Opening Reception: October 24, 2019, 6-8PM; Poetry-lecture begins at 6:30PM

Bringing together an ever-evolving archive of shanzhai (counterfeit) garments, AIL PALACES ARETEMPORARY HALACES: A Shanzhai Lyric imagines bootleg t-shirt text as an embodied poem to consider models of collective creation and shared authorship. Shanzhai garments, created largely by Chinese manufacturers, feature phrases that offer profound, irreverent, and humorous reflections on contemporary life. The installation includes an experimental reading apparatus and meeting place, where visitors are invited to try on shanzhai shirts and look through related reading materials. AIL PALACES ARETEMPORARY HALACES considers how nonsense and poetic estrangement make space for hybrid, liminal, and illegible futures. Organized by itinerant research platform Display Distribute.


Publication Launch of common circular and Reading: November 23, 4PM


common circular is a community newspaper with “no beginning and no end” published sporadically by common room since 2008, and distributed from the back lobby of 465 Grand street, which sits atop the Herman Jessor archives. Along with Abraham E. Kazan, president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Jessor was the driving force behind the cooperative housing movement in New York City. Finding common threads between this historical backdrop and the contemporary contexts from which shanzhai-lyric bearing garments emerge, this guest-edited edition of the circular ruminates on themes of collective labor and authorship, alternative land-use, and the flattening of linguistic landscapes inherent to processes of assimilation and gentrification. The reading will move through the Shanzhai Lyric installation and constellate outwards into the neighborhood.

With contributions and performances by Yuchen Chang, David Xu Borgonjon, Edwin Torres, Devin Kenny, Manuel Arturo Abreu and more. Published by common room.


Shanzhai Lyric is a poetic research and roving archival unit under the helm of Display Distribute focusing on radical logistics and linguistics through the prism of technological aberration and nonofficial cultures. Carried out by Ming Lin and Alexandra Tatarsky, the project takes inspiration from the experimental English of shanzhai t-shirts made in China and proliferating across the globe to examine how the language of counterfeit uses mimicry, hybridity, and permutation to both revel in and reveal the artifice of global hierarchies. Through poetry-talks, publishing, installation, and an ever-growing archive, Shanzhai Lyric investigates how shanzhai garments challenge standard English, destabilizing normative assumptions to reflect the distortions and nonsense of contemporary life. Follow the project on Instagram at @shanzhai_lyric

Display Distribute is an itinerant artistic research platform, feral distribution service, now and again exhibition space, and sometimes shop initiated in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

common room is an architectural practice with a publishing imprint, and an exhibition space. It is collaborative platform based in New York City and Brussels. common room is comprised of architects Lars Fischer, Maria Ibañez and Todd Rouhe; Rachel Himmelfarb; architectural researcher Kim Förster; and graphic designer Geoff Han.


AIL PALACES ARETEMPORARY HALACES: A Shanzhai Lyric is supported in part by a generous grant from the Avery Arts Foundation. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The 2019-2020 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and support from the New York State Council on the arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Image: Photo by Ann Woo. Courtesy Display Distribute.