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“Transparent Shanghai”: Cinema, Architecture, and a Left-Wing Culture of Glass

A talk by WEIHONG BAO (Columbia University)

Thursday, April 14, 2011
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

 Chinese architectural discourses and cinematic reflections in the mid-1930s evolved around a “culture of glass,” closely affiliated with international modernist architecture and a commodity culture of display. Professor Bao will explain how architectural and cinematic discourses, produced in their particular semi-colonial settings, competed with each other with claims of transparency in order to transform perception, dwelling, and sociality. Her particular interest lies in how Chinese left-wing filmmakers sought a new aesthetic of image and sound—seeking a third space between the forces of Hollywood and Soviet cinema at the advent of sound cinema.

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Weihong Bao is Assistant Professor of Chinese film and media culture at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. She is completing her book manuscript, “The Art of Display: Cinema and Intermedial Culture in China, 1884-1945,” which examines how Chinese cinema existed in tandem and cross-fertilized with historical new and “older” media technologies and modes of exhibition to produce distinct notions of spectatorship and public sphere. She has published in journals such as Camera Obscura, Nineteenth Century Theater and Film, Opera Quarterly, The Journal of Chinese Cinemas, and the Journal of Modern Chinese Literature. She is also a residence fellow at the Getty Research Institute for 2011-2012. 

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