monitor

At the Creators Project

Stylites at the Creators Project

Cold Couples
Cold Couples at Creators Project

Factory Boy
Factory Boy

Dispatch and live track from Pangbianr:

RETROS at Creators Project
<a href="">Live @ Creators Project by pangbianr radio</a>

WHITE+, Re-TROS, and 新裤子 @ Creators Project 798 第一工厂

Triple Major shop opens in Beijing

Triple Major is an international creative studio that previously brought Project White T-shirt to Beijing – now they have opened their own boutique in a Dongcheng hutong. The eponymous shop is “disguised as a traditional Chinese medicine clinic” but will carry “avant-garde designs from international talents as an antidote to mainstream fashion’s erosion of individuality.” The 2nd floor and rooftop will host special exhibitions and events, including one by experimental designers Ffixxed (via Australia and Shenzhen) on Oct 29.

See full coverage by Beijing Stylites here and more about their opening flea market during the October holiday. More photos by proprietor Richie Chen here and some street style snapshots for Space 1520 LA.
Triple Major Studio site, their Facebook, and Weibo.


81 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing

周二 – 周日,13:00-22:00
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 13:00-20:00

T: +86-010-84020763

Urban Wildlife in Beijing: The Mysterious Huang Shulang (黄鼠狼)

Several months ago, I saw some kind of furry, long-bodied creature dart under the bushes in an apartment complex in Haidian. A ferret? In Beijing? I even asked the gatekeeper of the complex, who insisted I had seen a cat. I also remembered some friends describing a strange “squirrel-like” animal native to Beijing – could this be it? Just a few nights ago, I spotted another one, ambling along in the street-light between some cars, and a bit of internet research seems to have solved the mystery. According to Danwei, what I saw was likely a huang shulang (黄鼠狼), aka the Yellow Weasel (or more technically the Siberian Weasel, mustela sibirica). They are still apparently quite common in Beijing, especially in the hutongs, and a sighting is considered either good luck or bad luck (depending, I think, on whether you raise chickens). I hope I’m lucky enough to see one again.

More: a video featuring both huang shulang and ferrets.


Flying Bird from Samantha Culp on Vimeo.

Short Stays Premiere

At long last, Short Stays had its premiere at The Opposite House on May 18. See some snapshots here…


Photos from Short Stays: the Making Of

Click below to play a slideshow of the Short Stays film stills and making of…

Link to set on Flickr.

Short Stays – Premiere May 18

Short Stays, the film project I produced for The Opposite House hotel in Beijing, will have its long-awaited premiere on May 18. Read more on the Short Stays website.

3 Short Films by / 三个短片
Zhao Ye / Liu Jiayin / Peng Lei


Great Strides in Sino-Islamic Cultural Exchange




Taken from the window of a passing taxi a few weeks ago. Near impossible to believe, but somehow I had never passed it since moving to Beijing last summer (there was the requisite tourist visit years ago, of course). I kept expecting it to happen on some gloriously mundane day, and by the time it did, I had almost forgotten. But suddenly one evening, I looked up and was struck by a sight so familiar, so unreal, that I knew what it was before I knew.

It still seems stuck inside my mother’s little pink TV on the kitchen counter that summer. Like all things from the past, tiny and infinite at once.

Relational Picnic

Spring picnic in Chaoyang Park with friends (including visiting HK artist Lee Kit, who graciously supplied one of his beautiful cloths for us to feast upon).

Just in case you weren’t aware, it is not possible to enter Chaoyang Park at West Gate 1 and walk north to West Gate 3 within the park. Well, it is possible, but only if you are willing to scale chain-link fences and sneak through restricted horse stables and climb over the padlocked metal gates at either end of a decommissioned bridge…


Life is a Struggle


Words of wisdom from the Carrefour check-out girl. With my abysmal Chinese, I was unable to ascertain whether she had written the slogan on her register herself, or it was someone else’s graffiti… pretty great regardless.

Street Legal

Yesterday up at Gulou, I finally got around to buying the new albums by Hedgehog (just released) and Ourself Beside Me (came out in January)… Only to discover a few hours later via the salivating tweets of more media-savvy Beijingren that Google China had just launched its free mp3 service, which, of course, happens to feature both albums.

Oh well – still nice to support an actual music shop, and made an additional purchase of some Cui Zi’en (崔子恩) DVDs I haven’t seen around before. A few years ago at HKIFF, Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang described to me his first exposure to Cui’s films as something like this: “I put on the tape, and was watching it until I felt I had to turn it off, but then I couldn’t turn it off… it’s so bad that it’s fascinating, and then it becomes interesting.” Intense paraphrasing going on there, but it sticks in my mind as fairly apt. The weird, self-conscious crappiness in the aesthetic and tone of “Withered in the Blooming Season” is kind of amazing.

The Hedgehog and Ourself Beside Me albums are available for streaming and download below. (Legally! Though the concept of something that is both “digital” and “legal” in China is still confusing to me.) I’m still making my way through them…


Ourself Beside Me “Ourself Beside Me”
(Loving the Rundgren/Barrett-by-way-of-Lisa-Frank cover art; also I’m amazed that they actually did use ‘Ourself Beside Me’ as the official name on it – they had barely decided it while my THEME article on them was going to press)

Hedgehog “Blue Day Dreaming”
(I wish time machines existed just so that Hedgehog could travel back to 1993 to appear on 120 Minutes, and we could now watch it on grainy Youtube VHS capture…)

Dongyue Temple & Arrow Factory

Dongyue Game

On the third day of Ox Year, Dongyue Temple Fair had some interesting games that looked almost like art installations (and seemed impossible to win).


Happy Niu Year (牛年)


Lunar New Year in Beijing.

At first it sounded (especially to the Californians) like random drive-by shootings…


New Year’s Marathon


More pictures from the Vitamin Creative Space Beijing Mini-Marathon, 2pm Dec 31 2008 – 4am Jan 1 2009, are here.

(I also may have been blogged by Ai Weiwei here)

Presenting at Pecha Kucha Beijing, Dec 13 2008


From Vientiane to Beijing in Theme Magazine

As my last spurt of journalistic productivity before going on my present “sabbatical,” I have two pieces in the current issue of Theme Magazine (NYC). One is on Beijing band “Ourself Beside Me” (also known as “Ourselves Beside Me”; there is no definitive right spelling and I suspect the girls prefer it that way); the other on Thai television show “Dreamchaser.”

Profile: Ourself Beside Me, Theme Magazine, Issue 17, Nov/Dec/Jan 2008/2009 Eureka!

Theme: Dreamchaser, Theme Magazine, Issue 17, Nov/Dec/Jan 2008/2009 Eureka!