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Shanghai Artists Want You To Hear Their Stories

Shanghai Artists Want You To Hear Their Stories

Too busy to get your daily dose of RADII? We got you every Tuesday with a summary of all the freshest takes on China’s youth culture in the last week.

  • ‘Impressions of Shanghai’ is a culmination of the artist duo’s lockdown projects and performances, which have been a means to stay sane but have proven unprofitable.
  • With less than half of new graduates having received offers as of mid-April, 2022 marks a dimmed job market and employment predicament for youth.
  • College students didn’t just use Airbnb listings as travel accommodation but as an escape from cramped dormitories.
  • Pizza Hut has released five unique spaghetti-based dishes inspired by regional flavors from China.
  • Journaling has proven to be a lifeline for some during Shanghai's ongoing lockdown.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

Audiovisual Artists’ New Project Breaks the Silence of Shanghai Lockdown

Audiovisual artists Yu Miao and Wang Meng have been losing sleep as of late. Not only have their shows been canceled, bringing their flow of income to a standstill, but they also can’t get over how eerily quiet Shanghai is during the lockdown.

From their 24th-floor apartment, Yu, who is known for her modern innovations on the traditional Chinese guzheng, and Wang, an avant-garde visual artist, experience unusual acoustics.

For instance, the voice of a deliveryman on his phone is amplified as he drives by on his scooter. Without the reassuring background bustle of the Shanghai she knows, Yu is sometimes unable to fall asleep until dawn. The chirping of birds at this hour is “a sound I’ve never heard from my apartment before,” says Yu.

But the pair have broken this silence with Impressions of Shanghai, which was uploaded onto Yu’s Instagram page on May 17.

A striking feature of the audiovisual work is distortion: Yu’s guzheng strums are altered — though not beyond recognition — using an effector and other hardware. The genre-defying music is paired with abstract visual renderings of Shanghai’s skyline that Wang created with the help of AI.

Some scenes, like one of the city’s avenues teeming with vibrantly colored passersby, resemble oil paintings. Others are more like inkblots depicting a barren cityscape. Even for Yu, who was familiar with AI visual art, her partner’s new approach felt completely novel.

On May 16, the Chinese branch of American fast-food chain Pizza Hut launched a set of new limited-edition dishes branded as ‘Chinese-style spaghetti’ that are only available for three weeks until June 5.

The novel food products put a Chinese spin on one of Italy’s renowned dishes and include five spaghetti-based meals with a starting price of 29 RMB (4.35 USD), each inspired by the local flavors of a Chinese region: Shanghai, Suzhou, Fujian, Wuhan, and Chengdu.

Chinese netizens expressed mixed feelings towards the products.

“I tried the Wuhan-style spaghetti, but it was very dry and not flavorful,” lamented one user. “Overall, it’s not as tasty as the classic spaghetti bolognese. Maybe the shop didn’t cook it well? Or spaghetti isn’t supposed to be cooked this way?”

Many users appeared enthusiastic about the drop and heaped praises on the combination. “These dishes look good. The combo of Eastern and Western food is absolutely invincible!” reads the top-voted comment under Pizza Hut’s Weibo post.

  • On the weekend of May 20 and 21, millions tuned in to Tencent Music’s TME Live Concerts series to catch Taiwanese Mandopop legend Jay Chou in action. Viewed almost 100 million times, the prerecorded concert set a new world record for online performances.
  • Tencent Video’s upcoming series ‘A Dream of Splendor’ follows three women as they transform a boutique tea shop into a successful restaurant.
  • Emo rapper Cykko dropped his debut mixtape titled Cykkosis. The five-song EP includes a heartfelt song dedicated to the artist’s dearly departed grandmother.

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