EN MASSE co-directors Jason Botkin and Rupert Bottenberg spent two glorious weeks in China recently (fall 2013)!

The first week saw the EM project acting as cultural embassadors to Montreal/Canada, as a part the “China Art Tour” organized by ArtContraste, an initiative building bridges in the arts between Canada and China. The week was split between Shanghai and Beijing; a blitz of meetings, site scouting, and more incredible food than you could shake a stick at, towards a major fall 2014 production … STAY TUNED!

ArtContraste director Travis Joern proved a magisterial guide to China at every level, from deep intergovernmental politics to navigating art districts to wise choices regarding sizzling street food. Countless name cards were exchanged and galleries visited (notably Martin Kemble’s Art Labor Gallery, Neochaedge, Idle Beats, and a number of incredible spots in Caochangdi, the Beijing art district housing Ai Weiwei’s creative compound).

The notoriously off-the-charts smog in Beijing cleared away long enough for one half-day of touristy stuff — the Confucius Temple and Lama Monastery, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

The second week saw the guys icing their cake, brushes in hand, repping EN MASSE with a pair of jams.

The first production winds its way up the stairwell to the second floor of Story Tavern on Laowai Jie (“foreigner street”).

The second, executed at a dusty furniture factory on the outskirts of Shanghai, was hardly dry before it was installed as a backdrop to the cash at the Converse store in iAPM mall on HuaiHai Road, in the heart of Shanghai. That one featured EM’s first Chinese draftee, Deviljax, whose intricate mash-up mask became the focal element of the piece.

A two-week whirlwind of insights and contacts, planting promising seeds for a triumphant return in the coming year!