Der Aufstieg der "Kreativ-Wirtschaft" in China

Brian Holmes hat sich Gedanken gemacht über die zunehmende Rhetorik der "Creative Industries" in China (da vor allem Werbung, PR, Spots und Lifestyle-Magazine damit gemeint sind, nicht mit Kulturindustrie zu übersetzen, es handelt sich um eine postmoderne Fortschreibung derselben): Ihm zufolge geht es um die Aufrechterhaltung eines Systems
of the contemporary division of labor, in which massively individualized mobility is channeled and orchestrated to fit the needs of those with superior information-gathering power and organizational technique. The central question under such a social system is: Who will supply the mobilizing energies to hundreds of millions of free agents? Who will communicate to the communicators? Here is where the creative industries come in: not the traditional fine arts, nor the modernist cultural industries like cinema and radio, but instead the newly minted and digitized professions that shape the lightweight, complex, ephemeral, ever-changing aesthetic experiences of the hyper-mediated city. The professionals who create the advertising, the color schemes, the lighting, the ambiance, the interactive circuits, the interior design, but also the artists and musicians and publics who soak up that light and make those ambiances vibrant and interesting and valuable on the market. Throughout China right now there is a rising buzz around the creative industries, in Beijing as they get ready for the Games, in Shanghai as they work toward the World Expo, in the Pearl River Delta as they add entire new city centers and cultural facilities to urban production zones trying to upgrade from their status as the world factory. The interest in this new “new economy” is sustained at the governmental level by a small army of foreign consultants who have come to sell their skills and reinvent themselves in Beijing, and it’s amplified back in the West by professional style magazines like Fast Company, which ran a glitzy special on “China’s New Creative Class” in mid-2007. ...

As a twenty-five year-old computer programmer confided to labor researcher Andrew Ross: “China is a very crowded world and Shanghai is not a place you can ever relax. Even when I try to relax, I can feel the economy behind me, running up at my back.” The art of outracing the economy, of dancing and twirling and glittering just in advance of its leading edges, is what defines the creative industries. The creative industries discourse (CI) is brand new, since it was only codified by the British cultural ministry’s Creative Industries Task Force in 1998. But it’s also very old, if you date it back to Ronald Reagan’s “Creative Society” speech in the mid-1960s, one of the foundation stones of neoliberal doctrine. ...

CI is both a policy discourse and a promotional rhetoric. It flourishes in financialized economies, driven by speculation on prosumer appetites for aesthetic goods and services. For governments, the aim is to attain higher levels of employment and economic growth, by commodifying and privatizing some of the cultural programs judged necessary for social cohesion. For businesses, it’s a matter of competing in highly profitable sectors where new-style design products, entertainment and IT meet the old-fashioned pay dirt of real-estate. CI has exploded in East Asia since the turn of the millennium. Michael Keane has shown how it emerged as a full-fledged policy discourse in China over a mere two-year period (2004-06). Updating their former emphasis on mass-media spectacles with traditional content, officials now speak of “Cultural and Creative Industries.” The goal is a rise of Chinese products through the global value-chain, from “Made in China” to “Created in China.” But the advertising and design professions are also supposed to fuel a surge in the nation’s consumption of its own seemingly boundless productivity – an elusive goal which is considered essential by both the Communist party and American trade representatives. The concrete results of all this have been the overnight bloom of “creative clusters” in China’s coastal cities: integrated districts where the multiple arts of human creativity are brought into a theoretically ideal mix on the urban territory.

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