The politics of trans/nationalism and global expositions

Staging art and Chineseness is about the politics of borders ascribed to Chinese contemporary art and the identification of artists by locations and exhibitions. The paradoxical subject of Chineseness is central to this inquiry, which begins with the question, what does the term Chinese Art mean in the aftermath of the globalized shift in art? Through an exploration of embodied and performative representations (including eco-feminist performances) by artists from China and diasporic locations, the case studies in this book put to the test the very premise of the genealogical inscription for cultural objects attributed to the residency, homeland, or citizenship of the Chinese artist. Acknowledging the orientalist assumptions and appropriations that Chineseness also signifies, this study connects the artistic performance to the greater historical scope of ‘geographical consciousness’ envisioned by past and present global expositions. The emergence of China’s shiyan meishu experimental art movement in the 1980s–1990s has largely been the defining focus for ‘global art’ during the period when artfairs, biennials, and triennials also came into prominence as the new globalized art institution (exemplified by China’s first biennial in Guangzhou). The political aim is to recognize the multiple contradictions and repetitions of history engendered by art, nationalism, and capital in the legacy of Althusserian/Maoist interpellations – the reifications of global capitalist illusions in the twenty-first century are conveyed in this book by performative artistic expressions and the temporal space of the exposition.

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The legacy of history

3835 Understanding Chinese:Layout 1 12/7/12 11:04 Page 5 1 Chinese politics The legacy of history What political scientists refer to as political culture – the deeply embedded distinctive patterns of political, economic and social behaviour that fundamentally shape politics – is best viewed as the accumulated legacies of a country’s history. History, however, is not destiny: while a country’s past shapes its politics it does not determine it. Change is ever present though the pace at which it occurs varies: sometimes glacial (with the political system

in Understanding Chinese politics
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Community, culture and colonialism 1900-1949

The British community in China was rooted in the diverse cultures of imperial Britain. This book presents a study of Britain's presence in China both at its peak, and during its inter-war dissolution in the face of assertive Chinese nationalism and declining British diplomatic support. Using archival materials from China and records in Britain and the United States, the book presents a portrait of the traders, missionaries, businessmen, diplomats and settlers who constituted "Britain-in-China", challenging people's understanding of British imperialism there. Imperialism is no new subject for scholars of modern Chinese history. The largest settler communities were selfgoverning; even the smallest were still self-replicating. The book focuses on the structure and workings of this establishment in the decades before the Pacific War. The survey presented examines the processes by which Britain in China evolved, how it replicated itself and represented itself (and China). It looks at how it attempted to reform itself in the face of the militant state and mass nationalism it met in China in the mid-1920s and after. The survey also looks at the face of the efforts of the British state to regain control over it and to decolonise the British presence. All Britons in China possessed multiple identities: British, imperial and local. The book also analyzes the formation and maintenance of settler identities, and then investigates how the British state and its allies brought an end to the reign of freelance, settler imperialism on the China coast.

An introduction to government in the People’s Republic of China

The Chinese political system is the subject of much media and popular comment in part because China supports an economy with an apparently inexorable dynamic and impressive record of achievement. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to China's political system, outlining the major features of the Chinese model and highlighting its claims and challenges. It explores the central role of the Communist Party in the country's politics and the way in which the Party controls most elements of the political system. The collapse of the imperial system in 1911, the subsequent decades of turmoil and war and the coming to power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949 constitutes a truly revolutionary period in Chinese political history. The People's Republic of China (PRC) represents an unanticipated challenge to the logic of history. The key organising principle of the political system of the PRC is the leadership of the CCP. China remains a Leninist party-state. The book also examines the role of the National People's Representatives Congress (NPC) and then the State Council and the associated structures of central government departments. Greater democracy is facilitated, as are other reforms, by the recasting of China's foreign policy to encourage a calmer international environment. China's re-emergence as a major power is the single most important geo-political trend of the early twenty-first century.

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A settler society

A recruit to Britain in China arrived in Hong Kong by sea some five weeks after leaving Britain, and usually sailed on up the coast to Shanghai, or transferred at Hong Kong to another ship. The first part of China our traveller physically saw, smelt, felt and heard was a British colony. The first Chinese would already have been glimpsed some days back in Singapore or Penang

in Britain in China
The global exposition and the museum

The archive of Chineseness The archive of Chineseness: the global exposition and the museum In 2012, the Shanghai Biennale opened at the new mega museum, the Power Station of Art, the massive seven-story, 450,000-square-foot former electrical plant that was transformed into a museum in the model of London’s Tate Modern. Museums have become important civic centers and tourist sites for international cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, contributing to the rapid development of China’s metropolitan areas, and attaining the symbolic status that they have long

in Staging art and Chineseness

3835 Understanding Chinese:Layout 1 12/7/12 11:05 Page 124 5 The national question in Chinese politics The exact shape and size of a state is the result of many factors ranging from royal inter-marriage to conquest. In many parts of the globe straight-line borders suggest arbitrary imperialist deals and pragmatic compromises. Nevertheless, once the lines are drawn, they are hard to change. Each political system once established lays claim to the concept of sovereignty, i.e. supreme authority within a territory, which since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648

in Understanding Chinese politics

A man (usually a man) getting off the boat from home on arrival in China in the early inter-war period would have been carrying baggage, mental as well as literal. No less than in the nineteenth-century treaties, and in accumulated precedents and practices, Britain in China was rooted in the mind. To understand how Britons in China saw their world, or learned how to act in it and

in Britain in China

Patty Chang: transnational cinematic subject Patty Chang: transnational cinematic subject Patty Chang and the transnational cinematic subject of Chineseness Chinese American artist Patty Chang is famous for her cringe-inducing live performance works such as Alter Ergo (presented in 1997 and re-staged in 1999 as Candies) (see figure 2.1), an endurance piece where she stood for hours at New York’s Exit Art, her mouth held open with a dental apparatus and drooling because it was stuffed full of pink candies. In her 2001 performance Eels, the display of the

in Staging art and Chineseness
Three visions of making China great again

Realising the Chinese Dream: three visions of making China great again Stefan R. Landsberger The founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949 ended a long period of imperialism, internal strife and war. Under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), modernisation became the most important task. During the first three decades of CCP rule, propaganda posters were part of a concerted media strategy to mobilise the population to contribute to China’s reconstruction. Ideological purity and revolutionary motivation were considered to be important

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution