December 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
As 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”.
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!
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:
August 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
China’s Creative Economy, through the lens of creative spaces, is the subject of the last installment of our Big Picture series.
- Crowdfunded “Financiers Coffee” Investors’ Club
- Creative Industry Parks
- Non-governmental Museums
- Longquan Temple (and Its Robot Monk)
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  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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June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment
“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.