Shanzhai Lyric
Canal Street Research Association

September 29–Spring 2023
Vaulted sidewalks provide light to basement factory workers. Image via SoHo Memory Project.

Acknowledging the cultural and commercial legacy of Canal Street, our inaugural library program hosts Canal Street Research Association, the fictional office of poetic research unit Shanzhai Lyric.

During their residency beneath the illuminated sidewalk up above, Shanzhai Lyric will research the undercurrents of Canal Street—from basement factories and subterranean pathways that serve as counterfeit warehousing and escape routes, to the massage parlors and covert nightlife enabled by the clandestine activities of the street.

Library is open Tuesday–Saturday, 12–6pm

Office hours by appointment

More research notes can be found @canal_street_research


Established in 2015, Shanzhai Lyric investigates global trade networks, informal markets, and the poetics of counterfeit goods. 山寨, or “shanzhai,” means “counterfeit” in contemporary Chinese usage but translates literally to “mountain hamlet,” in reference to a place on the outskirts of empire where bandits abscond with goods to redistribute among those on the margins. In 2020, Shanzhai Lyric founded Canal Street Research Association in an empty storefront on Canal Street, New York City’s counterfeit epicenter, delving into the cultural and material ecologies of the street and its long history as a site that probes the limits of ownership and authorship


Library furniture for Canal Street Research Association designed in collaboration with Lars Fischer of common room.