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ESSAYS

In Close Quarters

BY THOMAS MOUNA

Seeking Beijing’s creative clusters in traditional hutongs

Interior view of Institute for Provocation (IFP) in Beijing. Courtesy IFP. 

If you are in the center of Beijing and find yourself in an inconveniently narrow alleyway, flanked by low, gray-colored, traditional-style buildings, then you are in a hutong. These special alleyways are a uniquely Beijing phenomenon, and so then are the art spaces within them. On talking to those behind some of these art spaces I discovered that there is no overriding reason for deciding on a hutong location…

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