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En Liang Khong

Freelance writer / Assistant editor, openDemocracy

Location icon United Kingdom

I am currently assistant editor at openDemocracy, in London, where I lead on editorial partnerships, core commissioning, social media and video strategy.

My essays and reviews regularly appear in the Financial Times and Frieze magazine. I have also written for the New Statesman, Prospect, the LA Review of Books, 1843 and the New Inquiry. I focus on art and politics, and the spaces in which they intersect.

Pitch me: [email protected]
Commission me: [email protected]

Portfolio

2016

The Two-Sided Lake (Liverpool University Press, 2016)
07/04/2016
All Under Heaven

Essay on British-Chinese identity published in the 2016 Liverpool Biennial/Liverpool University Press book "The Two-Sided Lake". Click to buy.

1843
06/20/2016
Here be dragons

In his mission to render the history of global capitalism as a sequence of shimmering, troubled techno-vistas, the artist Gordon Cheung has repeatedly, even obsessively, pushed the idea of what a painting can be. He begins with cascades of stock listings taken from the Financial Times, which he coats in varnish and lays out on canvas.

Frieze
04/23/2016
Here We Are

What does ‘Chinese’ mean as an artistic category in Britain today?

Frieze
02/13/2016
Light Source

A flock of pigeons nests in the rafters of an empty factory. Suddenly, the strip lighting is flicked on, the camera tilts and the birds burst apart in a frenzy at the neon glare.

2015

openDemocracy
11/01/2015
Hong Kong's angry young millennials: an interview with Joshua Wong

The 19-year-old is speaking to me shortly before delivering a speech to a packed chamber at the Oxford Union, the latest stop on his international speaking circuit. It's a million miles away from what he faces back home in Hong Kong. "Now we are paying the price with political prosecutions," Wong tells me.

2014

Los Angeles Review of Books
09/10/2014
Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

As white pop stars like Taylor Swift continue their excursions into the fantasy of racial drag, the backlash fails to recognize the deeper structural inequity from which such music emerges. It also ceases to appreciate how cultural appropriation may be liberatory.

openDemocracy
05/22/2014
The limits of radical publishing

Publishing house Lawrence & Wishart's demand that the Marxists Internet Archive remove its digitised copy of the Marx-Engels Collected Works exposes all the contradictions of 'radical publishing' in the internet era With the recent publication of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, many have been lining up to declare that we are all Marxists now.

openDemocracy
04/21/2014
China's leftover women: an interview with Leta Hong Fincher

Women's emancipation, within socialist theory and the policies of the ruling Communist parties, has always been intertwined with the revolutionary project, and has come to mean the mobilization of women into the labour force. But in practice the Communist record has been a protracted one of intermittent progress.

Frieze
03/20/2014
Heritage Inc.

Beijing's identity is always a mirage, its landscape perpetually enveloped by the vapour of its smog-filled air. In this city - the very existence of the smog a symbol of China's dynamism and its determination to be modern - dangerous reminders of the past are reduced to ghosts and ruins, haunting the city but powerless in reality.

Newstatesman
02/18/2014
Sun Xun at the Hayward Gallery: the communist imagination under capitalism

Capitalism is a relatively new process in China. Although the reform-era economy is deeply marked by Chinese characteristics, it is nevertheless premised on production methods developed in Britain two centuries ago. Much ink has been spent in telling the story of the Chinese artistic avant-garde as it emerged, deeply shaken, from the excesses of the Maoist era.

openDemocracy
01/13/2014
After the party: an interview with Wang Hui

As a leftist and writer living in Beijing for the past four months, the ways in which the capital is haunted by its Maoist ghosts have fascinated me. From Cultural Revolution-themed restaurants to evenings of revolutionary opera, the memory of the Revolution is relegated to a highly commodified pop culture and depoliticized nostalgia.

openDemocracy
01/06/2014
An artist's duty: an interview with Ai Weiwei

Still denied his passport after nearly three years, Ai Weiwei exists in a strange purgatory. In this exclusive openDemocracy interview, the dissident Chinese artist speaks truth to power, as China's exploitative processes of development demand great responsibility from the nation's intellectual and artistic currents. Interview.

2013

openDemocracy
08/26/2013
Wild ghosts: Bo Xilai on trial

The trial of the disgraced Chinese politician is hurtling towards its predictable conclusion. But a spectre still haunts the Party, and all those at play in China's political life. It is the spectre of the Cultural Revolution. The demons are dancing for Bo Xilai.

The New Inquiry
04/24/2013
Power Pop

Given China's influence in the global economy, where is the Chinese Psy? In October 2012, U.K. producer Terror Danjah, the so-called Godfather of Grime, made his first tour of China. Grime emerged as an East London phenomenon at the turn of the millennium, heavily propagated by a pirate-radio underground that was broadcasting increasingly aggressive strains of bass music.

New Statesman
04/04/2013
The art of copying

Dame Jane Goodall’s use of Wikipedia is part of a more decisive shift in authorial culture.

New Statesman
03/04/2013
Writing for the people?

Last year the controversial Chinese novelist Mo Yan, in a Stockholm press conference before receiving the Nobel prize for literature, compared censorship to airport security checks. I argued at the time that the Nobel laureate's stance on the necessity of censorship was unforgivable.

Gramophone
02/04/2013
Session report: Gerhardt records Britten

"Taking Mstislav Rostropovich’s interpretation as a guideline is a big mistake": I interviewed cellist Alban Gerhardt about his new recording of Britten’s Cello Symphony for Gramophone magazine’s February 2013 issue

2012

The Daily Telegraph
12/14/2012
Nobel winner Mo Yan and China's cultural amnesia

"Why is modern China lacking in great writers?" asked the Chinese author Murong Xuecun last year, in a speech that was censored in China, but later spread across the internet. "Because great writers are castrated while still in the nursery."

New Statesman
09/28/2012
Eastern promise

The Hayward’s “Art of Change: New Directions from China” captures a pivotal moment in the country’s art scene.

New Statesman
07/31/2012
Weaving a World

Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi talks about how creative translation can be a powerful force for dialogue.

New Statesman
07/17/2012
The miners' hymns

Ed Miliband’s appearance at The Durham Miners’ Gala tapped into a powerful seam of social solidarity.

The Daily Telegraph
07/16/2012
Why a typewriter is the ultimate hipster accessory

Last year Godrej and Boyce, the last company still manufacturing typewriters, closed their Mumbai factory. The accompanying flood of articles bemoaning the typewriter's death nearly all ran along the same lines - the computer "encourages self-indulgence, the very worst literary sin", lamented Paul Bailey and in a piece for Salon Jessie Schiewe (who describes herself as "a modern day Luddite, who doesn't support digital books") hoped for a "typewriter renaissance".

New Statesman
07/12/2012
The death of the concert hall

This Saturday I will be joining 100 musicians in Peckham Rye Multi-Storey Car Park to perform the American composer John Adams's 20th-century minimalist masterpiece, Harmonielehre.

The Daily Telegraph
01/06/2012
András Schiff and Christiane Iven, Wigmore Hall, review

András Schiff's Lieder partnerships always make for intriguing propositions. That was clearly the draw on Thursday night as the legendary Hungarian-born pianist walked out onto the Wigmore stage with the German soprano Christiane Iven, an artist who does not yet hold significant cachet among London audiences.

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