Youth Apartment Exchange Project | forget art

Tag: Youth Apartment Exchange Project

20 三月

by An Xiao on March 19, 2012


A post from Ma Yongfeng seeks a handmade rolling home. (screenshot by the author)

LOS ANGELES — We’re all familiar with sharing sites like Airbnb that help you rent out your room to peers and even strangers. And there are a rising number of sites that let you share home appliances like a Roomba with your neighbors. The sites usually focus on one-way sharing interactions, and usually for the point of utility.


Forget Art, the Beijing-based collective run by Ma Yongfeng, wants to get people talking to each other. Youth Apartment Exchange Project (青年公寓交换) is an initiative to encourage urban dwellers in China not just to share their items, but to exchange them. This could range from a simple exchange, like cell phones, to even trading and sharing apartments.


Previously a BBS, the site now uses a private Sina Weibo feed, tapping into the Twitter-like service’s broad network (some 300 million users) to encourage interaction. Though the feed is relatively new, users are already posting images, using a hashtag to organize. Ma Yongfeng recently posted a handmade truck from the 1970s, and in the BBS version, users traded phones and even homes.


And some, in their search for an exchange, offer a poetic glimpse into hopes and dreams. One young womanposted her search for an RV:

When I was little I especially wanted to have an RV. I would go wherever I wanted to go and carry around my own little home. Wherever I wanted to stay, I could stay for a day. That would be very nice.

Youth Apartment Exchange is a simple social media platform to get people talking. As Ma Yongfeng told me, he wants the site to encourage online users to trade and exchange and meet people outside their immediate circle.

28 九月






《沙发马车》  韩五洲  2011年6月

《蚕蛹》  梁半  2011年7月

《  》  吴玉仁  2011年9月

《青年公寓交换》  王挣  2011年8月

《Tate Modern》  吕智强   2011年5月

《无题》 丁楠  2011年5月

《 》 张小敏  2011年5月     刚听说你要去山上出家了

《下沉》 杨照晨

《临时居所》蔡东东 2012

31 五月

from ArtSlant,Posted by ArtSlant Team on 29-05

forget art is a loose artist collective, based in Beijing, and initiated in 2009 by Chinese artist Ma Yongfeng. They focus on intervention-based work, often with a touch of the absurd, promoting small-scale, subtle disturbances in the fabric of society, which they describe as their “social micro-practice.”

As they work by and large outside of recognised gallery spaces, the creation and value of social space has become an important material for forget art. This keys into the long history of nomadism, with particular attention to the local experience in China and its mass population of migrant workers, as well as the international development of the itinerant white-collar worker. So in forget art’s “situations” ambivalence towards the fixed location comes through, feeding into their approach to production and presentation, and their feeling that sometimes it is necessary to “forget” in order to proceed. As Ma quips “That’s also why we don’t need any space – because we ‘forget art,’ why do we need any space to do this?!”

forget art made its first appearance at the Dragon Fountain Bathhouse in September of last year, with a group show inserting a collection of minimal works into a temporarily détourned bathhouse in Beijing’s Caochangdi Art Village.
The works appeared as small situations expanding on the idea of an artwork, but always with a standpoint somewhere between the object and the situation. The light touches of the pieces infused the rooms without overly asserting their presence or nature, with male and female areas open to all for a few hours only. At the time Ma explained to me that, “An ‘object’ is just this thing [indicating a cup], but if we draw a circle around it, it’s an expanded object, developed, and it becomes a situation. But we don’t want it to become bigger and bigger, we’re just in the middle, in-between.”

This sensibility has laid the groundwork for forget art’s Guerrilla Living Syndrome (created by Ma Yongfeng, Yang Xinguang and Wu Xiaojun) that began last month. Guerrilla Living Syndrome will be a series of projects continuing to attend to these subtle displacements of spatial and social constructions but applying to wider forms of subject matter. As the name suggests, all the sub-projects will build up to a renegotiation of our social relations based on lived space.


A starting point for this new project is the effect of the Hukou system on life in China. A Hukou is a residence permit, which gives you rights in the area it applies to. While not preventing you from moving around, as it did in the past, a Hukou makes things like healthcare more convenient in its area; treatment for serious health issues can only be received in your Hukou.


Although certainly not as draconian as it used to be, the Hukou system represents a strong tie to a “home” area. The psychological and practical issues of accommodation outside of your area become an issue, so the first Guerrilla Living Syndrome project, Youth Apartment Exchange Project (YAEP), picks up on the issues of nomadism seen in the previous projects while providing practical accommodation possibilities for the participants. As Ma says: “People move many times in their lives, and there are also a lot of temporary spaces in the city – Starbucks, hotels, restaurants. We want all spaces to become temporary.”

On a practical level YAEP takes the form of a social website that allows participants to find others who want to exchange residences, and then to share the experience and stories behind the exchange back on the site. The site is not just for apartment swapping though — anything can be shared through this open barter system forget art have constructed.

One effect of this new system is to bring people together, promoting social interaction through exchange. Ma worries about the contemporary tendency of people to live their lives online, weakening real world social bonds. As Japan has its otaku, China has its zhainan (宅男) and shengnu (剩女), recognised as potential problems for the development of society. YAEP addresses this by providing an arena for real-world socialisation through the exchange format, in what Ma characterises as “from Facebook to face-to-face.”

When I put it to Ma that in practice exchanging apartments would perhaps not be easy for many people, he was pragmatic about the issues involved, and also pointed out the part traditional Confucian family values will play on participation. These emphasise your family as your top priority while those outside of it are seen as less important or trustworthy. This background will make exchange with strangers difficult for many people, so to begin with, the project will bring existing friends together to exchange with each other.

These social barriers are what this project seeks to address with its interventions, which forget art see as a route to adjusting society as a whole: “Chinese civil society is not like Western civil society. [Chinese society] can be very cold and selfish… We want to make our projects the starting point to let people accept their value as a citizen, to care about strangers, to care about society, about social responsibility. This is not an art project: it’s a social thing.”

Reflecting the nomadic ways of life, YAEP represents alternative living practices, and although Ma recognises this is “a very utopian way of thinking about society in the future,” nevertheless he feels that taking a lesson from art practice can provide new possibilities in the wider field:


“In the art world we talk about alternative strategies, but we can expand this to everyday life. In the traditional Beijing hutongs we have shared toilets in every alley; it’s more sociable (but maybe less convenient). But modern life says that having a toilet in your house is the only acceptable value, but that way of thinking is very much like what Marcuse addresses in ‘One-Dimensional Man.’ We want this society to have many different values of living, not just one.”


Appropriately, this is a long-term project for forget art which they see lasting ten years (or more), and the results very much depend on circumstances; Ma is happy to leave that aspect of the project open:“China has a very sophisticated society, so the results of this are really unknown.”

Starting from the minimal roots of the Dragon Fountain Bathhouse project, Guerrilla Living Syndrome shows that the approach of forget art will always be subtle but with grand aspirations: “We want to make a very small change – to find that critical point, where we can try and get some more interesting things to appear.”

– Edward Sanderson

(*Images: Kevin Cyr, Camper Bike, 2008.  Han Wuzhou, Sofa Cart, 2011. Courtesy of the artists and forget art.)

2 四月



《游击寄居症!》这个计划的主要目是发起一场关于“替代居住实践”(Alternative Living Practice)和“游击建筑”(Guerrilla Architecture)的社会行动和社会实践,它针对的是中国快速发展的城市中关于居住价值观的问题,对约定俗成的观念采取一种不信任的和不合作的态度,并通过每个参与者独特的方式诠释出一种具有游击性的、灵活性的和以时间为基准的(Time-based)居住实践的可能性。






















组织:forget art









Guerrilla Living Syndrome!


The project “Guerrilla Living Syndrome!” is mainly designed to launch a kind of social action and social practice on “Alternative Living Practice” and “Guerrilla Architecture”, focusing on issues of the living value in fast-developing cities in China, taking a kind of suspicious and uncooperative attitude to the conventionalized social attitudes, while creating various kinds of possibilities of guerrilla, flexible and time-based living practice through each participant’s own style.


We think that today everyone is a sojourner! So we will examine the general experience on individual migration and city wandering, more importantly, we want to get each participant involved in a kind of social “Micro Practice” through this guerrilla and temporary experience, while presenting each participant’s distinctive attitude and value in various forms.


Projects included:


Youth Apartment Exchange Project


We think that all residences in the world are temporary. So, young people, why not change your tedious and dull lifestyle, sharing information through our new-launched website, changing your residence in different cities or different district in the same city freely and temporarily, or even change your identity, and thus getting endless possibilities in our life?


Pls visit our website

Sina Micro Group


Regulation-violating Practice


This unit is to let artists and other participants create their own “alternative” guerrilla architecture or mobile living modes and put them into effect in simple and flexible ways.


Society as Theatre


This unit emphasizes getting artists and other participants involved in the complicated theatre of the society through individual actions and events, focusing on social issues and hot topics, while keeping following-up with a kind of dark humor.


Initiated by Ma Yongfeng, Yang Xinguang, Wu Xiaojun

Organized by forget art

Duration: May 16, 2011- May 16, 2012  Youth Apartment Exchange Project will last forever since May 16, 2011, everyone is allowed to register and participate.

Location: Decided by participant, will be informed contingently

Live Broadcasting by Sina Micro Blog


Participants: Wen Jie,Yang Xinguang, Sun Yuan+Peng Yu, Li Wei,Wu Yuren, Ren Bo, Shi Wanwan, Han Wuzhou, Lu Zhengyuan, Ma Yongfeng,  Gao Feng, Yu Bogong, Liang Ban, Yang Jian, Lv zhiqiang, Shen Boliang, Ding Nan, Wang Zheng, Zhang Xiaomin, Yang Zhaochen……..