This weekend is all about DAFF— Shanghai’s much-anticipated ‘Design, Art & Fashion Fair’. DAFF spring edition 2014 happens at the West Bund Shanghai Cement Plant on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 & 8, from 2.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. We already told you why you should not miss this edition of the event, but here’s more: we met The Ice Cream Truck Creative team – the masterminds behind DAFF, who have been planning and organizing the event since 2011 and asked them about how DAFF started, its evolution and about the amazing schedule and artists they have brought along for this editon of the event.
Hi guys. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us. First tell us something about yourselves, and how you came to be in Shanghai?
I think like many foreigners living in Shanghai, we all have our own random stories of why we came and eventually decided to live here. TICT started in 2009, quite humbly, throwing a few daytime outdoor parties for free in unique locations. At that time, it was mainly just close friends and friends of friends who came. Originally we just wanted to bring a breath of fresh air to the music/club scene here by doing something that was different – welcoming to all types of people, with good music and without pretension. It wasn’t until our first Rooftop Party at Atanu lighthouse in 2010 that some of us realized we could be onto something here. That was really the turning point for us. Since then, we’ve had a slew of great people join our team, help support us, and have been able to collaborate with some amazing clients who we both admire and enjoying working with.
What is the main idea behind DAFF and what are you trying to accomplish with it?
The main idea behind DAFF is really to create a more interactive community between all the different social circles that exist here, while bringing attention to the people, brands, organizations, and ideas which are adding to the city’s landscape in a positive way. There are so many passionate and interesting people here looking to follow their dreams, discover themselves, or even create a new life out here (us included), that DAFF has become our way to not only showcase these talents, but mutually nurture and support them. Our hope is that in some way we can make a lasting impression or even make that connection which will take these people to the next level. In the end, DAFF is all about the people and experiences we share. Not to mention it’s a damn good time.
Do you feel that the creative community in Shanghai could be more united? Is DAFF also meant to bring more interaction to this group?
Sure, there’s always more these groups could do to unite. Sadly, that’s one of the biggest downsides to the city in which we live. It’s a great place to party and let loose and do business because there are seemingly no limits in this hedonist dream-like city, but that can cause a lot of egotistical behavior – people fall into this hectic pace, satiating instant pleasures and often forget other important things, such as meaningful interaction and experiences. Since the beginning TICT was meant to gather interesting people and create new collective and individual experiences. With DAFF, by gathering such diverse groups and instigating collaboration amongst these groups and individuals, we also hope to push and inspire new ideas.
Beijing has been upholding the reputation to be the city with a much livelier art and music scene for a long time. Looking at events like DAFF happening, is Shanghai turning into a new hotspot for creative minds? Do you see any differences between the scenes in the two cities?
We definitely feel Shanghai is becoming a very exciting scene for music and art, thanks to all the different promoters, artists, designers and other individuals or groups that have made their impression here and are continuing to help develop this community. It goes back to that feeling of anything can happen here; there are no limits which allows for more of both originality and innovation, creatively speaking. The growing international attention and influx of foreigners to Shanghai specifically, only fuels this rapid exchange of ideas.
Have there been any changes in the general concept since the first edition of DAFF?
With DAFF, we are constantly trying to refresh the event each edition. This has accounted for the many changes seen over the past few years with venues, production, programming, etc. This definitely makes our job a lot more challenging each and every time, but we really want to continue to develop and grow as we encourage others to do. In all honesty and without any other promotional motive or otherwise, we feel this edition of DAFF will finally reach the vision we had in our minds when it was originally created three years ago. Besides the impressive, and relatively undiscovered new venue we’ve secured this year, the amount and variety of people and organizations involved, and the increasingly artistic direction the event is taking, we can confidently say this is going to be one event we couldn’t be more proud to present.
Tell us more about the idea behind this year’s DAFF communication campaign, #allaroundus. Who are the artists that got involved?
With sights on taking DAFF into the future and transforming a brand new setting on the West Bund this year, TICT have dedicated the theme of their premiere event to the idea of looking more deeply at what it is that we exist in, that which surrounds us, inspires us and connects us. This focus is more specifically on what is around us, the idea of space – personal, shared and everything in between. Looking at that space, be it placing a spotlight on existing meaning or giving it fresh emphasis, we invite expression from the public.
This issue’s direction is an opportunity to give not just the creative groups – that DAFF is well-known for supporting – a chance to respond, but the wider community a voice as well. Our first port of call is of course the city we live, work and play in, whether native or expat, we want this to be a chance to highlight individual experience, the appreciating of this intense, rich environment that we share, recognizing the importance of our independent interpretations and how it is in fact a different place to each of us entirely.
The #AllAroundUs campaign is to encourage and provide opportunities for us to play a more active role in the recognition, expression and communication of what lies within our states of consciousness. Whether a simple inclusive act of setting a personal image to our circle-in-a-square format – or uniting previously unconnected creative minds.
Our aim is to open up possibilities to identify, explore and experiment with ideas. So we invited creatives and the public alike to share their story through uploading an image alongside a relevant or descriptive sentence. To form a series that we hope will be able to represent a fragment of the time and space we live in. Culminating in a unique exhibition at DAFF 2014 and made available for viewing online from wherever you are.
We launched in May with six Chinese artists that work in a range of disciplines – from photography, fashion design, video, graffiti, sculpture and graphics. They each give us a custom visual and story. Our six key artists include – Controversial graphic and new media artist LU YANG – some have labeled as Chinese art’s “next big thing”. Her provocative subject matters, including animations titled ‘Uterusman’, work on Parkinson’s disease patients and the use of dead frogs do not fail to stun and her collaboration with us this year will be no different. ‘Graffiti artist’ ZINAN LAM who blurs the lines between street art, video, painting and new media, has been picked up in the past by brands from Louis Vuitton to Converse, his crew will be working on an installation and performance to present at our June event. Taiwanese designer BORSAN ZENG has designed visuals for underground labels in Shanghai since 2008, working with STD, Deck-FX and DOT Records, coming up with an entirely new project for DAFF 2014, fusing design, fashion and music with his DAFTIDEA team.
Artistically it was expanded upon through new collaborations, building up to installations and works for the event itself. See it all unveiled at DAFF this weekend!
What can we expect from this year’s first DAFF? Mind telling us a bit more about the participants for next weekend?
We have a full schedule of activities in store – we kick off DAFF Day 1 with a RUN-TO-DAFF, made up of the PUXI RUNNERS, CRAZY BITCHES + URBAN TIGERS. Once there find you can fine collective ART AROUND who have in store activities including (intriguingly named) “Grass Concerts”, “Drama Salon” and “Songs in Darkness”, whilst new collaborative group SKETCH JAM – made up of BASEMENT 6, DR SKETCHYS + SIP N PAINT – combine for a series of workshops to get you doodling throughout the day. We have SHANGHAI BIKE POLO who have gathered team-members from across China to take part in a mini-DAFF tournament over the weekend, find them gearing up and in 3-a-side matches at our Skate Park. Inside our DAFF DOME MUYU YUAN will be performing a unique dance piece at various intervals – so watch out for her red dress. LOMOGRAPHY and BLINQ are providing photo booths so you can forget that selfie and to launch SHANGHAI PRIDE week, we’ve teamed up with the 100-strong LGBT crew, who will be presenting activities by our Chill-Out Zone. And for more action you can also get painted at the SHANGHAI ROLLERS War Paint station and join in on their games to win prizes and witness some intense action on skates.
This year we have endeavored to make sure DAFF is as artistic an experience as possible, teaming up with over 20 creative groups – that’s around 80 artists and performers.
LU YANG is projecting a selection of her video works across our 6000m2 dome space and her latest art exhibition ‘Cancer Baby’ is ‘popping-up’ in our indoor Steel Grid.
MELS has created his signature large-scale murals, whilst THE ORANGE BLOWFISH has worked on an optical illusion mural using his unique stencil-cuts – with a focus on squatters?!
Various creative groups including MAD HANDS, DAFTIDEA and 露LOU 露LOU have created installations – you can find yourself inside knitted forms, amongst bird-men and within a disco related to the statue of David.
Then BASEMENT 6 have hidden screenings, the works of seven Chinese filmmakers as part of their TEP video art event.
VITO WU, ANDREW WANG and C14 GALLERY are showcasing photography work and interactive activities in darkrooms.
Our curation of international artists NASIM SEHAT, MORGAN JIANG, HANNA-MARI VANHANEN, ZAZA, ADELE POIRIER & MARINE NG CHEONG SANG invite you into their worlds in the form of paintings, murals and collages.
REDSCALE STUDIOS are bringing a 3D(elirium) experience, so make sure to head to their space. And to catch it ‘in-action’ visitors can head to our ARTIST FACTORY to find LU YANG, THE ORANGE BLOWFISH, SHANGHAI SKETCH JAM, VIRGINIMOSAIC and MORGAN JIANG creating live – and if that’s not enough you can get screen-printing at the IDLEBEATS studio and leave with art (on a bag or t-shirt)!
See all of you guys at the West Bund today and tomorrow for two days full of creativity!
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DAFF – June 7 & 8 // Free entry // from 2.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. / after-party from 10.00 p.m. – 4.00 a.m. on Saturday // West Bund Shanghai Cement Plant – 2350 Longteng Avenue, near Longyao Lu, Xuhui district | 徐汇区龙腾大道2350号, 近龙耀路
By Andreea Dragut