Mr Democracy

A written constitution for the UK (made in China)

  • Welcome to Mr Democracy, the story of a British artist who set off to get a written constitution for the UK made.
    Understanding the changing balance of power in the world, and with a nod to Britain’s ‘democratic’ ventures across the world, he chose to get it written in China, and ship it back to the UK.
    Read more under 'about' and in the many blog entries.

Archive for the ‘Nationalism’ Category

Do you do politics?

Posted by mrdemocracy on 26,07,2008

The next day I visited the British Council, in one of the poshest buildings I’ve visited in my life, although it was attached to a mall. I met Veronica Wang, from Guangzhou, who had studied in the UK for a year and a half, which seems to be in the biography of most of the Chinese people working at the British Council, which does give them an insight into how Britain works. We discussed what had to be done, it was good to have that support, I was impressed. I hope it wasn’t inappropriate, but I tucked straight into the politics, asking Veronica what she thought of the Olypmic flame issue, of what had happened (see London protests here). Interestingly enough, her first and only recollection of the event was of a Chinese torch carrier in a wheelchair who was attacked in Paris (see here) and the reaction it ’caused’ (see, noted on the Chinese Embassy’s website, though of course not officially condoned). I asked her regarding the subject of China feeling criticised, and my project inviting a reversal in the direction of comment.

Part of this reaction manifest itself in the form of protests in China. I’m here and start to see that this reaction is genuine, but it is also very frustrating that many Chinese people, as far as I can see, simply don’t see that most protests are banned, and some are condoned. It does I have to say, remind me of the willful ignorance of people who think protesting in the west is a walk in the park – look what happened here: (updated link) – Republican National Congress and the police state that was the twin cities for those few days, nearly 1000 arrests, most for little or no reason, and the widespread indiscriminate use of tasers, smoke bombs, tear gas, etc. See:
Protester arrested for falling off his bike
And here his testomony to the torture he suffered in custody
Here and here journalist arrests
Sorry for the deviation!

Back to China: Chinese truck drivers block carrefour.
Later that day I met Tom Shi at his studio not far from my hotel, the British Council had also put me in touch with him. Tom (who’d also studied in London, industrial design) had started to help before I arrived in China, looking up some factories and giving me some more tips about what would be possible. He then invited me to use his studio as my work place, which was so kind and helpful – comfy, good internet, and friendly people there. Tom has had the studio under a year, and would like to find some other interesting people to share it with, I think to give give him sounding boards and some shared creative energy as it were. There are 2 students who work for Tom too.

Posted in Chinese Politics, Nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One World, One Dream?

Posted by mrdemocracy on 10,07,2008

The biggest set back before I left has been the visa issue. I’ve heard through friends of cases where people had been sent back at the airport on arrival because their passports were bent, because they had a beard, and people who had had their visa aplication rejected 6 consecutive times. So applying on a business visa as an artist with this project seemed risky. Originally I wanted to go for about 3 months, but now the maximum visa being offered, tourist or business, is 1 month. One World One Dream? With the prospect of just getting a one month visa, I need to try to plan more before I go. In the end, Jim Hollington at the British Council in Guangzhou said the best option was to go to Hong Kong, and get a multiple entry visa from there, this way I’ll have flexibility as I don’t have to proove when I’m leaving on entry, and can renew my visa by doing a border run back to Hong Kong.

Posted in China experiences, Nationalism, Olympics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Free Tibet! (Made in China)

Posted by mrdemocracy on 28,04,2008

‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China

I don’t suppose this is an art project, but it could have been, it has that ‘wrong place’ element employed often in artwork – e.g. artist Xiaopeng Huang proposed to move the Star Ferry pier from Hong Kong to Guangzhou for the Gaungzhou Biennale this year, not realised due to its cost. It also mimicks my project a little, using an industrial method in the wrong place/time. Though not immediately obvious, theres something fundamental explored in this news story – why shouldn’t a chinese factory produce free tibet flags? Not that I’m on the side of the Chinese nationalists here, but it raises the simple question of regulation – when shouldn’t a business do something? Its also just fantastic.

Posted in Chinese Politics, Nationalism | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »