Chen Qiufan has been selected by Château de Lavigny’s Writer’s Residency programme through open call, and will stay there from August 2-October 24, 2022, with the support of Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council. One-Way Street Journal has contributed to the selection process.
About the Residency
Château de Lavigny was founded by Jane Ledig-Rowohlt, and over the past 20 years has been able to host more than 600 poets, novelists and writers, working in all forms and genres. Work produced at the Chateau de Lavigny has enriched the world of international writing, as well as highlighting the role Switzerland plays as a centre of creativity and literature.
About Chen Qiufan
Chen Qiufan (a.k.a. Stanley Chan) is a representative Chinese speculative fiction author, translator, creative producer and curator. He was born in Shantou, Guangdong and studied in Peking University on Chinese Literature and Film Arts. He is honorary president of the Chinese Science Fiction Writers Association, and has a seat on the Xprize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council.
Qiufan started his writing career since 1997 and published over 100 stories and 9 books so far. His works have been translated into many languages and received multiple domestic and international awards including Chinese Nebula Awards, Galaxy Awards, World F&SF Translation Award, and Mao Dun Literature Newcomer Award. His works include the novel Waste Tide (Locus Best New Novel Finalist, Best Sci-fi of the year on The Guardian) and The Algorithms for Life (Best Fiction of the year on Asian Weekly), co-authored with Kai-Fu Lee on AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future (Best Book of the Year on Amazon, Financial Times and New York Times).
He previously worked for Google and Baidu for over a decade. Also as the former Vice President of Noitom, a technology start-up that focuses on the fields of motion capture and virtual reality. All of those experience triggered his reflexive thinking and writing on topics as cybernetic society, inequality and ethics of AI era, digital labor and relationship, climate change and environmental issues, etc. He currently lives in Shanghai.
“As a science fiction writer, the global epidemic that broke out in early 2020 made me feel that reality is often more bizarre than fiction. Fear, anger, anxiety, and hatred joined the virus to crush everyone’s spiritual world and isolated them from the larger community. I had to force myself to pull my attention away from the rumor-filled and hostile social networks and turn to reading and writing, hoping to draw energy and inspiration from the more ancient and distant wisdom of the East, which I could turn into creative works to soothe more hearts. But in this process, I realized that individual strength alone was not enough. We need to connect more wise, kind and creative minds to achieve spiritual transcendence. I have given over a hundred online talks, panel discussions and conversations of various kinds, reaching students, scholars, entrepreneurs, activists, and opinion leaders from all over the world. We encourage and empower each other from the virtual exchange, but I know it’s not enough. I long to connect more deeply with some of the greatest and free souls in the traditional physical world, which I believe is far more challenging, resonant, and inspiring than pixels and bits can ever be. So I applied for this residency project in hopes of telling stories that would stand the test of time amidst the beauty of the Alps and Lake Geneva in the legendary Château de Lavigny.
My past works have dealt with issues such as e-waste and environmental issues, climate change, carbon neutrality, AI, preservation of minority cultures, structural injustice of globalization, etc. In the past twenty years of writing, I have felt deeply the serious exploitation and damage of accelerationism to the human mind and the entire ecology of the planet. I will be so grateful to have this precious opportunity to discuss and collide with writers from all over the world and turn their cultures and ideas into inspiration and materials for my work. I will also visit local cultural institutions and organizations to interact with local people, to understand the value and significance of local culture and history to global issues. In this project “Techno-Shamanism”, through speculative fiction, I hope to rediscover and reconnect with ancient Eastern philosophies (Taoism and Buddhism, and shamanism in a broader sense), and to explore a new imaginative narrative of the issues in the contemporary technological society, to transcend the pitfalls of dualism and late capitalism, and to seek the possibility of an ecological civilization in which human beings co-live in harmony with other species and develop sustainably.”