What we do
88 Bar (八八吧, pronounced bābāba in Mandarin) is a group blog about tech, media and design in the Great China region. Our “bar” is a virtual space for our writers to come together and explore ideas as a group. While we don’t have a fixed editorial mandate, we have covered several topics regularly over the years:
Drop us a line if you’re interested in writing for us.
Jason has worked as an interaction designer, illustrator and researcher. Originally from Hong Kong, he has also lived in Canada, the US and Spain. He’s writing a graphic novel in his spare time.
Tricia observes how technology makes us human. Her ethnographic research follows youth and migrants as they process information and desire, remaking cities and rural areas.
Jin Ge aka Jingle is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and NGO organizer based in Shanghai. Jin does sociological research and produces multi-media content on the subjects of Internet subcultures and grass-root organizations in China. He is currently a senior design researcher at IDEO.
An Xiao Mina
An Xiao Mina (aka “An Xiao”, her artist name) is an American design strategist, new media artist and digital community builder. She uses technology to build and empower communities through design and artistic expression. Her work has been featured in venues internationally, from the Brooklyn Museum to Shanghai’s Xindanwei, and in publications like The New York Times, The Guardian, Art in America and the Global Times Shanghai.
Graham Webster is a Beijing-based writer and analyst working at the intersection of politics, history, and information technology in China and East Asia. He believes technology and information design can reveal some of what what wonkdom can’t.
Christina Xu is an observer and organizer of communities, both online and off-. She is particularly interested in youth subcultures, cultural translation & syncretism, and user reappropriations of technology.
Lyn is a researcher at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit group in Palo Alto, California. She studies new experiences enabled by connective technologies.
八八吧 :: 88 Bar started off life as Virtual China, “an exploration of virtual experiences and environments in and about China,” which was launched as a collaborative blog between Lyn and Jason in early 2006. Back then, it was an offshoot of the Institute for the Future‘s Asia Focus Program, which Lyn and Jason had worked together on during the summer of 2005. (Jason resumed college, and Lyn went on to lead the program through 2006).
Over the next two years, Virtual China become one of the leading English-language blogs focusing on China. Keep in mind that it wasn’t until 2008 that the English-language blogosphere exploded (chinaSMACK was launched July 2008 for example). I think all of us were reading Roland Soong’s brilliant EastSouthWestNorth on a daily basis back then.
By the end of 2008, we decided to abandon our old moniker and start afresh. As I wrote at the time:
Virtual China (the blog) was becoming much more a reflection of how Lyn and I view the latest, often strange, Chinese objects or events. Yet, we were always struck by the uneasy feeling that we were betraying the “Virtual China” name and original mission.
And so 八八吧 :: 88 Bar was launched in November of 2008. We continued to capture and document our findings around Greater China, which is still going on as of today.
Bonus: team photo