Mandarin Leader Award | 名都领袖奖

December 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

mandarin-leader-honoreesAs the year comes to a close, I am honored to share with you that I have been featured as a 2016 Mandarin Leader, an annual award recognizing excellence in North America’s Chinese community! Inaugurated in 2015, Mandarin Leader spotlights exceptionally creative or philanthropic individuals, who, regardless of industry, have “created something out of nothing, taken risks, and exhibited characteristics associated with leadership”.

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I am humbled to be in the company of a cadre of outstanding Chinese leaders in North America making substantive contributions across academia, the arts, business, science, medicine, media, government, non-profits and entertainment. Many thanks to Mandarin Leader organizers for the honor, and for their initiative conducting such a meaningful award showcasing creativity and altruism in the Chinese community!

旧岁将尽之际,很高兴地和您分享一个消息:本人被誉为2016年度“名都领袖”!这一奖项为北美华人社群中的卓越成就者而设, 突出表彰具有创意或致力于公益的个人及组织,“不论职业为何,这些领袖们在各个行业从无到有创造出今日的成果,他们有冒险家精神,还有领导者的特质”。

这些北美杰出华人在学术、商务、艺术、政府、媒体、科学、医学和娱乐等行业有着显著的成就。被列为其中一员,我深感荣幸。感谢“名都领袖”赋予的盛誉,也感谢其组织者引领这一如此有意义的嘉奖, 以弘扬创意与公益。

 

Illuminating Consciousness, Mindfulness and the Emotional Brain – Dr. Greg Dunn’s talk at Essinova Salon now available on video

November 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

As promised, for those who could not come to our salon and pop-up gallery at SAP Labs a few weeks ago and requested recordings, video of the excellent talk by neuroscientist-artist Dr. Greg Dunn is now available on Essinova website:

几星期前没能到场我们在SAPLabs举办的首届沙龙活动的朋友,曾提出要求观看讲座的录影。我们已将科学艺术家邓恩博士精彩讲话视频登载在网站上,欢迎观看:

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The Big Picture, V – China’s Creative Economy, Beijing’s Creative Spaces and a Robot Monk

August 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

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China’s Creative Economy, through the lens of creative spaces, is the subject of the last installment of our Big Picture series.

It was a few days before New Year 2016 when I first heard the word 融合业态 (Rong He Ye Tai)- fusion or convergence of industries – as a latest trend in China. The son of my father’s friend visited San Francisco with his newly-wed wife during the holidays, and I entertained them. I was trying to explain what kind of work I do (or am doing in recent years), and instead of an awkward silence which I thought would ensue, he was unexpectedly turned on by my “explorations between art and science, culture and technology, nature and lifestyle”, a concept I had thought would be too esoteric, convoluted or impractical for anyone in China to care. “融合业态!” He declared, “It’s the ‘in’ thing now!” He went on to tell me how high tech parks are passé now, replaced by creativity and design parks, and cultural incubators; how a real estate or tourist project would get funding more easily, if it had a cultural theme. He urged me to collaborate with the association he was working for, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture.

Sensing my skepticism, he handed me a document a few days later, on red letterhead. It is the State Council 2014 [10] Gazette, on promoting “the integration of cultural creativity and design services with the development of industries”.

I was blown away.  The central government is recognizing that the culture industry has the desirable attributes of “high knowledge intensity, high value-add, low energy consumption, and low pollution”, as the country’s economy goes through much-needed transformation.  It is encouraging the “deep integration” of culture industries with ‘real’ economy industries such as technology, manufacturing, real estate and retail, as new sources of growth, competitiveness, employment, consumption diversity and higher standard of living. It knows that without culture leading the way, there would be no “Created in China”.

A couple of trips to China in the ensuing months gave me the opportunity to investigate and see with my own eyes. Below I share with you several creative spaces I visited as part of this reconnaissance. It is not a conclusive report on whether the government’s policy is working – much more time and resources would be needed for that – but rather an observation of the physical (and in some cases, business and cultural) environments that creativity is being pursued, along with anecdotal stories. They are not necessarily born out of the Directive – some of these places predated the Gazette by a decade; and the people I spoke to at these places did not necessarily know anything about the policy; but in a uniquely characteristic Chinese way, the Visible Hand of the Government and the Invisible Hand of the Market are certainly at interplay, with the former sometimes directing the latter, while other times shrewdly taking clues and multiplying the latter.
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The Big Picture, IV – How about a 21st Century Florence? Or for that matter, a new Hangzhou?

June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment

Athenian bowl, Chinese Song Dynasty compass, Michelangelo drawing, image of brain as circuit

“Silicon Valley’s continued success depends, ironically, not on some shiny new gizmo but on learning the lessons of history.”

“What jumpstarts a golden age is not necessarily what keeps it going. The good ones manage to change fuel sources midstream. The Renaissance was initially powered by the recovered ancient texts, but the Humanists who discovered them soon generated their own ideas, their own intellectual momentum. Silicon Valley, if it is to survive, needs to find alternative energy sources, new ways of being creative and not simply new creative products.”

– Eric Weiner, Geography of Genius

“History is a mirror for the future!”

– My parents. Or maybe Chinese axiom?

So it appears that the Bay Area has an art scene undergoing transformation, with exodus and influx both at play. My roundup in the last installment of the Series didn’t even include the Stanford Arts District — the one-stop, four-institution arts compound at Stanford University that is quickly ascending in national significance, with three new buildings in three years (at a cost of $235 million), adding to the existing Cantor Arts Center.

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