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Durham University


Geography, Music, Space

June Wang (Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong) - Practicing Music, Practicing Musical City: Spatial Politics of Chinese Rock in Shenzhen

09:00-11:00 - Session I: The political spaces of music

Chinese rock, premised on an identity of dissenters, has always featured with a pattern of spatial fluidity. The introduction of live house might offer a solid material base for political subjectivation of the community. This spatial action of subjectivation in forms of “guerrilla warfare”, encounters the growing passion for cultural city making by Municipal Governments. Through the study on transformation of rock space in Shenzhen, we aim to reflect on scholarship on post-political forms of urban governance in China. By probing into the antagonistic actions of the police and the political: while the underground rockers asserts their right to practice music in the city through guerrilla warfare, the state attempts to maintain social order through initiating model music festivals. The double side of partition revealed by Rancierian conception of politics of aesthetics allows the governing side to pick and co-opt particular producers and live houses while collapse and/or policing others to re-consolidate spatial orders. Guided by elite-formed musical festivals and their consensual definition of Avant guard music, citizen entitlement and citizen participation programs becomes propaganda sites where state-sanctioned aesthetics is delivered to and experienced by subject-citizens.