Shanzhai, Remix culture?

After watching this week’s video, the first phrase came to my mind is “Shanzhai”, a prevalent culture phenomenon in China. There is no clear definition of Shanzhai. But one thing for sure, people who made shanzhai products “borrow” heavily from well-known brands.  They gave their products similiar names to the original products and sell at an amazingly low prices. This phenomenon could also be found in movie industry, music industry and other creative industries. I just wanna use this short video to present a brief introduction to shanzhai. It’s closely related to the western “kitsch culture”. Now more and more scholars realized the value of kistch culture, I just think that maybe there is also a reason for shanzhai to exist.

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About tinamomo

I am a simple person who enjoys simple things~
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11 Responses to Shanzhai, Remix culture?

  1. I was just reading something about the YSL knock-offs that are so good, it’s impossible to tell the difference between the fake and the original — but strangely, the fake is almost as high-priced as the original!

    But wait … your dancing Superman and Spiderwoman are from India, not China! 🙂

    • tinamomo says:

      I just wanna illustrate that shanzhai is not an unique cultural phenomenon in China. it’s closely related to mass production, i think that a Bollywood movie would make a good example~~

  2. Xuerui says:

    I really like your video. It is entertaining and well exhibited the culture of “Shan Zhai”. Like you asked, I kept wondering if “Shan Zhai” is a culture of remix. To me, it is nothing more than imitation and false corn but it is a culture which transfers some message to the audience. But since I compared it to the art of “Girl Talk”, I am not sure yet. It seems that the creators both borrow ideas from original and make new stuff. Then, I thought of the aim of “Shan Zhai”. People created “Shan Zhai” are trying to sell with the fluke mind that the audience would not find the difference between the fake and original or increase sale under the reputation of original brands.

  3. luckymaggie says:

    I love your remix video, the first part is really gorgeous and the motto you mentioned “nothing is uncopyable” is interesting. I think for ordinary people, they like Shanzhai products that imitate luxury maybe due to the reason that they want to act like celebrities. The fake one just makes an illusion that “I’m the same as XXX” in that fantastic commercial, though the item is not the original version. Another thing is, I think Shanzhai product is not merely the silly reproduction of the original object or idea. More than copy things directly, the minor change is kind of “creation”, which is sort of grassroot culture, maybe.

  4. Sijia says:

    I love your music and the motto you’ve created for the Shanzhai culture. I don’t know if it’s a good thing, though, that knock-offs are so popular in China (and maybe also in other parts of the world). On one hand, it is great to have some cheap luxury; On the other hand you will just be pissed off when you actually bought the genuin one. In this case, you just don’t get the best of both world, I guess.

  5. Christina Locke says:

    I was interested, too, in whether some of these copies are parodies or imitations. I think the difference would be that parodies are making a commentary on the original and imitations want to be similar to the original. In America we tend to use this type of remix more for parody or social commentary, I think. This video also illustrates the prevalance of American culture and status symbols throughout the rest of the world.

  6. Carol says:

    Your video makes me think about how to define the differences between “piracy” and “creative remix.” There are some photos in your video that I will interpret it as “piracy” instead of “remix” such as “the fake KFC,” “the fake Starbucks,” and “the fake Mac Donald’s.” I think there are several things I will look at when defining “what is remix or what is piracy”: first, whether the product/ movie/ picture/ trademark are given in a new “statement” or “meaning” to criticize or comment on the original one (i.e. culture jamming). Second, whether the product/ movie/ picture/ trademark borrowed the traits of the original one just to have more attention or more sale rates (i.e. PumaHuma in your video).

  7. chentingchen says:

    Love your video!! It is brilliant to use Shanzhai as the role of video since the culture of it is a typical remix example.
    One of the reasons that piracy is forbidden is that it jeopardizes the interest of originators. However, when case is like what you showed in the video, how should we define it? When the piracy uses similar but obviously different logo, when the piracy position itself in different level of target market, can we still use copyright law to punish it? Or does it truely create another brand?

  8. Pingback: Comments for blog 10 « Luckymaggie's Blog

  9. Pingback: Comments for blog 10 « Luckymaggie's Blog

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