Each week we spotlight the news and events shedding light on the world of Chinese cultural travel.
South by Southwest, the annual technology, film, and music festival in Austin, Texas, joined the list of high-profile global events that have been cancelled. This serves a blow to cooperative efforts between American and Chinese companies which have increasingly used the 10-day long March event to meet and collaborate. Since 2016, China Gathering has supported these endeavours across the fields of business, art, and music by guiding and assisting Chinese companies to navigate the festival. As China’s economy pivots from “Made in China” to “Made by China”, China Gathering offers a platform for Chinese entrepreneurs to make connections and gain attention in the U.S. It hosts an annual reception, entrepreneur events, and Chinese cultural showcases. Vivian Forrest, founder and CEO of China Gathering, said in a letter announcing the cancellation, “Fingers crossed for a brighter and healthier future – and we look forward to being even more involved in next year’s SXSW.”
Arts institutions in Hong Kong have joined forces to create a community-run, online platform that offers an alternative space for galleries, museums, universities and auction houses to stage virtual exhibitions and connect with patrons during quarantine. Launched on March 4 (and hosted by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center), ART Power HK is an attempt to maintain momentum for the local art scene affected by the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to the cancelation and postponement of art fairs, museum openings, and other cultural events. Planned platform features include online viewing rooms, pre-recorded and live streamed exhibition tours, as well as interviews and webinars with both local and international guests. With 60 establishments already on board, the campaign successfully showcases that the arts in Hong Kong remain active and resilient.
With Italy on lockdown, its cultural institutions have scrambled to render cultural icons, from the lofty vaults of the Vatican to the contemporary works of Castello di Rivoli, available online. Milan’s Triennale, the architecture and design showcase originally scheduled to run the course of March, has not only presented exhibitions online but invited artists, designers, and musicians to inhabit the Triennale’s empty spaces and tell stories which are live streamed on Instagram. The digital engagement echoes initiatives taken by Chinese institutions throughout February and March which brought art and culture to audience’s through popular social media channels. Until now, high-profile temporary events, such as art fairs, have prioritized offline engagement giving little consideration to those unable to visit. While such digital engagements may not fully compensate in-person experiences, the cultural reshuffle forced by coronavirus will likely create a demand for events to offer a blend of engagement modes in the future.