Shi Jin

b. 1976, Henan, China


Jin Shi, Small Business (Karaoke No. 3), 2009
Jin Shi, Small Business (Karaoke No. 3), 2009


Jin Shi's Small Business Karaoke No. 3 is a two-third scale reproduction of a mobile business kiosk, the diminutive version of an already displaced livelihood. The work points to the fact that “little people" make ends meet by moving through space without actually owning any. The karaoke is fully functional – visitors are encouraged to adjust their own bodies to the slightly smaller scale of this local business in a global economy by singing along to Chinese pop music, or local music added by curators and gallery staff at the exhibiting venue. The project is one of a series of commercial urban environments made to emphasize the spatial and economic “half lives" of the urban poor in China's mega-metropolises.

The work reveals a space for the individual to act or play, and yet it remains critically ambiguous. Is this space of exception not also both formed and governed by the forces on whose margins it exists?