By Michael Berry
The portrayal of old atrocity in fiction, movie, and pop culture can show a lot in regards to the functionality of person reminiscence and the transferring prestige of nationwide id. within the context of chinese language tradition, movies corresponding to Hou Hsiao-hsien's City of Sadness and Lou Ye's Summer Palace and novels resembling Ye Zhaoyan's Nanjing 1937: A Love Story and Wang Xiaobo's The Golden Age jointly reimagine prior horrors and provides upward push to new historic narratives.
Michael Berry takes an leading edge examine the illustration of six particular historic traumas in sleek chinese language historical past: the Musha Incident (1930); the Rape of Nanjing (1937-38); the February 28 Incident (1947); the Cultural Revolution (1966-76); Tiananmen sq. (1989); and the Handover of Hong Kong (1997). He identifies fundamental modes of restaging old violence: centripetal trauma, or violence inflicted from the skin that conjures up a reexamination of the chinese language kingdom, and centrifugal trauma, which, originating from inside of, evokes irritating narratives which are projected out onto a transnational imaginative and prescient of worldwide desires and, occasionally, nightmares.
These modes let Berry to attach portrayals of mass violence to rules of modernity and the country. He additionally illuminates the connection among old atrocity on a countrywide scale and the soreness skilled by means of the person; the functionality of movie and literature as historic testimony; the intersection among politics and paintings, background and reminiscence; and the actual merits of recent media, that have came across new technique of narrating the weight of old violence.
As chinese language artists started to probe formerly taboo facets in their nation's historical past within the ultimate many years of the 20 th century, they created texts that prefigured, echoed, or subverted social, political, and cultural traits. A historical past of Pain recognizes the far-reaching effect of this artwork and addresses its profound position in shaping the general public mind's eye and conception-as good as misconception-of glossy chinese language history.
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Additional info for A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film
Those Tartars had already been brutal and merciless in their raping and pillaging—there was already no crime they had not committed. But now they were given the order to massacre the city! Pity the city of Fancheng; the murder was such that heaven cried and the earth screamed, neither the sun nor the moon shone, bones formed mountains, and blood rushed like a river. [The reader] will be spared detailed descriptions of the miserable scenes that transpired. (You see, this is a horrific situation when another ethnic group vanquishes our own!
If the victim, having been forced to ingest large amounts of liquid opium, is, as he appears to be, in a Two images from Chen Chieh-jen’s Revolt in the Soul and Body series: (left) A Way Going to an Insane City (1999); (right) Geneaology of Self (1996). Courtesy of the artist. state of euphoria, then does his body feel the pain at all? And if not, where is the pain? Who feels it? Bataille’s writings inspired contemporary Taipei-based artist Chen Chieh-jen to transpose the disturbing images of the lingchi into his own body of work and attempt to answer some of these questions.
In 1996, the artist appropriated the very image that had so fascinated Georges Bataille in a work entitled Geneaology of Self (Benshengtu سءቹ). Through a digital duplication of the victim’s head, Chen Chieh-jen further contorted the already grotesque visual document of suffering, prodding his audience to view the spectacle of torture in a new light. “Violence and ecstasy”: (left) Chen Chieh-jen’s contemporary restaging of a lingchi and (right) close-up of the victim/criminal’s opium-induced ecstasy.
A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film by Michael Berry