Poetics of Theft

Shanzhai Lyric and Silvia Bombardini

October 13, 2022, 6:30-8:30pm
Géza, 306 Maujer

This reading and publication launch organized by New York-based duo Shanzhai Lyric departs from their ongoing archive of garments featuring poetics fragments and encompasses their recent research into gendered theft and counterfeit goods.

Examining the poetics of theft, Shanzhai Lyric’s reading celebrates a new publication comprising a watery poem composed from the siren call of found shanzhai lyrics alongside a newly commissioned essay by UK-based feminist shoplifting theorist Silvia Bombardini.

This reading is organized in the framework of SIREN (some poetics), a group exhibition and a poetics devoted to technologies of myth and mouth, earth and alarm, gender and language.

Free and open to the public. We do encourage prior registration.

Image: Promotional photo from Sensormatic premier Anti-Theft device purveyor.

About the speakers

Shanzhai Lyric is a body of research focused on radical logistics and linguistics through the prism of technological aberration and non-official cultures.

The project takes inspiration from the experimental English found on shanzhai t-shirts made in China and that proliferate 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 an ever-growing archive of poetry-garments, Shanzhai Lyric explores the potential of mis-translation and nonsense as utopian world-making (breaking). Their work has taken the form of poetry-lectures, essays, and installations.

Silvia Bombardini is a London-based writer and occasional film curator, a PhD researcher at Goldsmiths University, and an Associate Lecturer. She teaches in the Fashion and Design Product departments at the RCA, Contextual and Theoretical Studies at LCC, and Fashion Journalism at LCF. Silvia’s PhD focuses on shoplifting as a feminist practice, and is part of the ERC-funded Politics of Patents (POP): Re-imagining citizenship via clothing inventions 1820-2020 research project in Goldsmiths’ Visual Sociology department. Her interests include all forms of subversive consumer behaviour –looting, stealing and faking– from the 1946 Nylon riots to the Black Friday hordes of today.

A close reading (and speculation) on the types of clothes shoplifters wore: “The Shoplifter’s Clothes”

A thought experiment with counterfeit goods, looking into their sub-versive potential: “Luxury for the Many: Politics and Virtues of the Knockoff”