Running Time: Tue 15 May 2018, 6-9pm
Price: FREE

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.

About this event

Panel: Tue 15 May, 6-9pm at Goldsmiths (please note this event is off-site, not at Watermans)

Richard Hoggart Buliding 137A, Goldsmiths, University of London. 

With: DISNOVATION.ORG (Nicolas Maigret & Maria Roszkowska), An Xiao Mina, Clément Renaud. Featuring Liam Young’s Taobao Village. Moderated by Irini Papadimitriou.


[1] Shanzhai (山寨) refers to counterfeit consumer goods, including imitation, parody and trademark infringing brands or electronics.


Electronic devices possess their own trajectory. The production of digital technologies, from raw materials to information machines, take place in various places and cycles around the planet. On their back, the “Made in China” tag stands as a crucial piece of a mostly unwritten story.

During the last decades, the region of the Pearl River Delta in Southern China has been home to the largest production and assembling of technologies that has ever taken place in the history of mankind. At its forefront, the city of Shenzhen has become a new global center for technology, with many of the biggest tech companies in the world today.

The legendary speed of Shenzhen’s urban and industrial development has led to the appearance of entirely new technological phenomena with all their drawbacks, from the confidential development of weird shanzhai phones to the biggest shipment of Foxconn products all over the world. This discussion panel will be an occasion to look back at the many sides of this critical zone.

This panel is part of Shanzhai Archeology, an ongoing art and research project. Learn more at


The introductory lecture will present an overview of the historical transformation of Shenzhen, from the post-cultural revolution political reforms in China to the latest generations of tech startups.

Clément Renaud will discuss and speculate on the global implications and outreach of this site on the future of technology.

The Disnovation working group will introduce the Shanzhai Archeology research, including a sectional history of Shanzhai culture (a specific Chinese version of the copy culture),

together with a collection of smartphones of unique appearance and features made in Shenzhen.

Finally, Liam Young will show an animated skyline of the near future which exaggerates the contemporary Chinese phenomena of Taobao Villages and imagines a hyper dense urban region built entirely around the economies of the internet shopping giant.


Richard Hoggart Building 137a, Goldsmiths, University of London:

8 Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK


Organised in the frame of the SHANZHAI ARCHEOLOGY exhibition at Watermans. With the support of Helen Pritchard and the Computing Department of Goldsmiths, University of London, Design Trust – Hong Kong, CNC Dicréam, and Watermans.


An Xiao Mina [USA] ( is an American artist, designer, writer and technologist. In her research and practice, she explores the intersection of networked, creative communities and civic life. Calling memes the “street art of the internet”, she looks at the growing role of internet culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda and the United States. Her writing and commentary have appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, Wired and others, and she has lectured at conferences such as the Personal Democracy Forum, the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium and Creative Mornings.

DISNOVATION.ORG [INT] ( is a working group based in Paris, initiated by Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska. At the crossroads between contemporary art, research and hacking, the collective develops situations of disturbance, speculation, and debate, challenging the ideology of innovation and stimulating the emergence of alternative narratives. They recently edited The Pirate Book, an anthology on media piracy. Their work has been presented internationally at venues such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, transmediale, FILE and the Chaos Communication Congress.

Nicolas Maigret [FR] exposes the internal workings of media, through an exploration of their dysfunctions, limitations or failure thresholds which he develops sensory and immersive audio visual experiences. As a curator he initiated the Disnovation Research Group which conducts a series of deviant strategies and symbolic activities facing the ongoing propaganda of technological innovation. He teaches at Parsons Paris and develops a research on “black boxes” with V2_ Rotterdam and UCL Louvain.

Maria Roszkowska [PL] is a Polish graphic designer based in Paris. She has been associate researcher at EnsadLab Paris. From 2010 to 2014, she worked for Intégral Ruedi Baur, one of the leading cultural graphic design studio in France. In 2013, she designed and coordinated for Lars Müller Publishers Don’t Brand my public space!, a three year research on the issue of cities applying branding strategies.

Irini Papadimitriou [GR] is a curator, producer and cultural manager, working at the forefront of digital culture in the UK and internationally. She is currently Head of New Media Arts Development at Watermans, an arts organisation supporting artists working with technology, where she is curating the exhibition programme and an annual Digital Performance festival. She is also Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A responsible for the annual Digital Design Weekend festival and Digital Futures. Irini is a currently an Art & Design Associate with Mozilla and a co-founder of Maker Assembly, a critical gathering about maker culture: its meaning, politics, history and future.

Clément Renaud [FR] ( is a French researcher, artist and writer specialized in innovation in China, social network analysis and data visualization. After living in China for several years, he is now based in France. His work evolves from the practice of fine arts, social sciences and creative coding. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he has founded several international initiatives related to urban, visual and digital cultures. He holds a doctorate in Management of Information Systems from Telecom ParisTech.

Liam Young [UK] ( is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is cofounder of “Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today”, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies, and “Unknown Fields”, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. He has taught internationally at the Architectural Association, Princeton University and now runs an MA in Fiction and Entertainment at SciArc. Young’s narrative approach sits between documentary and fiction, as he focuses on projects that aim to reveal the invisible connections and systems that make the modern world work.

This is a free event and open to all, so no ticket is required.


Click here to find full details for those with access requirements.

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