Chapter 1 introduces the theoretical, historical, and political dimensions of
the term Chineseness as it relates to Chinese artists and global
exhibitions. The question of artistic authenticity and what constitutes
‘Chinese contemporary art’ compels new approaches to addressing the
identification of artists from China and diasporic elsewheres. The chapter
tracks the development of the discourse of Chineseness, articulated by Rey
Chow in 1998 as a theoretical problem derived from Orientalism’s systematic
exclusivism separating the West from the non-West throughout the twentieth
century. Contributions to the discursive shift in the twenty-first century
were led by film theorists, including Chow, Sheldon Hsiao-peng Lu, and
Shu-mei Shih, who used the term Chineseness to theorize the diasporic
differences among sinophonic film scripts in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and
Chinese-America. In contrast, the bodily-oriented video works explored in
this book update Chineseness as a performative identity. The subjects of
film are connected to performance video through the concept of
interpellation, traced to the influence of Mao on Althusser’s On
Contradiction and the ‘imaginary relationship of individuals to their real
conditions of existence.’ Chineseness ultimately represents the fluid,
unstable, unfixable meaning of ‘Chinese’ within historical and contemporary
discourses for the staging of art and culture.
In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.