JR’s (interviewed) has been very busy the past few weeks setting up a museum exhibition, gallery show and bringing his signature Inside / Out truck to China. This trifecta of projects in Shanghai marks the French photograffeur’s return to China’s mega-metropolis after nearly four years (previous visit). AM attended this latest installment of the artist’s Inside Out global journey (the project has already traveled to Time Square, Japan, Los Angeles & London, just to name a few). Now, JR has wheeled his interactive photo booth truck into Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di area where thousands of curious Chinese citizens queued up for hours during the past week for an opportunity to get photographed by the mobile photo booth.

The Inside Out project is meant to interact with the culture of the native country, so each one is received in its own unique way depending on the locale. As JR stated to the local Chinese media, this can be the ultimate selfie that you can share with everyone in your area. In a culture where individuality is second to the good of the country, it was apparent that the (usually shy) younger generation flocked to Xin Tian Di to get a chance to shine and express their individuality in the curtained photo booth. Another inspiring factor was the approval of the slightly older generation who brought their babies & children to the mobile photo truck (typically photography of children is kept for private use inside the family or for official documents). But as we spoke with many of the parents standing in line, they expressed an optimism for this younger generation in China, feeling that things are changing for the better and that is all they want for the future. As we looked up at the buildings where the portraits where being pasted, we noticed dozens of toddlers & kids represented on the murals. Was this the intention of JR? Maybe yes, maybe no, but it’s a fitting place to start as Xin Tian Di literally translates into “Land of a New Day”. Change has already come and thanks to JR, the people who came took part in the project have a way to express that optimism.

This truck will be open for the public until this Thursday, May 29th. So stop by if you’re in Shanghai!

Discuss JR here.