- Created in China and Pak Sheung Chuen's tactics of the mundane
- Social Semiotics
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Drawing on the writings of Rey Chow, I aim in this article to show, first, how the performance of ethnic difference is played out in the Chinese artistic field, and, second, how the Chinese nation-state skilfully accommodates critical voices to buttress its global position. Chineseness has become a unique selling point, an ethnic trading card that lubricates the financial and ideological flows between the global art world, the Beijing cultural scene and the Chinese nation-state. The art district 798 serves as a key example for the recent emergence of creative industries in which ethnic difference plays an important productive force. In the third part of this article, I will show how Hong Kong complicates this picture, given that any claim by Hong Kong artists to ethnic difference is bound to be incomplete and impure. The work of Pak Sheung Chuen (Tozer Pak) constitutes a powerful critique on and explores artistic lines of flight out of the issue of Chineseness and its intricate links with an enchanted mode of global capitalism. It does so not by developing an artistic critique, which would after all be constitutive of capitalism itself, but by engaging in what I like to term a tactics of the banal and the mundane that are firmly located in the here and now. These tactics constitute, similar to Rey Chow's writing, a micropolitics that may help to move away from the overcoded language of ethnicity and Chineseness.
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