There’s nothing like the volatile combination of performance pieces, politics and China to create a little press controversy. That’s what happened when a teacher made famous by abandoning his class during the Sichuan earthquakes, nicknamed Running Fan, was drafted into art piece for the Beijing 798 Biennial, according to the Wall Street Journal:
At the 798 Biennale, Mr. Fan was slated to be part of a performance art exhibition titled “the Soulful Society VS the Net Spirit” (社会魂vs网络魄). In addition to Mr. Fan, other well-known participants included Wu Ping, a Chongqing woman who held out against developers seeking to knock her home down, and subsequently became known as “the toughest nail house owner in history” and noted blogger/lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan. The performance piece was described as involving “writers who have garnered attention through individual efforts given the technological advances of today’s society.”
Early last month, when the news first came out that Running Fan had been invited to participate in the performance art segment of the 798 Biennale, it made headlines all over the Chinese-language media.
Web users started an online debate on the issue, some mocking Fan, others chalking his participation up to a media ploy designed to generate public controversy.
Now the event has been called off by the curators.
Beijing’s 798 Biennial Kicks Off with Controversy (China Journal/WSJ)