The Culture of Counterfeit

Vibrating panties, Nendo's chopsticks, ancient brewers and more in our look at the web this week

Shanzhai refers to the massive counterfeit market in China, encompassing everything from imitation smartphones and sneakers to bootleg shampoo and Coca-Cola. With the sustained rise in consumer culture in China, along with the confluence of globalization and the internet, Shanzhai has recently begun to transcend commerce into its own culture—and even a form of art. In Chinese culture, copying is considered a form of endearing admiration of one’s work as this in-depth piece points out. Despite its roots in commerce, the pirate practice continues to blur lines as counterfeit-themed artists like Shanzai Biennial go mainstream at major galleries and art fairs, and blatantly bootlegged apparel becomes high fashion, making Shanzhai a force to be recognized and considered in a global context.