China and Inner Asia
How do graphic, editorial, and technological objects function as interfaces in China, both historically and in the present? What roles have these material interfaces played in mediating the production and reception of Chinese culture? By answering these questions, our panel seeks to adapt and expand the concept of “interface” as the point of interaction by engaging interdisciplinary perspectives from Chinese literary, theater, and media studies. Collectively, we shift the focus from objects’ material properties to the ways they, by making interactions perceptible and manipulatable to creators and their audiences, have generated affective and participatory responses.
Spanning from early modern to contemporary China, we explore the dynamism of interfaces in a broad range of material forms: from game boards, magazines, to performance programs and vlogs. Jiayi Chen examines how several 18th-century reading games designed by Zhang Chao transform object surfaces into reading interfaces by (mis)directing the readers to other possibilities of “weaving” the textual units. John Crespi turns to the early issues of the magazine Manhua Monthly and discusses how its serial interface between editors and readers helps make a new visual aesthetics and discourse of manhua-based propaganda. Bringing in the theatrical dimension, Anne Rebull studies how the graphic design and curatorial information of performance programs in the early reform era direct audiences and performers to politically interface with live performance. Finally, proceeding to the digital era, through a techno-corporeal viewpoint, Pai Wang analyzes how the vlogging cameras made by Chinese tech companies become interfaces where contents, technologies, and users meet.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Jiayi Chen – University of Chicago
Virtual Paper Presenter: John A. Crespi – Colgate University
Virtual Paper Presenter: Anne E. Rebull – University of Michigan
Virtual Paper Presenter: Pai Wang – University of California, San Diego