Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

153 - Visions of Geography and History: Material Representations of Space and Time in East Asia

7/7/2018
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor

This panel explores visual representations of geography and history in created objects and built environments: maps, photographs, postcards, woodblock prints, museum exhibits, monuments, and landscapes. The translation of space into visual imagery in a map, or of time into built space in a history exhibit, is a powerful moment made possible through constructions of scientific objectivity, professional expertise, or commercial familiarity. Yet attention to the material practices involved in producing such objects also reveals ambiguities enabling them to take on new meanings and become sites of social contestation. This panel investigates how material objects created to represent geography and history become epistemological tools for knowing global, national and local territories, and for narrating historical pasts and modern futures.

This panel draws on diverse disciplinary perspectives to bring together four studies – of visual technology, cartography, urban visual culture, and exhibit design – across three countries and varying time periods. Heejeong Sohn explores how technoscientific photography use transformed Korean cartography and reconfigured experiences of modernity and country. Jia Huang examines how modern China’s commodity exhibitions visualized an evolving material in order to enable creating and recreating the regional-global nexus. Timothy Unverzagt Goddard observes how Japanese encounters with the urban culture of 1920s Berlin reshaped the imagery of modern Tokyo. Leksa Lee describes how narratives of national and geopolitical time are translated spatially into Chinese museum exhibits. Together the papers explore how practices of producing representational objects blur distinctions between material and immaterial realities and complicate political and scientific claims.

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Heejeong Sohn

Stony Brook University, United States

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Timothy Unverzagt. Goddard

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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