Interview with Professor Lu Pinjing, the head of the Cultural Rural Construction Studio

from: time:

Prof. Lu Pinjing

Member of the Standing Committee of CAFA Party Committee, Deputy President,
and the head of VAII Cultural Rural Construction Studio of CAFA. His main social part-time jobs includes Director of the Architectural Art Committee of China Artists Association,  Member of the Urban Design Expert Committee of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and Member of the Higher Education Steering Subcommittee for the  Discipline of Architecture of the Ministry of Education.

Interviewed: Lu Pinjing (Standing Committee Member, Deputy President of CAFA, and the head of VAII Cultural Rural Construction Studio)
Interviewer: Dong Huiping
Time: October 31, 2019
Location: Central Academy of Fine Arts

VAII: Hello, President Lu! As the person in charge of VAII Cultural Rural Construction Studio of CAFA, can you talk about the latest work plan and the results of the studio?

Lu Pinjing
: We are currently preparing for the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum next February, and this is also the result of our research on the Chinese countryside in cooperation with Koolhaas three years ago. The research is actually divided into three phases and was carried out in three respective years. The first year we carried out the subject research in graduate teaching. The second year we set up a senior research class on the subject. And for the third year we conducted the subject research in the undergraduate teaching. We have implanted the three different levels of talent training models into this research. Since we do not have specific researchers, we can only relate to teaching and put the undergraduates, graduates and the senior research class students into organizing, doing the teaching in a general research direction. We hope to better integrate the research with the teaching and to form results through teaching. What we are doing is a preview of the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. At present, both the undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students are all involved in the research. So for the research, there are tangible results, exhibitions and its related derivatives, and  intangible results, the cultivation of the students.

Group photo of the Architecture School “Rural Construction Senior Research Class” of  CAFA, a  2019 Artists cultivation Grant Program funded by China National Arts Fund

Sketch of the “Countryside, The Future” exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 2020

Yubulu Village Reconstruction Project

VAII: What do you think should be the principles and connotation of the cultural rural construction  in China''s rapid economic development today?

Lu Pinjing: The current research on rural construction has many perspectives, including agriculture, economics, sociology, high-tech, etc., and we hope to rely on CAFA’s platform to proceed the research from the perspective of humanities and arts. We have obvious advantages in the field of humanities and arts, as we have better research resources and talented personnels. The rural construction that we participate is in combination with our majors such as architecture, planning, and design. We can combine the tangible construction with the intangible, the physical and spatial construction with non-physical cultural and artistic, covering both the current protection and the future development. For example, while helping the rural areas to alleviate poverty and gain more economic income, we also focus on a long-term sustainable rural thriving. While preserving the traditional culture of the countryside, we hope to bring it into a good development of culture, education and people’s morale. This is the path to a healthy and sustainable rural development.

VAII: Have you encountered any difficulties during the project of cultural rural construction? How did you solve it?

Lu Pinjing
: Our cultural rural construction focuses on a better preservation of the excellent rural traditional culture, and it is difficult for the villagers to understand us. What we think is amazing is something they have got accustomed to. This difference in concepts has brought about difficulties in many aspects of work that we have to work hard on. For example, ICH programs of various types in a village may seem just a lively activity for the festival celebrations in villagers’ eyes. Amazing as the outsiders feel, such activities do not bring any financial benefit or solve the actual problems for the villagers. To make the conclusion, to persuade villagers to act on protecting and inheriting their excellent traditional culture and to strengthen their cultural self-confidence needs more than a slogan, but also actual actions in help. For example, we set up a Stage in the village with the funds granted by China National Arts Fund, and it turned out to be probably the only one stage of Bouyei ethnic minority group in the county or even in the province. The villagers surely feel proud and will naturally use the stage more and sing on it more. They could sense the importance attached to their traditional culture by the outside society. Meanwhile, this approach can also turn the cultural resources into the economic sources.

National Rural Construction Research Talent Cultivation——a  2019 Artists cultivation Grant project funded by China National Arts Fund

The stage model in Banwan Village

Banwan Reconstruction Project

Group photo of guests of “Exchanging Seminar on Rural Thriving & Folk Art —- Poverty Alleviation with ICH ? Countryside Reviving” and villagers

VAII: As the head of VAII Cultural Rural Construction Studio of CAFA, the project you are conducting will probably become the wind arrow of the cultural rural construction nationwide. What do you expect for the future national rural construction?

Lu Pinjing: My expectation is that with the support of CAFA VAII, we could sort out and summarize what we have already done and draw some conclusions on the methods, theories, and results of rural construction from the perspective of culture and art.

An Ordinary Village——the Reconstruction Program of Guoyuan Village of Aiyuan Town



Chief Editor / Dong Huiping
Text/ Luan Ning
Layout Editor / Zhang Yueyan
Photo Source : CAFA VAII Cultural Rural Construction Studio