The non-other and its discontents



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Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University

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Public Seminar




11:30 a.m. - 13:00 p.m.


HSH109, Lingnan University, Hong Kong


One of the most prevailing struggles in present-day curatorial practice and visual culture research seems to be this: the “other” has gained a voice, but only to continuously explain, qualify, and make sense of itself. The dense hermeneutics of context-explaining takes up much of the space necessary for the real dialogue required by any ambitiously speculative and interdisciplinary artistic practices operating outside the Euro-American epistemological comfort zone. More insidious is the continued prevalence of self-exoticizing art practices with built-in, bite-size, self-explanatory mechanisms. From the perspective of contemporary China, many have begun to realize the absurdity of a patronizing, well-intentioned, supposedly self-critical postcolonial gaze cast upon a cultural entity that never had an internalized colonial history (not to mention the colonial legacy of China); that gaze in turn attracts artistic and curatorial practices that cater and subscribe—consciously or otherwise—to the seductive charm of a deeply problematic intellectual consensus, albeit one with very real power at its disposal.

Experimental capacity within new forms of knowledge and aesthetic production is crippled or foreclosed in advance by the handsome rewards awaiting superficial engagements that turn a blind eye to the full, uncomfortable potency of their subjects. My talk will explore these conditions through two recent, on-going projects: the discursive online archive (A)Futurism ( and “chin(A)frica: an interface,” which investigates provocative new parameters in which identity, geopolitics, and the imaginary other are formulated through the increasingly intimate and expansive exchanges between China and various African countries over the past decade.


Xin Wang is an art historian and curator based in New York. Past curatorial projects include Lu Yang: Arcade (2014, New York), THE BANK SHOW: Vive le Capital and THE BANK SHOW: Hito Steyerl (2015, Shanghai), chin(A)frica: an interface (2017, New York), and Life and Dreams: Photography and Media Art in China since the 1990s (2018, Ulm, Germany). Her writing has appeared in E-flux journal, Artforum, Kaleidoscope, Hyperallergic, and Leap. Currently pursuing a PhD in modern and contemporary art at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, Wang also works as the Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art and manages the discursive archive on Asian Futurisms at



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Wang, X. (2018, November). The non-other and its discontents [Video podcast]. Retrieved from