‘Dissident’ News

Regis Behe talks to Nell Freudenberger about her debut novel, The Dissident, which is released this week.

Freudenberger also explores ideas about the ownership of art and how it is verified. In the early 1990s, the Beijing East Village artist’s colony became known for its photography and performance art. When Freudenberger visited Beijing, she found not only that the low-rent artists’ residences had been torn down and made into a park, but that some denied its existence, despite books that were written about it.

“It was interesting to think that if a few people feel that a place is there and they’re making work there, they’re referring to it as the East Village, it is there,” she says. “But for a lot of other people, it’s not significant enough to be a place. I guess ambiguous situations are what’s interesting in fiction.”

Freudenberger also discusses the question of creating art with characters from a different culture than her own.