Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, History of Art, Ohio State University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2018
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Art History/Architecture, Ohio State University
Re-Imagining Post-Socialist Corporeality: Technology, Body, and Nation in Post-1989 Chinese Art

While the popularization of information technology gave rise to an increasingly pervasive and participatory media sphere in post-Deng China, it simultaneously brought about an implicit form of state control operated through a depoliticized and non-ideological media culture. By tracing a changing social and political environment of the 1990s, my dissertation critically examines how the information fantasy of the 1980s afforded media artists conceptual tools to dissect the new means of social control and to scrutinize the political manipulation of technology in Deng's China. Through a close study of prominent media artists and their bodily-engaged media practices, this study probes into the nuanced forms of resistance that they developed to interrogate a media-dictated selfhood and nationhood. My central claim is that the intellectual fascination with cybernetic theories during the 1980s spurred artists' anticipation of a coming information society, activated alternative types of political imaginations, and facilitated the emergence of media art in the 1990s. My project calls special attention to the subversive role played by artists' bodies in disrupting the technologized experiences of the nation. Highlighting the material and corporeal aspects of Chinese media art, I analyze how artists of the 1990s performed their cybernetic body, virtual body, and avatar body, through which they created a rupture to unsettle the otherwise smoothly fabricated narrative of the nation and to rethink the politics of the "human" in post-reform China.