Meanwhile, two types of cities are emerging as new centers of art and cultural creation: First, the new urban giants of the developing world such as Bangkok, Shanghai and Mumbai, but also Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio, and Buenos Aires, Johannesburg and Dakar. As they grow and mutate, these cities are open and messy enough to provide artists with interstitial spaces they can takeover and make their own. Then, smaller cities such as Philadelphia, Zurich, Barcelona or Goa are also becoming increasingly attractive to artists. They often offer lower rents, wider space and a better quality of life. Thanks to the relative democratization of communication and transportation, creative people can now really be in touch with the rest of the world while living in places better suited to their budget and aspirations.
According to Adam Stokes, an American DJ living in Shanghai who’s emailed us through the blog: “Shanghai is exciting and slutty again, just like the old days. Even as an outsider, you can observe a lot of the interesting things happening in the city. Foreigners have a lot of freedom to make it up as we go along, and while we’ll never win in the end, we can misbehave or take opportunities to try all sorts of things we’d need to haplessly intern for back home. It’s cheap enough to make bad choices too, so if you wind up broke, you won’t starve.”
However all of these cities are also on a global track of urban transformation and integration into the established art scene. The creative industry is well on its way to connecting these new spaces and transforming them into expensive and exclusive zones of networking.