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Artists Make New York

Shanzhai Lyric

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Video: Noel Woodford

"I come to Canal Street for the corruption."

That’s how a visitor to Shanzhai Lyric's Canal Street space once described the area, notorious as New York's counterfeit epicenter. But in their research on Canal Street, the Greater New York artists problematize where the real corruption lies.

“The concept of shanzhai reframes property as something that should be shared and innovated upon, as opposed to something that should be hoarded and protected through violence…it redirects the finger at who the real thieves are, which in this case are those who are hoarding all the resources and property of the city.”

For In Incomplete Poem, the collective took inspiration from the global impact of "shanzhai", or counterfeit, t-shirts made in China: “With devoted irreverence, shanzhai poems highlight the arbitrary line between real and fake—designed to exploit and criminalize the many for the gain of the few.”

In our series, Artists Make New York, we're exploring the city through the eyes of the artists that love it.