Shanzhai Biennial: Dark Optimism on Nowness.com.
“Shanzhai” (山寨) is the Chinese expression for counterfeit goods of all stripes from consumer electronics to health and beauty. Conceptually speaking, shanzhai extends even further into the wider culture of imitation and fakes that is germane to China. A captivating work by Cyril Duval and Babak Radboy titledShanzhai Biennial
explores this concept and this week ran on Nowness
. The work (above) features Chinese model Ting Ting Wu
lipsyncing a Chinese arrangement of the hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U,” made famous by Sinead O’Connor in 1990.
Ting Ting, microphone in hand, is shown on a stage under a heavy spotlight wearing an elegant evening gown emblazoned with a deliberately mispelled shampoo brand. Glitz and sparkle announce something is for sale, but Shanzhai Biennial
is more keen on selling artifice than an actual product. “Selling things is always a drag on the aura of a brand,” admitted Radboy, speaking toNowness
. Beautiful and resplendent, Ting Ting provides the requisite authenticity upon which to pile the layers and layers of imitation, which would otherwise immediately trigger the counterfeit-o-meter
Shanzhai Biennial is part of the group show ProBio
that features in the large-scale exhibition at MoMA PS1 titled Expo 1: New York running through 2 September. For more information, please visit Nowness
and MoMA PS1
. Also be sure to check out the models portfolio of Ting Ting Wu
: Title, Shanzhai Biennial N°2
; Creative direction, Cyril Duval, Babak Radboy; Direction, Martin Ahlgren; Model, Ting Ting Wu; Vocals, Helen Feng (Nova Heart); Production, Sarah Ko; Editing, Chris Shimojima; Post produciton, Robertino Zambrano; Wardrobe styling, Avena Gallagher; Casting, Preston Chaunsumlit; Wardrobe technics, Mabel Ogawa; Hair, Luke Baker; Makeup, Robert Greene; Manicure, Naomi Yasuda; Still photography, Matthu Placek; Interpretation, Joyce Ng; Jewelry, Eddie Borgo; Shoes, Andrew Kayla; Gaffer, Leo Alvarez; Best boy, Jared Frost; Production assistance, Kyle Hayes; Production assistance, Zak Syroka