In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of digitization threatened the sustainability of the record industry and independent artists, while also shifting the perception of music from treasured works of art to disposable consumer products. They needed to fight back. Together they conceived a work of art so radical that it would unleash a torrent of global debate. They would create a sole copy of an album in physical form, encase it in gleaming silver, and sell it through an auction house for millions as a piece of contemporary art.
The execution of this plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling an album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of music? How would fans react to an album that’s sold on the condition that it could not be commercialized? And could anyone ever justify the selling of the album to the infamous Martin Shkreli?
What unfolds is an extraordinary adventure that veers between outlandish caper and urgent cultural analysis. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin twists and turns through the mayhem and the mischief, while asking profound questions about our relationship with art, music, technology, and ultimately ourselves.
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