China vs China: conflict and translation
As is now widely recognised, it is not actually possible to understand the contemporary world, and its future, without understanding the rise to power and complexity of China, this in both historical and contemporary terms. Yet few Western media representations of China’s culture, politics, economy and military ambitions get anywhere near doing this. Notwithstanding the manner of its characterisation, there can be no assumption that China is a legible and coherent whole. In many respects the entire history of China has been about trying to hold the fragments that make up the nation. This continuing situation in fact frames many of the policies and practices of the current political regime. The longstanding contradictions, tensions and perspectives that dominantly constitute the Eurocentric view simply ignore the contemporary significance of China’s ancient past and the extent to which the West has been implicated in its modern history. While this history remains largely invisible to most people in the West, not least many politicians, it has played, and still plays, an enormously important part in directing the nation, its development, foreign policy and action on the world stage. Unless efforts are made to acknowledge this situation, and then to better understand it, establishing appropriate and futurally viable relations with China will ever remain problematic. Within this context, the nation presents a very large challenge of cultural translation. In exposing the nature of this challenge we will show that the process of translation has been a key factor in underpinning many of the ‘designing forces’ that have made China the nation it now is. Colonial violence, design and technology, the image of the modern, and an extensive collection of translated written works, all coalesced within the process of China’s transcendence of colonisation. One cannot get a sense of the relation between China and decoloniality without gaining some understanding of the content and dynamics of this process and the viewing it discloses.
Design in the borderlands
Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified