The architectural cinematicity of Wang Shu and the architectonic cinema of Jia Zhangke: Diagrammatically decomposing the 'main melody' in monu-mental assemblage art

David H. Fleming's picture

Although truly singular artworks emerging from distinct creative universes, Wang Shu’s Ningbo Historic Museum (2008) and Jia Zhangke’s Shanghai World Expo film Hai shang chuan qi/I Wish I Knew (2010) disclose common ethico-aesthetic features and artistic principles. Adopting Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the assemblage allows us to perceive how these outstanding farrago projects, with their rough and broken edges, share homologous ‘abstract diagrams’; which become responsible for introducing discordant mental relations into China’s processual cityscapes. Viewing both works as state-sanctioned vehicles of Chinese ‘modernity’, I explore how Wang and Jia’s affective repurposing of urban detritus or salvaged cinematic material allows their sensational artworks to emit signals that subtly decompose the ‘main melodies’ associated with China’s embrace of modernization. Drawing on a hybrid model of Deleuze’s image regimes from Cinema 1 (2005a) and Cinema 2 (2005b) further permits us to perceive how these macropolitical ‘monuments’ critique the very narratives of progress that their commissioners charge them with celebrating.

Author Name: 
David H. Fleming
Journal: 
Journal of Urban Culture Studies
Citation: 
David H. Fleming (2016) 'The architectural cinematicity of Wang Shu and the architectonic cinema of Jia Zhangke: Diagrammatically decomposing the 'main melody' in monu-mental assemblage art' Journal of Urban Culture Studies 3:1, pp. 33-53.