Orientations 5

Orientations: Transcultural Perspectives on Asia #5 (ISSN 1705-6047) was edited and published by Daniel Sze-Hinho, Johanna Haas, Steve Corbeil, and Bryce Kushnier; designed by Geoffrey Han and Wen Lee Soo; with thanks to Reiko Waisglass, Michael Kalin, and Karl Bazzocchi.  The editorial collective thanks the Arts Undergraduate Society, the Department of East Asian Studies, the McGill Alumni Association, McGill Graduate Students Society for East Asian Studies, and the Students’ Society of McGill University.  Issue #5 was printed in Hong Kong.

Orientations: Transcultural Perspectives on Asia
Issue 5, Fall 2003 ($6.00)

22 Illustration by Gemena
28 Sexuality and the New Cultural Revolution in Contemporary China – On Post-Socialist Female Fiction, by Hongwei Lu
50 Stills Shot Off of a TV From the Film ‘Ashes of Time’ by Wong Kar-Wei, by Joyce Chan
56 Residues of Humanity: Meaning and Identity in Ashes of Time, by Johanna Haas
68 Illustration by Leif Parsons
72 Photography by Ann Woo
88 Yoko Ono and the Breaking of Barriers Through Voice, by Rositsa Mutachieva
104 Travelling through time with Yoko Ono, by Gemena
118 Facing Deformation: Character-commodities, Murakami Takashi, and our Posthuman Condition, by Mark Steinberg
134 Photography by Gemena
146 Waving Consensus Narrative in the Chinese New Year Utopia, by Miao Yu
164 Photography by Ann Woo

“Issue Five of Orientations can be considered a landmark in its growing history.  The aim is, as always, to provide a forum to think about Asia and the Asian diaspora with the concerns of representation and subjectivity in cultural practices.  There is, however, a clearer understanding of our goals, and we believe the fruits of this focus are borne out on the level of the overall assemblage.

“In the articles presented on these pages, one can detecet a recurrent interest in exploring the constructs of identity and of the human.  Hongwei Lu’s analysis of the works of the “New Literary Race Writers” in post-socialist China highlights the libidinal force of (female) desire in forging sites for alternative non-unitarian discourses.  In “using the body to write,” alternative cultural identities “emerge in the very process of negotiating the mutations and permutations of global economic deterritorialization, transnational cultural flows, and indigenous cultural bearings and orientations.”  A different face ot China’s economic marketization is explored by Miao Yu, who highlights the recuperation of the possibilities of television into constructs for a televisual nationhood.  Her intimate portraits of this material and televisual consumption point ironically to the fragmentation of the foundations of traditional unity.  From yet a different angle, Johanna Haas writes about the universality of humanity in Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time, precisely through the possibilities of its free signification.

“The possibilities of transformation also loom large.  In her article on Yoko Ono’s works, Rositsa Mutachieva aruges that the breakage or attenuation of body and voice, effectuated through sonic, machinic vibrations, creates a “blast” into the cyborg and the posthuman that (rather optimistically) allows for post-gender possibilities.  Such becoming-posthuman, in Marc Steinberg’s analysis of the Japanese artist Murakami Tasashki, is a process of defacilization that is productive on the level of the surface.  Murakami’s character of Dob, he argues, is “both the diagram of market forces and the logic of commodity proliferation, as well as the expression of these forces as they act upon and transform contemporary subjectivity.”  In characterizing Dob in human terms, we may in turn be “characterized” and thereby effectuating effectuating the becoming-posthuman.

“Finally, another surface is at play in this issue of Orientations, in the design of these pages.  The rhythm and movement of the design foreground the level of the surface and are integral to the experience of the journal.  Perspectives may be and must be haunted by their possible impossibility.”

“GEMENA is studying at SVA in the MFA Design program.  AND JOHANNA HAAS completed a B.A. Hon. in East Asian Studies at McGill University.  She plans to continue her studies either at graduate or medical school.  AND HONGWEI LU is curently teaching Chinese Literature and Film at Hamilton College in the US while writing a dissertation on conetmporary Chinese cultural transformation.  She is a recipient of hte Freeman Postdoctoral Fellowship, BD in Chinese Literature at University of Oregon.  AND ROSITSA MUTAFCHIEVA originates from that part of Europe whcih is insistently referred to as “Eastern Europe” or “The Balkans.”  Her academic interests revolve around issues of national/minoritarian identity in the context of Japan.  She has been studying the Burakumin minority group for the past five years and is going to expand her scope of research in her PhD.  AND LEIF PARSONS studied and studied and now lives in Brooklyn.  AND JOYCE CHAN is completing post-graduate study in New Media at Concordia University.  AND MARK STEINBERG is a graduate of the McGill East Asian Studies department where he wrote on the Japanese contemporary artist Marakami Takashi.  He will be continuing his education at the PhD level at Brown University, where he intends to study the contemporary potentiality of creating anti-humanistic, self-proliferating art.  AND MIAO YU is competing graduating study in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.  Her research interests include Chinese urban popular culture and contemporary Chinese independent film.  AND ANN WOO is a Hong Kong photographer.  ARE THE CONTRIBUTORS.


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