The Basement 6 Collective is a local group of artists in Shanghai who have come together to create and host various small exhibitions and community events. They support the collective themselves, which has given them the freedom to be more prolific and experimental.
Katy Roseland, one of the founders of Basement 6 Collective, says that it was very important for them that the space was open and that everyone could participate “whether for their first exhibition, an experiment, or a late-night dancing session.”
The space regularly hosts a wide range of events. Some are more standard, like film screenings, art exhibitions and performances, while other events are more unique. Once there was an international Skype water balloon fight, and another time an artist borrowed objects from the space to make a cityscape installation on the ceiling. On a different occasion, an artist installed sod that covered the floor of the basement. They also once held a birthday party involving 10,000 colored pom-poms, which they put into a coffin for people to play in.
For Anneliese Charek, the other co-founder of Basement 6 Collective, one of her favorite events was one of the first they ever organized. It was a two-part event, in which the artists turned one of the basement rooms into a large-scale camera, and participants held strips of film around their necks and a sudden flash created the photos. Later on, the images were exhibited in the space.
Late last year when Basement 6 lost their old space, Katy and Anneliese soon learned that it was actually better for them to function as a community that didn’t need a physical base. “If Basement 6 could exist as a floating hub, in your pocket, in the holes of your socks, then it can’t be shut down,” says Katy.
Now the Basement 6 Collective is based in an underground community space in Shanghai’s Changning district. Their neighbors in the basement include Uptown Records, the Idlebeats Print Club, and the studios of some independent artists.
Anneliese says that it all started as an experiment. “We told ourselves in the very beginning we could try it in the short term, so we were less afraid to try. It started to change when we began inviting more guest artists, and we would let them have the whole space for a short period of time to do whatever they wanted. Being a place for artists to experiment has made us what we are.”