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Public Sphere

Shu Hu

Shu Hu is an artist from Chongqing, China. His work investigated the relationship between the access to information and power, class and capital, and focused on the conflict between private information and the public sphere. His artworks have been displayed in the UK, Italy, Nepal and China.

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Public Sphere

I am an international artist who grew up in a socialist country and received postgraduate education in a capitalist country. When I came to Britain, I was quite interested in the differences between Britain and China, especially on the issue of information. Because I gradually found that in the context of Postcolonialism, under the different background of political system, ideology and historical culture, Hesperian and Oriental were receiving and expressing different information concurrently. 

As a member of ordinary people, I am sensitive to the fact that the people around me are being brainwashed by the media and consumerism. I am also endlessly suffering from the intrusion of overwhelmingly commercial information and political banners in the public space. Each piece of commercial information in public space seems to be aimed at the public. I was not into this feeling as I felt I was terribly offended. I would like to protest the climate that the target audience of information in public space can only be the public. 

My works focus on investigating the methods of breaking the universality of information in public space from the three senses of vision, smell and hearing.

‘It’s xxx kms away from my home.’ (1) performance — All places are: 1. The Square Near My Home 2. Niujiaotuo Station 3. Niujiaotuo Underpass 4. The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University 5. Chongqing People’s Auditorium 6. Chongqing Art Museum

In general, information in a public space is universal to a majority of people. Taking Chongqing Art Museum as the destination, I started from my home and held up six signs printed with 'It's xxx kms away from my home' in five selected public places on the way. 

In addition, the city Chongqing has a high-density and high-precision surveillance system. In order to avoid possible scrutiny and arrest, I wore a hat and mask to conceal my biometric features in every other public place except the square near my home.


Performance Photographs


Viriable size
It’s 0.76 kms away from my home. — Place: the Square Near My Home
It’s 7.40 kms away from my home. — Place: Niujiaotuo Underpass
It’s 7.60 kms away from my home. — Place: Niujiaotuo Station
It’s 8.80 kms away from my home. — Place: The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical Uni.
It’s 10.00 kms away from my home. — Place: Chongqing People’s Auditorium
It’s 12.80 kms away from my home. — Place: Chongqing Art Museum

I want to create a virtual world, a great and unalienated scenes in the spiritual space that belongs to human beings. I just used an App called 3D Scanner to scan the selected spaces and then imported the files into C4D on my Mac for editing and adding my own words ‘It’s xxx kms away from my home.’

This work tried to bring private information into the public space and use private information to impact the public domain. Through this work, I implanted the distance information that belongs to me into the public physical space. It actively tested the boundaries between the private and the public and reminded people to think about the concept of the public and the private.




30 x 28 x 18
The Red Generators 1/4 — Store: QINYUAN Bakery
The Red Generators 2/4 — Store: FUHAO Men's Wear
The Red Generators 3/4 — Store: HUANJI YOUHUI
The Red Generators 4/4 — Store: SUYISUER

In 2013, the Chongqing Municipal Government in China promulgated ‘the Measures for the Prevention and Control of Environmental Noise Pollution in Chongqing’. However, nowadays, in Chongqing urban areas, some businesses still keep playing commercial broadcast advertisements via amplifier in the doorway of the stores that exceed the specified decibel values. 

‘The goods are on sale!'

'There is a 50% discount on the whole merchandise! Welcome to shop!’

I often wake up in the morning with these repeated noises during epidemic. But one day when I woke up, it was very quiet outside the window. When I drew back the curtains, I found that the whole street was out of power and only a few generators were running in a low voice. As a result, I fell in love with blackouts and generators. Because, once there is a generator, it means that the shop is out of power, and the loud noise would not emerge.

On my iPad, I drew four stores that were constantly hawking. I added a generator to the door of each store to express my personal wish that they would always be in power cut. 


Digital drawing


Variable size
The King of Odour1/3 — Place: Lianglukou Station
The King of Odour 2/3 — Place: Food Court
The King of Odour 3/3 — Place: Aroma Street

In addition to sight and hearing, smell can also transmit information, though in western culture, smell is considered as one of the ‘lower-senses’(Laura Estrada Prada).

When I walk in the street, I can often smell something coming from the food store or the perfumery, which can be regarded as a case where the smell invisibly communicates commercial information like saying ‘We’re open! Welcome to buy! ’

I would like to start an artwork to protest this kind of information from the perspective of smell. However, olfactory art works are not very effective in recording olfactory experiences. Therefore, I employed perfume to develop my work as perfume can not only create ideal identities in social constructs but also no need to collected actual smell from bodies. 

I hung my favourite mini pperfume bottles under the crown of China‘s ancient emperor’s curtain and wore this crown in spaces filled with odours. Mini perfume bottles could prevent me from smelling something I do not like. Through this work, I would like to performance with saying ‘I am the king of my life. I would not to be forced to smell anything.’


Performance Photographs


Variable size