Let us examine how the works of two of China’s controversial artists – namely cinematic director Yimou Zhang and activist-architect Ai Weiwei – endorse imaginative forms of travel that render metropolitan Chineseness translucent across cultural planes. Once more, travel and tourism are differentiated experientially (Boorstin 1962 ; Bourdieu 1984 ). But whereas experiential creativity functions as a token of authenticity (presenting them as educated travellers, Grand Tourists of sorts), both artists declare attachment to popular culture and audience participation, thus advocating common tourist practices by technological means. I use the term pilgrimage here in recognition of the spiritual dimensions of both artists’ journey but also to highlight its function as a human rite conducive to modern mobility cultures. Such analytical classifi cations conceal how the promise of demediation (experiential immediacy without technology) of travel experience is both ‘standard to the marketing discourse of tourism [and] constitutive of the travel mythos as propagated by the very travellers’ (Strain 2003 : 4).